How Toronto Electronics Manufacturing Teams Can Plan for the Best Circuit Designs
Effective planning in the prototyping stages can help save thousands of dollars when it comes to circuit design. Many people believe that there’s only one style of prototyping and that once this process is complete, the design of the circuit board is also finished. But building a comprehensive understanding of the circuit design process can help your Toronto electronics manufacturing team meet all project objectives.
The design team must complete multiple stages before finalizing the prototype.
To help you understand each of these stages and learn how to execute the circuit design process, we’ll explore the best techniques for circuit design planning in this post.
First, an Introduction to Industry Standards
There are industry standards that circuit board designers should follow to ensure their systems achieve the level of performance expected. If you’re new to the industry, you may not have a clear understanding of these standards. So let’s first explore a few best practices as a foundation for your next design.
Work With the Engineering Team on Space Allocation
With the reduction in the size of consumer electronics, the larger companies now require more and more power and functionality from boards of increasingly limited dimensions.
Designers working on a flex-PCB or an enclosed board must first ensure their board fits into the enclosure. The fitting process may require you to learn the limits of the component design materials and work with mechanical engineering teams to retain PCB performance levels.
Consider Maintenance When Deciding Component Placement
Maintenance is a critical consideration in the design of today’s circuit boards. Consumers expect to be able to repair their electronics locally.
Using components that are easy to upgrade or repair helps the product retain popularity within the marketplace. And so designers must ensure, for example, they place wire-to-board connectors so that troubleshooting and other maintenance tasks can be streamlined.
Another priority consideration within placement is output. The location of components can alter the output of your prototype significantly. For example, the experts recommend separating analog components from high-speed digital systems. You should also ensure you group the power management components in one specific area of the board to minimize interference.
Assess the Potential for Electromagnetic Interference
As electronics evolve with wireless technology and smaller circuit boards, there’s a higher potential for electromagnetic interference. Consider the ground plane within the board and the current return path. High-speed signals should have the shortest return path to prevent cross-component interference.
Setting the Specification
Before you begin visualizing the components and plotting out the first schematic connection, you’ll need to draft the design specification.
This specification is an overarching view of the design and the requirements for the finished product. It will act as a foundation for your Toronto electronics manufacturing team, and the project will move forward in all areas based on this specification.
The Design Stages for Electronic Circuits
With your working specification as a base, you can now move forward into the circuit design stages. During each of these stages, you’ll have to overcome hurdles related to component placement and power management, as well to ensure that you’re continually meeting the end goal for the design specification.
The Planning Phase
Within the planning phase, you’ll spend some time visualizing the component structure for the circuit and determining which components would work most effectively within the finished product.
During this stage, you’ll select specialty products such as communication ICs and determine the role these products will fulfill in the design. What type of power module will you require within your circuit? Consider all consumption demands during this planning phase to ensure the optimal power management strategy.
Turning the Design Into A Schematic
Once you’ve completed all the calculations and decided on the circuit board components, you’ll then turn the design into a functional schematic.
Creating a schematic can be challenging for those working on complex designs which include hundreds of unique components and power considerations. So you may wish to separate the design process into modules or sub-circuits to ensure that each area of the board performs flawlessly once manufactured.
Transfer the Components to the Layout
After checking every connection within the working schematic, you can now transfer the circuit board components to the layout. The transfer process can be a challenge for those new to PCB design. Remember to take your time and review each component location and its specification carefully.
Begin the process by setting the PCB size, routing and component arrangement. Then run a DRC to ensure the design will work without violating any design rules.
Analyze each of the components and its position on the board. And when you’re comfortable that there are no design errors, you can begin the fabrication process. Fabrication starts with generating the component production files and creating the bill of materials ready for the prototyping phase.
Building Your Prototype
Once you’re familiar with the best layout, you can then start the prototyping phase for the PCB. You’ll fabricate the PCB in small batches and then assemble the components on the system. During this phase, multiple tests are carried out on the board to determine if the board reaches the levels of performance set by the design phase.
If a design issue is recognized, this is the time for revisions. As long as the system performs as expected, the production cycle begins, and the team can produce the board in higher numbers to meet demand levels.
Making Changes After Production
You may find that you have to make changes to the schematic after the production process has begun. Ensure each member of the entire team, including everyone from the purchasing staff to the mechanical experts, has a viable and updated version of the latest schematic.
Only by working with a trusted Toronto electronics manufacturing company can you ensure your product meets the requirements of the competitive tech marketplace.
To learn more about the PCB design process, call Circuits Central at 1(888) 602-7264 or contact us here.