Customized PCB – workflow with circuit board design expert

The Rapidlab team has specialists who think of nothing, but PCB design. Check the entire workflow from idea to complet prototype.

The Rapidlab team has specialists who think of nothing, but PCB design.
Check the entire workflow from idea to complete prototype.

Michał Błaszak,
IoT Engineer
16th November 2022

Michał Błaszak
IoT Engineer
16th November 2022

PCB Design

PCB design is a process. The subsequent stages affect each other. All phases must be thought out and executed precisely to make sure the result is satisfying and the board we designed – works perfectly. The Rapidlab team has specialists who think of nothing else, but PCB design. We want to present you the entire workflow from idea to complete prototype.

From a simple circuit board to your prototype

PCB is a printed circuit board used in almost every electronic device. We use them in RapidLab to design bespoke prototypes that respond to specific needs and requirements. Our team has extensive experience in providing prototypes of electronic equipment using custom PCBs. In this article you will learn what the process of building custom PCBs looks like.

PCB design process

The first step when working on PCBs is to determine and understand the requirements – all the functions and parameters the equipment must meet. Whether we work with the client or create a circuit board for our own needs, we have to obtain business requirements. In this initial stage of designing the board, targeting the needs is the most important. One of these steps is brainstorming, which we conduct with a focus on how our hardware will work and what it will be responsible for. We analyze each other’s ideas, and draw an ideological diagram on the board. The process of verifying an idea, choosing the right technology and the necessary equipment takes up to several days.

Graphic design of the board diagram

Graphic design of the
board diagram

Review of the
preliminary design

Review of the
preliminary design

Introduction of the possible corrections

Introduction of the
possible corrections

Production files export

Production files
export

In RapidLab exporting the design files is the moment to order PCBs form a trusted third-party supplier. Also, it is necessary to create a list of all the components to be included on the board. First of all, we verify their availability (there are a lot of difficulties in the semiconductor market) and price. In our lab we do this even before designing the board. It is a good practice to secure the project if components disappear from the market – that’s why we order the necessary materials and create stocks.

Soldering Preparation

A ready-made solder paste template is applied to PCB, on which perforation dedicated to this particular solution are made. The next layer is solder paste (tin + flux), which is spread with a squeegee over the template – so that it remains only at designated areas.

Soldering Preparation

A ready-made solder paste template is applied to PCB, on which perforation dedicated to this particular solution are made. The next layer is solder paste (tin + flux), which is spread with a squeegee over the template – so that it remains only at designated areas.

Precise Placement

Precise application of all surface-applied components by a pick and place machine. Using a special tip, specific elements are sucked in and transferred to the designated places on the board. In this way, we move all the components.

Most exciting production stage – putting the whole thing in the oven. This action should be done with care and caution because the applied elements lie on the board; they are not yet attached to it. After 7 minutes of heating, you can view the prototype in its final version.

Flawless performance

Following the removal from the oven comes the testing stage. What exactly do we examine?

Visual inspection

visual inspection

Proper soldering of the board and correct orientation of the placed components.

Short circuit

short circuit

Possibility of a short circuit on the main input voltage, all power converters, and all power lines.

Voltage

voltage

Correct input and output voltages, by powering the board via a regulated power supply.

Current

current

Verification that the overall current is as expected.

Communication

communication

All sensors/devices on the board have to respond correctly.

Details

details

Testing all peripherals, such as switches and LEDs.

We work closely with our customers following Agile approach. Usually 1st PCB version is just the beginning of the adventure. Adding new ports, adjusting dimensions, fixing potential issues – this is what happens in next iterations.

Let us design and build PCB dedicated to your requirements.

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