At The Omnicon Group, our mission is to provide high-quality PCB solutions that simply work the first time and allow our customers to focus on their core competencies. We do this with experienced engineers that not only develop hardware, but also understand its design. Below we will discuss what is a PCB and why The Omnicon Group is the best PCB solution provider for your project!
What is a PCB and who designs them?
The acronym PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board. Also often referred to as a Printed Wiring Board (PWB) due to the connectivity or wiring provided between mounted components. Some refer to the process of PCB design as PCB layout. This terminology is accurate in the sense that a PCB is the physical realization of a circuit, involving placement and routing or interconnecting of circuit elements.
The output of the PCB design process typically involves generating “artwork” used by the PCB manufacturer (aka “board house”) to control their photographic imaging techniques and computer-controlled drilling machinery, resulting in the manufacture of the PCB. The type, or skillset of a person performing PCB layout and creating this artwork is often described as that of a designer, not an engineer.
Commonly, designers are typecast as being artistic, and provide creativity in the artwork production process, but perhaps may lack the analytical thinking of an engineer. Creativity alone is not enough, and engineering comes into play to ensure that a design or device being manufactured is able to perform its intended function. Engineering is fundamentally a decision making process that applies analysis, math, and engineering sciences to solving problems which includes some level of “designing a solution.” It is far from sufficient to connect all components and route all nets. It must be done in such a manner as to maintain signal integrity and permit the circuit to function in the way it was designed.
What sets us apart?
The Omnicon Group has both designers and design engineers, and we utilize both in developing PCBs. We incorporate the creativity of designers while maintaining the mindset of engineers. First and foremost, we understand circuits. Our design engineers design circuits, analyze circuits, realize circuits (designing and guiding PCB designers), and verify and test circuits. We know how a good circuit design can perform badly due to a poor PCB layout.
Our knowledge and experience allows us to quickly evaluate a design and impose constraints not explicitly conveyed by the customer. We begin PCB design by first reviewing the circuit and functionality, identifying critical circuits, signal flow, and power flow, recognizing areas that can affect thermal and EMI/EMC performance, and determining needs of isolation and partitioning. We know how to design for manufacturing, testing, and fabrication. And, most of all, we know how to design a board so that it works the first time.
Generally, all routing is performed manually. We don’t typically use auto-routers. When we do, we restrict their usage to a small subset of nets, and we perform manual post route review and clean-up that often leads to reduced layer and via count. We perform internal reviews and scrutinize our designs long before it gets to your engineers. This alleviates the need for you to spend unnecessary time directing us as we design.
Not only does Omnicon deliver high-quality PCB solutions, but they are reliable. Reliability is a necessity in today’s market and improving reliability in products is what Omicon has been doing since 1984. Omnicon delivers high-level designs that cut costs and improve reliability and safety. We implement the best commercial practices with an emphasis on product reliability, safety, testability, and manufacturability.
Things to consider when comparing PCB design costs?
- Do you typically send PCB design work out of house to the lowest bidder? Is that working out in the overall life cycle of your project?
- What is your total cost, keeping in mind PCB designers cost and engineers level of involvement?
- Do your PCB designs work the first time, or do they need to be re-spun at additional cost?
- Do your engineers accept PCB designs simply because intermediate progress has not been communicated in a timely manner? Is it accepted because the design is too far along and it would take too much time to rip-up and start over? Is it technically meeting the original design criteria, or lack thereof, where re-doing would be deemed scope creep?
- Do your engineers have to sit over the shoulder of the PCB designer?
- Do your engineers require multiple intermediate and iterative design reviews to ensure the layout is progressing to his/her satisfaction?
- Do your engineering reviews of “final design” data identify shortcomings that should have been caught and cleaned up by the designer before submitting as final deliverable?
- Can you hand a design package over and get a completed design back that stands up to the engineer’s scrutiny?
Contact us at email@example.com to find out how we can assist you in designing and engineering reliable, high-quality PCB solutions for your next project that can address all these issues and ensure you get the product you ordered from the start.
Morgan Abrams September 19, 2017
Posted In: Blog Series