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How Production and Prototype Quality Differ From Each Other

Electronics circuit board design has had a clear evolution. First, a design is fabricated on a state-of-the-art breadboard. This is in order to evaluate its functionality. Afterwards, a board layout will be subsequently made and placed into the prototype production phase. However, there have been recent changes in the industry that should be noted.

For instance, in the past, single and dual-layer boards were the norm, but today four and six-layer boards have become the standard in the industry. The size of these layered boards has also shrunk dramatically. The density of modern layer boards has also grown dramatically in the last few years. Here, we will discuss how production and prototype quality differ from each other and how you can bridge the gap, in terms of quality, between the two elements.

What Happens Once Design is Proven

Once the design has been proven, it will then enter the mass production phase. This is where hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of these circuits, are at a very high velocity and meticulous accuracy as well.

However, in some cases, the company may want to prove their design and concept before mass production can commence. In such a case, the company would need to determine who will fabricate their boards on their behalf.

The majority of today’s production companies simply do not have the know-how or resources required to produce one to ten economical prototypes. They need to find cost-effective solutions to do this, as the labour required to set up and breakdown a quantity of one, or even a thousand, is the very same in terms of the intensity of the labour involved.

How to Solve the Costly Prototyping Issue

The solution is actually quite simple. The cost-effectiveness conundrum involved in prototyping can be rectified by fabricating the prototype in-house. To illustrate, imagine your company needs to make some modifications to the design of the product. If you had a lab at your company HQ, then you would be able to make changes on the fly and save money by keeping production in-house instead of having to outsource.

However, there are still the issues of board density layout and component size that need to be remedied. They can be quite the hindrance as far as the manual assembly is concerned. It should also be mentioned that in the past, controlled and accurate equipment was used primarily by OEM and EMS companies. These companies used automated place-and-pick equipment, state-of-the-art reflow ovens, powerful chip shooters, expensive paste stencils, and top-of-the-line solder paste printers.

You may be wondering how to fabricate your prototypes without the budget and space that large production equipment has; not to mention the expertise and training needed to operate the different types of machinery involved. Unfortunately, it is here that we notice a division that keeps many designers in the dark ages, whereby the designer is limited to tweezers, a magnifying glass, and rudimentary soldering iron to try and get the work done.

Changing Times

There are a few equipment options available on the market that are specifically designed and developed with engineers in mind.

By using these cutting edge tools, prototype designers will be able to manufacture their components with a remarkable level of accuracy effectively. This is because modern printing equipment is light years ahead of the archaic machinery that companies were limited by in the 90s and early 2000s.

Companies can now opt for a leading-edge desktop solder paste printer that boasts a very minute machine footprint. These printers are also known for being very user-friendly, with setup usually only taking a few minutes, and they also provide very high accuracy readings. What’s more, the owners of these innovative desktop solder paste printers will no longer have to worry about egregiously overpriced paste stencils going forward.

Another popular tool that is currently available on the market is the manual pick and place machine. There are many different brands to choose from. You can use a manual pick and place machine to place fine pitch components and micro-SMDs with excellent precision. In fact, the camera-assisted placement technology will also eliminate eye strain going forward.

Another issue that many companies worry about is thermal shock. However, thermal shock can quickly become an issue of the past thanks to benchtop reflow ovens. They are designed to provide surface temperature monitoring and accurate temperature profile control in order to prevent thermal shock destruction.

In sum, there are many resources currently available to engineers so that they can build prototypes that will look and perform similarly to finished production boards; essentially eliminating the gap in quality between the two elements.

To learn more about how production and prototype quality differ from each other, call Circuits Central at 888-821-7746 or contact us here.

Developments in Aerospace Electric Design‌

There have been tremendous advancements made in the field of military and aerospace electronics in Toronto. As space exploration continues to expand, a greater emphasis has been placed on the spatial exploration component or sector of the aerospace industry. As such, very sophisticated and complex systems must be developed that boost durability, toughness, and unrivalled computing power as well.

Thus, the latest military and aerospace electronics must be able to adapt to extreme temperatures and intense vibrations at very high altitudes. They must be capable of dealing with high-pressure environments and control commercial airlines and space crafts without compromise to efficiency, safety, and durability. Here, we will discuss some of the latest developments in aerospace, electric design.

Longer Lasting and More Durable Connectors

Focusing on maximizing the toughness of sensors and electronics in aerospace systems will not suffice. Instead, what is arguably even more critical are the cables and connectors that connect them. Electronic connector design has been left behind until only recently. Engineering teams have worked around the clock to ensure that they are able to withstand rapid movement at extreme temperatures, such as the case with space exploration and travel.

Today, engineers implement housings that are epoxy-based when working with the latest electronic designs in aerospace. The connectors and capacitors being designed today can handle an extreme need for speed without issue, as well as very low-temperature environments in space.

They are also designed to withstand ripple intensity and extremely high electrical currents without compromise to the safety of the crew and passengers.

To achieve such excellent results, engineers add extra contact points and machine the connectors via single pieces of beryllium, or another type of metal that has high conductive properties. They may also be asked to add gold plating to meet the stringent standards of military personnel or organizations.

The advancements mentioned above in regards to the aerospace industry have allowed for the fabrication of state-of-the-art connectors that are deemed appropriate for space-age use.

Ameliorations in Aircraft Health Monitoring

The design and manufacturing of top-of-the-line health monitoring systems for aircrafts have been a dream for those who work in the integrated electronics design field for many decades. The good news is that recent advancements have made the development of such systems possible.

These systems are important is because they allow pilots to comprehend what is happening with their aircraft at all times. Including, how to properly operate the airborne vehicle in the event of severe damage or hardware malfunction. However, for such a system to be made, thousands of very complex and sophisticated sensors will need to be created.

These sensors need to function in conjunction with an ultra-sophisticated and centralized computer configuration that is capable of receiving, comprehending, and relaying data to the pilot without confusing or overwhelming them.

Today, the expenditures and the risks involved in space flight are the highest they have ever been. The pressure for creating top-of-the-line health monitoring systems that work optimally in space has never been more enormous. The good news is the pressure to evolve has led to some remarkable technological advancements in central computing as well as sensor-based technology.

Superior Thermal Features

In the realm of aerospace electronics design, heat has served as only a minor issue for many decades. However, as crafts began to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, newfound challenges presented themselves, such as trying to figure out how to get them to breach the atmosphere before burning up.

It can be argued that thermal insulation, or shielding, is the most important factor. As far as electronic components are concerned, as the components will not work after fusion or melting has occurred.

The good news is there have been some recent advancements in the field of thermal management. The modelling of certain complex components has been automated, as well as the fabrication of state-of-the-art cooling circulation systems that do not require a large amount of space to function.

Impressive advancements have also been made in simulation technology. There has been the development of sophisticated simulation tools that can accurately model the real-world physics of breaching the atmosphere, as well as the re-entry phase.

Unmanned Navigation

With human lives being a top priority, as well as the increased reliance on artificial intelligence, the move to unmanned commercial aircraft, drones, and spacecraft was inevitable. However, the world is not yet prepared for completely unmanned aerospace vehicles because the electronics design required for such a feat is still not available.

Achieving such a level of communication and control is feasible in the not-too-distant future as advancements have continued to be made in every aspect of electronic design in the aerospace industry. As a result, it is believed that aerospace companies will be able to deploy spacecraft and aircraft that can control their own flight functions and paths in the foreseeable future. Interestingly, such advancements will have a very positive impact on the aerospace, electronic design field in Toronto as well as other developed parts of the world.

Circuits Central

Circuits Central specializes in military and defence electronics manufacturing and military and aerospace electronics in Toronto. For instance, we provide leading-edge aerial surveillance technology for our aerospace and military clients, as well as state-of-the-art health and usage monitoring systems. We also have extensive experience in low volume, high-variety manufacturing. To learn more, please visit our website or give us a call at 888-821-7746 for a free, no-obligation quote and consultation.


Challenges of the Embedded Internet of Things (Iot) over Hardware Design

Designing hardware, regardless of your level of expertise and experience, can be a challenging task. How successful an IoT product is, is determined by the quality of the hardware design. The design phase of IoT products requires great focus to ensure that they function as intended. They must be reliable, secure, and consume the least amount of power possible.

There are many challenges involved in this process. Problems must be overcome in order to maximize the devices. Here, we will discuss some of the main challenges that hardware designers in Waterloo, Ontario, must overcome.

Flexibility Issues

Running applications over embedded systems can prove to be a problem due to insufficient flexibility. Currently, the demand for devices to connect to multiple devices is the strongest it’s ever been. As such, today’s embedded products need to function with various devices and also adapt to many different networking architectures. This is because these products must adapt to performances and new functionalities that occur in actual real-time settings.

In other words, hardware designers can struggle to deal with the deployment of certain applications, as well as the increased rate of technological advancement around the world.

Designers may struggle with the proper integration of new services. Adapting to new ecosystems may also prove to be challenging. Many will need to work around the clock due to marked fluctuations at software depots, as well as protean changes in the hardware itself over time.

There can be issues involving integration and the packaging of IoT products. The systems will need to have a chip size that is very small and must also have a low weight while consuming less power. As such, nanotechnology must be a priority for hardware designers, and they also need to work hard to issue forth energy awareness initiatives.

Security Issues

IoT systems must, at all costs, perform securely in any real-time setting that is embedded. It is important to note that all of the components and nano-components function in embedded situations that are physically insecure and very resource-constrained. Thus, many engineers can face serious challenges in trying to keep these embedded components secure in real-time environments.

However, with some hard work and diligence, it is possible to design and implement IoT systems that are reliable and robust. The systems must also be secured with the latest security protocols and the latest cryptographic algorithms.

In sum, the engineer, or team of engineers, who are working on the IoT system must be resourceful and innovative. They must take different approaches to ensure that all of the components within the embedded systems are 100% secure, from the prototype phase to the final deployment phase.

Power Dissipation Issues

Another limitation that can prove to be very frustrating for many hardware designers is power dissipation in regards to hardware design for various state-of-the-art microprocessors. The challenge lies in maximizing performance out of multiple devices as well as applications in real-time settings.

The goal is to create a top-of-the-line embedded IoT system that has additional transistors, while also maintaining a correct power consumption ratio. However, there are currently two lead causes of high power dissipation when low-power systems are fabricated.

First, as gate density increases, the power dissipation of each transistor will also rise. Ergo, the power density of chip systems will also subsequently increase. Engineers will need to go above and beyond the call of duty by not solely relying on process technology, as was often the case in the past.

Instead, they must work vigorously to reduce the power consumption levels of the embedded systems that they are working on by implementing a system architecture design that is leading-edge and very efficient.

Second, the engineers will need to increase system frequency, which will lead to added power usage. IoT systems will achieve results of superior performance, while also consuming the lowest amount of power possible, essentially allowing the system to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Testing Issues

For reliable product design to be achieved, validation, verification, and meticulous testing protocols will need to be adhered to without exception. First, embedded hardware testing must be performed, whereby developers use hardware-based test tools. It should also be mentioned that the integrated hardware-testing stage is similar to all testing types used in this industry.

The second stage is verification, which involves determining if the functional verification has been administered as intended. The third challenge requires validation, whereby the developers will evaluate the system to ensure that it matches with the prerequisites and adheres to all quality standards. Failure to pass the testing phase will require modifications and re-testing until all tests are passed without incident, which may prove to be yet another challenge for the team involved.

Circuits Central

If you would like to learn more about the hardware challenges involved in IoT system design, then we can help. Circuits Central specializes in hardware design and manufacturing, and our expertise allows us to meet the discerning needs of our hardware design clients without compromise. We also work with clients in many different industries, including the medical, military, commercial, communication, consumer, and aerospace industries.

To learn more about our proprietary hardware solutions, which include a la carte solutions, manufacturing and integration, and design and engineering, please visit our website. You can also contact us at 888-821-7746 for a free, no-obligation quote and consultation.


Hardware Design Challenges of the Embedded Internet of Things (IoT)

Electronics Manufacturing, Prototyping - Circuits CentralCircuits Central
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