Advanced Circuits, Inc. (ACI)

As experts in the manufacture and assembly of printed circuit boards, we work to make our blog a helpful resource on PCB topics and the industries that we work with, including automotive, consumer electronics, aerospace and many more. Here you'll find insights into PCB design, tech trends, assembly issues, and trending topics in the general news media as they relate to printed circuit board technology.

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Make Surface-Mount Technology Part of Your PCB Design

Surface-mount technology, or SMT, is a process that is being used by major manufacturers and designers of printed circuit boards, or PCBs. Appearing in almost any electronic device, they are technologies that bring a tremendous advantage and many benefits. Is it outside of the average manufacturer’s reach? Not in the design process, and when you can incorporate surface-mount technology into your PCB designs, you enjoy benefits such as:

  • Far more functionality in the device – Surface-mount technology reduces the total weight of almost all PCBs. And yet, producing them is less demanding where labor is concerned, because it eliminates drilling and soldering to a great degree. This means lighter, smaller PCBs with less risk of malfunction.
  • Compact and functional – SMT means smaller devices that work better and cost less.
  • Automation – Using surface-mount technology allows any producer to leverage the benefits of mass-produced PCBs, resulting in higher-quality, better-performing PCBs.
  • Lower costs and shorter production times – By eliminating several standard production steps, it makes surface-mount technology faster and less costly.

Can all PCB makers offer surface-mount technologies? Sadly, no, and that makes it important for any device makers or designers to spend time seeking out options for integrating SMT into their designing, manufacturing, and assembly processes.

At Advanced Circuits, all clients can access the long list of benefits that come from surface-mount technologies. While that alone is a good enough reason to explore our options, we also have a long list of complimentary tools and resources that allow buyers to make the very most of the technology.

Make the Most of SMT and Advanced Circuits’ Resources

As a leading name in PCB and prototyping, Advanced Circuits is also noted for its many free tools that empower SMT to the greatest degree possible. For instance, for the DIY, one-off, or by-hand SMT designers, there are SMT Solder Paste Stencils available. While not free, they are a unique option few others make available.

For those eager to use SMT tools and resources in their PCB designs, we have advanced design tools that enable easy integration of surface-mount technologies. It all starts with Gerber files. This is the most familiar and common file type used in the PCB production process, and whether or not a Gerber file is used often impacts whether the designs are left untested when sent in for production.

In fact, the process known as no-touch production is just that – the maker takes the files and produces them without any sort of engineering review. Buyers who work with brokered or outsourced systems encounter this issue regularly and face the financial risks of flawed designs.

An optimal producer should make an engineering review mandatory prior to beginning fabrication as it will identify any potential issues that might lead to delays or wasted resources. Advanced Circuits offers free tools for surface-mount technology designs that overcome these typical hurdles.

Free Tools for SMT Design

PCB Artist – Producers get 100% free access to a fully unrestricted version of this PCB design software. Its capabilities include management of up to 28 layers, a library of more than 500,000 parts, an auto-router function, multi-page schematics, and SMT support. This means it will meet even the most advanced demands. This software is consistently recognized as an industry-best PCB design tool.

FreeDFM– In addition to nearly fail-proof design software, clients can also use this free rapid design assessment software. Amazingly intuitive and easy to use, it ensures that all essential data is available; it can also provide corrections to common design issues. It generates a full report of its findings and can manage complex surface-mount technology designs as well as standard designs with soldering and drilling. Once it completes reviewing the design, it promises an error-free product, and this is why those who use it get a discount if the design is submitted through the software. It can do a full conversion to Gerber format in only a few minutes, provide a quote, and extend the discount code.

Standard Services – Those who use Advanced Circuits to produce PCBs also have free use of the traditional client services. This means that every SMT order receives a full CAM engineer review, ensuring your design of any level of complexity receives a full and expert evaluation and any adjustments needed.

Partnering for Success

In addition to all of this complimentary expertise, further benefits of a partnership with Advanced Circuits include:

  • No tooling charges – When an order features Standard Specifications, we are glad to waive tooling charges and always cancel such fees on reorders of Standard Spec and Custom Spec items.
  • 24-hour support – Customer service around-the-clock features live tech support that allows design teams to speak directly with a CAM engineer at any hour of the day or night.
  • Best shipping record – Advanced Circuits has the BEST ON-TIME SHIPPING RECORD in the industry. We’re now shipping 50% of orders early! In fact, we say we “put our money where our mouth is . . . and we ship Standard Spec orders on time or they’re FREE!”
  • Not a broker – We never sub out our work but instead count on our top-of-the-line, 62,000-square-foot facility to guarantee the kind of quality and speed many want but don’t always receive.
  • No minimum orders – There are no minimum lot requirements. Clients are not forced to invest in huge orders with more PCBs than might be needed. Prototyping is an option, even with SMT features.
  • Custom and private client pages – Look through past orders, see the specs and details, look at quotes from other jobs, and even review hold notices, test certifications, and a long list of other helpful reports.
  • Stability – With more than two decades of work in this industry, a healthy bottom line, and many dedicated clients, we are among the most stable of providers, guaranteed to be around for years after your projects are completed.

One More Plus

The production plant also has to be seen as a benefit because it allows 100% in-house design, production, and assembly. Not only is this efficient, but it promises the level of familiarity and attention to detail that few SMT producers provide.

Incorporating surface-mount technology into your PCB design is a practical and innovative way to get the most out of any design. It used to be a premium element and demanded a bit of risk. Advanced Circuits gives you the tools and resources you need to create high-quality PCBs every time.


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