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Advanced Circuits, Inc. (ACI)

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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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Printed Circuit Board Design Is Never One Size Fits All

PCBs or printed circuit boards have been in use for a long time and they are in demand across a diversity of industries, especially electronics of all kinds. Though many consumers assume that circuit board design is a uniform matter without a lot of changes or innovations, those in any part of the industry know that there is always room to improve, streamline and redesign according to need. Unfortunately, the costs associated with circuit board design can be a bit prohibitive to some, and so they do not try to make their own modifications or changes, settling for something ill-fitting or less than desired.

After all, prototyping means designing something new, having the unit made, addressing flaws or design issues, and only then sending it into production. There is always the risk that a design flaw might be overlooked, and working with subcontractors can actually increase such concerns. All of these factors are why so many people will avoid the entire process and stick with a less than desirable solution. Settling for a stock or standardized design, however, is not a forward-thinking approach.

The good news is that there is no such thing as one size fits all circuit board design. Advanced Circuits, a top industry manufacturer, offers an array of resources capable of empowering firms with even limited budgets to upgrade, customize and enjoy flexibility. Of course, it helps to have a bit more clarity on just what is available generally before delving into the options in custom printed circuit board design.

The General Options in PCB Design

A simple or basic list of the options for PCB design include:

  • Single Layer
  • Double Layer
  • Multi-Layer
  • Rigid
  • Flexible
  • Flex-Rigid
  • High-frequency
  • Aluminum-Backed
  • Full Spec
  • LDI
  • Oversized
  • Heavy copper
  • and more

Clearly, this means an array of production capabilities has to exist and come in at the right price and quality points to meet such a diversity of potential needs or designs. Advanced Circuits can supply almost any type of production capability and facilitate premium circuit board design that goes along with it.

Optimal Circuit Board Design from Advanced Circuits

In addition to there being such a diversity of PCB types, there will be many design needs. For example, printed circuit board design may involve only a single layer, or it might be two-sided, but the complexity of modern electronics may necessitate up to 28 layers incorporated into a design, and each layer will require synchronous interaction. This means there is always room for error in circuit board design, and the option for multiple sets of eyes and various levels of expertise may prove remarkably beneficial and cost effective.

Because of that, Advanced Circuits has created a system of tools, resources and services that are all meant to facilitate optimal circuit board design. The resources and services include:

  • Expert advice – In addition to classic customer support, our team includes access to CAM engineers 24-hours each day. Customers are able to phone in design and engineering questions and have them answered by a professional engineer.
  • Expert Reviews – CAM engineers also conduct a thorough review of each design as it is about to enter into the production process. This is a final check and guarantees that there are no issues that might lead to a negative outcome.
  • Full and free design support – In addition to expert engineers, Advanced Circuits offers industry best software meant to enable superior design. PCB Layout Software – PCB Artist features a library of more than 500k tools and components that can be built into designs of up to 28 layers. It can control auto router functions, multi-page schematics, and more. It is offered in an unrestricted format, meaning it comes at no cost but allows top-of-the-line design options.

After that, clients are able to use the FreeDFM program, which requires an export to Gerber file format and upload to the Advanced Circuits website. Once that fast and easy process has been completed, the client can enjoy a full evaluation of the PCB design. A report is emailed to the provided contact and it explains which flaws were discovered, remedied and what were targeted as potential showstoppers, but left in place.

As any professional knows, PCB design is the key factor in the whole process. A single error makes a prototype a failure or an entire batch of PCBs useless. It could lead to enormous wastes of time and resources. Yet, the entirety of the process does not begin and end with design. There are other factors that impact whether or not printed circuit board design is as successful or effective as it could be.

A lot of it has to do with the approach the producer takes to the process. Advanced Circuits ensures that its clients experience a process that empowers their success, from the design phase to assembly. This means that we:

  • Keep it in house – Our enormous production facilities are Advanced Circuits’ way of proving commitment to the entire process. We are able to work with design files and a team of engineers that ensure files are complete and appropriate to the client’s goals. However, we also handle fabrication and assembly on the premises, too. While so many modern manufacturers are “no touch,” we are most distinctly hands-on and manage every aspect of a project.
  • Comprehensive website – The ease with which clients can get the tools needed and then use them effectively is only one part of our service. We also provide instant quotes, unique client pages where previous orders and simple reorders are possible, stencils, file uploading, order tracking, and “through software” orders. Design something using the free PCB Artist software, and order it once it has cleared the CAM or free evaluation services. This also gives clients a discount on any standard spec orders.
  • Tooling fees – Many manufacturers impose a tooling fee on standard spec orders, but clients can count on a fee-free process with Advanced Circuits. Even if a custom spec orders is re-ordered, the tooling fees are cancelled out.
  • No minimum orders – Budgets are protected by Advanced Circuits’ no minimum order requirements, and whether it is a single board with a single day of turnaround time or a huge order, the quantity is in the hands of the clients.

Advanced Circuits Removes the Challenges in the PCB Production Process

The PCB design and production process is full of potential challenges and issues. Advanced Circuits clients receive their specific designs without breaking the budget, slowing production times or wasting resources. Whether clients need one PCB, small batches or larger orders, Advanced Circuits can produce quality printed circuit boards to client requirements.

To get an instant PCB quote and learn more about our quick turn capabilities, review our standard and custom spec PCB page.

 

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