Advanced Circuits, Inc. (ACI)

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Understanding the Basics of Military Grade Circuit Boards

Printed circuit boards are often used in military applications. Those that are used in these rough environments will need to be highly reliable because they will often have to function in harsh conditions. A typical PCB board will not be exposed to environments that would damage it. However, in the military, the PCBs may regularly come into contact with contaminants, chemicals, and extreme temperatures.

Therefore, these PCBs need to be military-grade circuit boards that meet or exceed the specifications and requirements put forth by the military. Depending on the type of use it will see there may be different specs for different boards. Certain design considerations will need to be kept in mind not only with the design of the circuit but all through the manufacturing process.

What to Consider When Designing Military Grade Circuit Boards

When going to the manufacturing stage of creating the military-grade circuit boards, it is important to ensure that all of the components that are being used are up to military specs. These components have tolerances that will range between 1% and 2%, whereas the commercial components are not required to fall within that tolerance range. The design of the PCB needs to handle the maximum current load easily, and it needs to be capable of standing up to harsh environments and a lot of use.

If there are any low-frequency components used, it needs to be possible to differentiate them from the high-frequency components. They do not always work well together, and there is the possibility that the waveforms from the high-frequency components will degrade the quality of the signal. This interference should never be present in any PCB that is supposed to be designed as military-grade circuit boards.

The clock signals used in the PCB should be lean and shielded. Also, using heat resistant materials is important since the equipment could be used in extremely hot environments. The use of thermal compounds can help to provide heat dissipation. If there are components that are producing a lot of heat, they will need to have more clearance space than other components.

It is important to check MIL-PRF-50884, MIL-PRF-31031, and MIL-PRF-55110 standards to ensure that the PCBs that are being created fall in line with the specs.

How Are Military Grade Circuit Boards Used Today?

Circuit boards are used in a wide range of applications by the military today. The military has welcomed and adopted various tech, and they have often helped to make improvements thanks to the rigorous testing and standards that they employ. It is important for those who want to design in this field to keep up with any changes to the specs. As technology changes and improves, the specs will likely change.

Some of the applications where high-quality PCBs are used today include unmanned vehicles, robotic systems, defense navigation systems, communication systems, computers used in the field, mortars and artillery, satellite subsystems, and in security equipment. These are just some of the different ways that military-grade circuit boards are being used and making a difference in the military. Given the work that these pieces of technology are doing, it is easy to understand why they need to have a higher grade of circuit board than is found in a typical commercial system. The military does not have the luxury of waiting during downtime to have a replacement or a repair made. They need to be sure the equipment they are using is working properly all the time.

A Solid Design Needs a Great PCB Manufacturer

The design of the military-grade circuit boards starts with the idea and software design for the PCB. It is essential to adhere to the specs put out by the military at each step of the process. Before bringing a prototype design to be manufactured, it is important to view the Gerber files through a Gerber file viewer to ensure that they are correct and that the basics of the circuit will work properly. Some circuit board manufacturers offer a free viewer on their websites so that users can upload files for any PCBs they are creating.

Once the user is sure that the PCB design is solid, they can then move on to the manufacturing stage. It is important that the chosen manufacturer has a great reputation for providing high-quality PCBs according to specific military specifications. Quality options will have regular contracts with the Department of Defense and can ensure that they have what it takes to comply with military specs for PCBs.

Those who are creating PCBs that are considered military-grade, regardless of how they are eventually going to be used, will want to trust a manufacturer who has a higher level of experience. We have our facilities, and all of the work is done in-house. We can provide high-quality PCB fabrication and can offer advanced services and tech support to those who have questions. In addition to great PCBs and reliability, we also pride ourselves on the speed in which we can turn around orders. Those who need to have their PCBs quickly will find that the manufacturing and shipping process is extremely fast.

Buyers can quickly get a quote on the PCBs that you will need to have manufactured, and they can make your order as small as is needed. There is typically no minimum from a manufacturer, so there will not be a worry about needing to order PCBs that are not needed and stretching out costs.

Learn More About PCB Options for the Military

Those who require military-grade circuit boards will also be pleased that many high quality manufacturers offer a range of specialized components and materials that can be used. Interested individuals or companies can get in touch with a trusted PCB manufacturer today to learn more about the options available and the various service options that they offer. Whether standard or custom PCBs are needed, the right manufacturer can provide what is needed at a reasonable cost. Regardless of whether standard or custom specs are chosen, all of the files will receive a full review to ensure they are viable for military-specific needs.


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