PCB Assembly Being RoHS and ITAR Complaiant

Prototype pcb assembly

The revenue of circuit board and electronic component manufacturing in the U.S. ranged at about $44 billion in 2014. Companies manufacture or purchase PCBs, put their sensitive information on them and because they are indispensable, they are dumped in landfills when out of use; few of them offshore where they can potentially be picked up and revamped by a not so reputable source.

To deter that, the Better Business Bureau has implemented ITAR and RoHS for persons or corporations involved in prototype PCB assembly. RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances and is responsible for managing materials installed in small batch PCB. Hazardous materials like lead are prohibited from ending up in landfills and therefore, prohibited from PCB fabrication and assembly.

ITAR stands for International Traffic and Arms Regulation and is regulated by the U.S. department of defense. This ensures all domestic technological advances, military applications, defense or trade secrets or any other sensitive information is protected during and after use from any other foreign parties. In 1995, a little over 50 years after the introduction of PCBs, they became a $7.1 billion industry for the first time. Just 5 years later in 200, they became an over $10 billion industry and since 2012 have reached over $60 billion worldwide. Small batch PCB and technological growth is inconceivable and possibly infinite but circuit board assembly. Below is a quick definitive guide for manufactured PCBs available and the necessary standards and procedures on becoming BBB compliant.

Single Sided PCB

Before PCB design software was introduced, printed circuit boards were designed using clear Mylar sheets, up to four times bigger than the circuit board itself, on which designers would create a transparent photomask of the proposed design. Single sided PCB, the simplest PCB due to its one layer of copper and one layer of conductor is the evolution of the Mylar sheet. Many people think the circuit board assembly for a single sided PCB is handmade and they can drill into it themselves. They avoid the conducive path on top of the circuit board but on the inside, drill right through one and the entire motherboard is destroyed. Board designers use computer-aided design systems with special software to layout the circuit pattern on the board. The spaces between electrical conducting paths are often 0.04 inches (1mm) or smaller.

Double-Sided PCB

The double sided circuit board is currently the most widely used circuit board on the market; to differentiate from the single-sided PCB, the double sided PCB fabrication process has two sides of copper. Double-sided circuit boards connect the circuits on each side using one of two methods: through-hole technology and surface mount technology. Small batch PCBs are manufactured and assembled by other PCBs. The advent of machine-assembly for any size orders means that shops can assemble PCBS in a fraction of the time it would normally take for hand placement. In fact, some PCB assemblers have a standard turn-time of 5 days or less, which is 75% faster than the industry average.

Multi-Layered PCB

Multi-layered circuit boards, as the name implies, are multiple layers of copper. Most common multi-layer boards are: 4 layers, 6 layers, 8 layers and 10 layers. However, the total number of layers that can be manufactured can exceed over 42 layers. These types of boards are used in extremely complex circuits. Multi-layered small batch PCBs are the evolution of technological advances for high speed in small space.

No matter how many layers of copper or how thick it is, all small PCB assembly must abide by RoHS stands and ITAR disposal methods.

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