Patrick Song

Design Mistakes That Affect PCB Fabrication and Assembly

circuit-baordPrinted circuit board (PCB) assembly can encounter lots of challenges whether they are meant for a small tech company or a huge multinational electronics company. Effective PCB fabrication and assembly needs a smooth teamwork among manufacturers, designers, and fabricators so they can provide high quality PCB. If there are mistakes in design, it can have serious consequences to the whole team, specifically when the failures lead to poor quality products that reach the market.

During the assembly process, the mistakes can be technical design or operational errors in the controls created. Here are some of the mistakes to watch out in PCB assembly.

1.Failure to Sufficiently Assess the Performance Environment

PCB designers sometimes fail to tend to the environment where the PCB fabrication will operate throughout the design phase. Some companies would disregard assessment of the environment as a means of saving and PCB designers might be required to carefully consider material expenses in their designs.

Humidity, temperature and forces like G-force are environmental factors that constantly act on the PCB. The end result will always fail if the design specifications and materials used are not adequate. This failure might be disastrous to the whole company, depending on where the PCB is placed.


Technically-speaking, flex-cracking means too much bending of the circuit board under a ceramic chip capacitor. Because of its brittle nature, ceramic chip capacitor is not able to endure excessive stress. For satisfactory electrical performance, some PCBs would need large capacitors. Accidental dropping and putting excessive weight on the capacitor at any stage during PCB fabrication and assembly are some of the causes of stress for the capacitor. Flex-cracking issues may be avoided by using a smaller-sized capacitor that has the same voltage and capacitance.

3.Lack of Communication

Often, PCB involves a number of contributors – Electronic Manufacturing Services or EMS provider, designers, and fabricators. Usually, the design-house outsources the PCB assembly to another company for business reasons like economies of scale and lower expenses.

All of the contributors need to have constant communication to have efficient delivery of quality products. During the early stages, one of the mistakes that can have a huge impact on the delivery times is when the designers fail to send the initial component placement to the assembly house. Every organization has a schedule for their work to make the most profits and communication guarantees that none of the contributors suffers from the policies of the other.

4.Lack of Back-up Copies of the Design

Circuit BoardsFailing to produce some copies of the work is one of the most common mistakes in any kind of design work. Imagine this: working for a few months on a new project and then losing everything because the computer crashed. Every company must implement having data back-up copies as part of the PCB fabrication and assembly process. Even those designers who work from their homes must save back-up copies on another drive to spare themselves from the hassle of having to do the design all over again. As an alternative, they can also check out safe back-up options available online.

5.Lack of Design Evaluations

There could be issues with design evaluations for companies without clearly defined rules on the work flow from preliminary product assembly plan, all through design to final product delivery. Whether the circuit board is custom made for the mass market or a certain client, having the marketing personnel or the client present during these design evaluations ensures that the design does not change from what the marketers and client thought of when specifying the PCB fabrication. Design evaluations must be included as a step of the quality control procedures.


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