The schematic diagrams used on the design of printed circuit board or PCBs are often protected under Intellectual Property Rights. This means that one manufacturer’s design cannot be used for the PCB fabrication of its competitor. This has made it possible for some of the world’s leading producers of electronic devices to compete in healthy ways and to constantly innovate on their brand’s unique designs. However, there are some experts who propose that PCB designs be reused in certain ways by select groups of PCB innovators.
The proponents of design reuse for PCB fabrication have provided the following advantages in their arguments:
1.An overall improvement in the quality of the finished product. This is because electronic engineers would be working on an existing design that has already been previously tested by other engineers. This means that the engineer who would be re-using the design can focus on selecting more durable and high-quality materials instead of the previous focus on testing the design’s functionalities.
2.It reduces the time it takes between the production of a new product and its introduction to the market. This means that manufacturers would be able to gain a return on their product investments in less time than it would take when introducing a brand-new product made out of a brand-new PCB design.
Design reuse for PCB fabrication leverages on an existing diagram that has already been proven to work. Engineers would only have to focus on improving the different aspects of the existing design that has been known to cause problems in the past or to replace the features that consumers did not appreciate in the previous version. But people who do not specialize in electronics might ask why there is such a focus on shortening the time frame for PCB fabrication, thereby shortening the time it takes for a new product to be launched.
Answering this query requires taking a closer look at how printed circuit boards are created.
First, engineers would have to pick the right materials that would serve as the base of the circuit. Many engineers choose a fiberglass material that is coated with a thin sheet of copper because this base has already been tested and proven to be non-conductors. However, there are instances when a manufacturer might want to be truly innovative and test other materials that might be better than fiberglass as a base. This means adding a few more months to the PCB fabrication.
After choosing the material for the base, the schematic diagram has to be drawn in order to determine which portions of the base board to drill holes on, as well as to be able to obtain the correct measurement of the design that would fit into the size of the circuit board. The next stage involves mounting each of the circuit board’s components one by one.
Great care has to be taken on this process because over-soldering a component could mean damage. And as every expert on PCB assembly already knows, a single bit of damage on any of the components is tantamount to a factory defect on the entire circuit board. It won’t function when one of the components is not functioning.
After mounting the components, the PCB would have to undergo a battery of tests to ensure that its voltage matches the voltage required for the finished product to function as designed. The tests would also determine whether there is any defect in any component that slipped the quality control officer’s notice. The PCB has to pass every test that it undergoes before engineers can give it the go signal to be used on new products. Otherwise, everyone would have to go back to the drawing board and start from square one.