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PCB Quality Control

PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly) quality control is a crucial part of circuit design so that the end product functions correctly by following the required standards. PCB Quality Control verifies that the PCB meets the desired quality standards so that it applies to desired applications. PCB is one of the most crucial components of electronic devices, and any defects in the PCB can result in failure or malfunctions of the end product. Thus PCB quality control is an essential aspect of PCB manufacturing.

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ELEPCB Quality Control Introduction

Why choose ELE? Because we value our product quality more than our customers – We do value our customers as well! The product will not be sent out until it has passed through multiple quality inspection processes. And customers can come to our factory to visit at any time to ensure the quality of service. The following chart is the quality control process of ELEPCB.

PCB Quality Control Flow Chart
PCB Quality Control Flow Chart
PCB-Assembly-Work-Flow-Chart
PCB Assembly Work Flow Chart

PCB quality control involves a series of steps, including:

  • Design Verification
  • Component Inspection
  • Solderability Testing
  • Electrical Testing
  • Surface inspection
  • Microscopic Inspection

The quality control process is a continuous process from the very first stage to the last step. Below are the mentioned size areas that need to be highlighted by the PCB contract manufacturer for the overall quality control process of the PCB and PCBA.

Essential Tips for PCB Quality Control

IPC-A-600: Acceptability of Printed Boards

The IPC-A-600 specifies the minimum requirements that experienced experts can see externally or within the PCB to judge manufacturing quality. The quality of the PCB depends on the electrical device for which it will be used and its operational needs.

The manufacturers can process the most important manufacturing quality for their users or customers with IPC training and certifications. The IPC certifications ensure that the whole circuit board PCBA follows the exact requirements and standards that guarantee a uniform approach to the various assembly processes. Many manufacturing companies also employ on-site certified IPC trainers, allowing them to keep their staff current with the required IPC certifications.

IPC-A-600

Component Expertise in PCB

Component expertise in PCB manufacturing involves the knowledge and skills of professionals in charge of selecting and analyzing electronic components for assembly. These professionals have an intimate knowledge of component specs, and performance features, and are compatible with the PCB design.

Their experience guarantees that only high-quality and appropriate equipment is chosen for the PCB, taking into account issues such as efficiency, dependability, and cost-efficiency. Component specialists use their knowledge and experience to improve the overall quality and functionality of the final PCB product, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and product reliability.

Component failures on PCB is one of the serious issues, and they can result in enormous losses for the company since the problem is challenging to deal with. The best PCB manufacturer will have a well-documented process for quality assurance and the inspection that the components or the parts used on the board are high quality.

Furthermore, the manufacturers must hire component engineering experts who can collaborate with an extensive network of component manufacturers and suppliers to get you the best parts at the best price in the shortest amount of time. The quality of raw materials ensures the durability of the product.

Elepcb uses top-level, quality materials to complete your final PCB. Other component sourcing necessitates high-quality control and ensures that premium materials are used in the circuit board. Because any delay in sourcing components can cause the PCB manufacturing process to stall or cause the intended production design to change. Elepcb follows the following quality control procedures to minimize potential problems:

BOM Verification

The bill of materials (BOM) is simply an inventory of raw materials, electronic parts assembled and semi-assembled, and anything else required for PCB assembly. To conduct BOM verification in PCB creation, compare the Bill of Materials to the real components on the board, confirming that all stated parts exist and are properly established.

A Gerber file is a common file format used in PCB manufacturing to provide exact details about the board’s design. It comprises information about each layer of the PCB, such as wire traces, solder masks, and silkscreens. Gerber files are critical for manufacturers to generate correct PCBs because they contain precise directions for component placement.

Solderability Test

Dip-and-look and wetting balance are the most commonly used PCB solderability tests. Dip-and-look is a type of test that involves adding flux to Leaded or Leadless PCB resignations and then dipping them in melted solder to compare results. Solderability testing checks the quality of solder joints on a PCB to make certain they’re sturdy and dependable. This is essential for the sturdiness and capability of digital connections.

PCB Component Testing in PCB Quality Contorl

Process Controls

According to ISO guidelines for quality control procedures, risk management, and traceability, the manufacturer should provide thorough documentation of the PCB assembly process as it is carried out step by step. Furthermore, the circuit manufacturer should have well-documented process controls to govern manufacturing quality by governing soldering temperatures, storage stability, and cleanliness standards.

Assembly Checks

The PCB assembly process includes DFA, SMD installation, solder paste inspection, recirculating soldering, board cleaning, through-hole device assembly, soldering non-washable components, circuit board testing, and the last inspection. To perform assembly checks on a PCB, carefully examine each component for correct positioning and orientation, assuring secure attachment.

There should be several inspection points during PCB assembly so inspectors can concentrate on the work done before rather than trying to catch everything at once. These inspections should be carried out manually and automatically to detect potential issues with solder joints and improperly positioned components.

Inspection and Test

As soon as the board is completed, it requests the complete inspection again. The PCB manufacturer should have a detailed inspection process before supplying the final product. The next part of the quality assurance process includes board testing. There are various testing methods for the circuit board. Your manufacturers will prepare a complete testing plan and strategy per your project’s needs and requirements.

AOI Test in PCB Manufacturer

Functional Workforce

The final aspect of a PCB manufacturer’s quality is how they are set up to do the job. Precision electronics require a clean, orderly workspace and adequately maintained and up-to-date equipment. The layout of the assembly lines in the facilities should reflect this, and the business’s culture and goals should support this attitude and vision. Besides, some of the more detailed quality control used by the manufacturer include:

PCB Quality Control Methods

Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI)

Automated optical inspection is a sort of automated visual inspection used in printed circuit board production that involves a camera inspecting the product under test for both catastrophic damage and quality defects. Automatic optical inspection (AOI) is intrinsically linked to PCB manufacturing since it finds errors. To do an automatic optical inspection (AOI) on PCBs, set up the machine, load the PCB, begin the inspection process, and examine the results for flaws.

Elepcb introduced advanced AOI to increase the testing’s accuracy and stop damaged PCB from moving on to the following step-by-step procedure. However, because AOI cannot check vias, a flying probe test or an E-tester fixture is also required.

Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI)
Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI)

In-Circuit Testing (ICT)

In-circuit testing is a type of white box testing in which a powered probe tests a populated printed circuit board. It looks for shorts, openings, resistance, capacitance, and other fundamental parameters that indicate whether the assembly was properly manufactured. To do in-circuit testing (ICT) on a PCB, attach the board to a specific device equipped with probes, then use voltage and current to verify each component’s performance and connectivity.

In-Circuit Testing (ICT)
In-Circuit Testing (ICT)

Flying Probe Test

A flying probe test is a non-contact method for evaluating electrical circuits, mainly printed circuit boards (PCBs). It includes a series of movable probes that interact with specified test spots on the PCB to detect defects and verify electrical operation. It identifies issues and the capability of prototypes and small batches.

Electromechanical control probes are used in this type of electrical testing to access the circuit board’s components, and the test probes quickly move from point to point on the PCB circuit board to complete the test. A precision transmission system controls the moving position of each test probe, and position accuracy can reach 0.01mm. The whole testing process typically takes 1-3 minutes, even though the flying probe test can accurately determine whether the PCB is short-circuited or non-conducting because it must check each signal individually. As a result, flying probes are only suitable for low-volume PCB orders.

Flying Probe Test
Flying Probe Test

Electrical Test

This method checks for problems such as open circuits, short circuits, and faulty connections. Electrical testing, which applies voltage and current to various portions of the PCB, ensures that each circuit can conduct electricity effectively

Electrical testing has become indispensable for PCBs with blind and buried vias. Because AOI cannot inspect vias, E-test can check the board for missing connections. For fixture testing, an electrical tool known as an E-tester is required. The E-tester is generally designed per the PCB panel and is covered with test pins. It can test a complete discussion in one minute, which significantly improves test efficiency and is appropriate for bulk orders. We have introduced the most recent testing machine; as long as the E-tester is operational, the PCB can be checked without failures.

Burn-in Testing

Burn-in is a process that exposes components before their normal use to identify breakdowns and maintain component reliability. PCB burn-in is typically performed at 125ºC with electrical stimulation given to the tests. This is often accomplished by running an electrical supply and programming through the devices for 12 to 48 hours.

PCB Sawing

Even though sawing a PCB can be destructive to individual boards, it can be a valuable tool for understanding the overall picture of the entire assembly process. This test is primarily used to check for holes. Only suitable for large-scale production runs.

PCB Sawing
PCB Sawing

Manual Inspection

We have quality inspectors in place at every stage of the production process in addition to machine testing. We train quality inspectors regularly to ensure they understand the IPC-A-600 product acceptance standards. The collaboration of inspection labor and equipment can significantly reduce defects, from IQC inspection of raw materials. At the same time, we established a specialized quality inspection division to inspect each PCB before shipment visually. Some problems that the machine cannot detect, such as defects in the shape or solder mask, can thus be checked.

Microscope

Inspectors can project PCB connections onto a large screen for detailed inspection and a closer look using hand-held optical tools like magnifying glasses or microscopes to lessen the strain on their eyes. They are frequently used to improve visual inspection. To reduce stress on the eyes, inspectors can use hand-held optical tools such as magnifying glasses or microscopes to project PCB connections onto a large screen for detailed inspection for a closer look. They are often used to improve visual inspection.

Quality Control in PCB Design

To ensure quality in PCB design, the task should cover the following four aspects:

  1. Validity of PCB Design: The project leader must check the PCB design file. Approval procedures should be implemented to ensure the file’s validity.
  2. Manufacturability of PCBs: To ensure PCB manufacturability, the team leader and technician must meet technological standards. These needs should be stated on design drawings or represented in a text file. They must be true, clear, and reasonable, satisfying current manufacturing requirements while allowing for subsequent assembly, debugging tasks, and testing.
  3. Testability and normalization: A standardizer must evaluate test points, artistic style, size, routing, through-hole holes, and code sets. This assures that the PCB’s reliability and manufacturability fulfill national and commercial specifications.
  4. DFM/DRC: DFM emphasizes the “should” aspect, while DRC emphasizes the “can.”The DRC’s purpose is to detect variations or errors while DFM detects all of the factors that may cause difficulties throughout the PCB manufacturing process.

Quality Control Before PCB Production

To assure quality in PCB production, the assignment should include the following three components:

  • Capability of manufacturers: The quality and purchasing divisions ought to examine and approve the manufacturing capabilities of PCB manufacturers.
  • Checking and confirmation: Before manufacturing, PCB designers must examine and confirm the schematic drawings. Because several versions of design drawings may exist, it is critical to check the final design provided by the producer to ensure it matches the most recent criteria.
  • Pay attention to the fundamental methods for PCB manufacturing: The quality of essential manufacturing processes, such as blasting and metallization, has an important impact on PCB performance and dependability. These operations must be maintained and evaluated to avoid errors.

PCB Quality Control on the Raw PCB Material

Quality control on raw PCB fabric is critical to ensuring the overall incredible reliability of printed circuit boards (PCBs). Raw PCB fabric office work is the foundation of the PCB production process, and any flaws or variations in those materials can cause major issues in the finished product.

Why Control the Raw PCB Material?

Controlling the raw PCB cloth is critical because it immediately impacts the overall performance, reliability, and toughness of the very last PCB product. Inconsistent or substandard raw substances can result in defects including negative solderability, delamination, or electric-powered failures.

How to Control the Raw PCB Material?

To control the raw PCB material, do rich inspections upon reception to ensure quality and specifications, including spectroscopic and mechanical inspections. To avoid material degradation, develop solid connections with credible suppliers and maintain suitable storage circumstances.

Certification for PCB Quality

Certification for organizations in any field is a crucial step toward ensuring that quality requirements are met. When it comes to printed circuit boards, certification for organizations involved in every stage of production and assembly is essential.

ISO Standards (International Organization for Standardization)

ISO 9001: Quality Management System: ISO 9001 is a globally recognized standard for developing and administering a nice control machine. The ISO 9001 accreditation confirms PCB producers’ dedication to producing constant, excellent merchandise. This well-known company covers a huge variety of operations, such as layout, manufacturing, and customer support.

ISO 9001:2015
ISO 9001:2015

ISO 14001: Environmental Management System

The ISO 14001 standard, well known, focuses on environmental control. While it does not cope with PCB, it does ensure that manufacturing processes bear in mind environmental outcomes, which promotes enterprise-wide sustainability.

ISO 14001
ISO 14001

UL: Underwriters Laboratories Certification

UL 796 Safety Standard for Printed Wire Boards: This fashionable assessment assesses the safety of the materials used in PCB manufacturing. It includes criteria for flammability, electrical properties, and several safety concerns.

UL
UL

RoHS: Restricted Hazardous Substances

RoHS Directive: RoHS bans the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products, such as PCBs. Compliance ensures that PCBs do not contain toxic components like lead, mercury, or cadmium, which improves environmental security and protection.

REACH Regulation: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restrictions of Chemicals

REACH Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006: REACH regulates the use of chemicals in PCB production. Compliance with REACH ensures that PCBs are made using safe and friendly techniques and materials.

PCB Quality Control on PCB Package

Packaging is critical in PCB quality control because it ensures that the boards are delivered safely to clients. Proper packing protects PCBs from breakage during transit, avoiding problems such as bent or damaged components. It also demonstrates the manufacturer’s commitment to both quality and professionalism. Manufacturers maintain their high standards of excellence and increase client satisfaction by securely packing PCBs in boxes or other appropriate containers.

Conclusion

ELEPCB satisfies its customers by focusing on quality products. Our quality occurrence system and many other inspection systems help the whole production system to ensure the stability of the products and the high-quality products. The motto of Elecpcb is to satisfy all of our customers with high-quality products on time with zero defects. We follow basic quality standards and have a robust quality management policy that provides sustainable products to our end users. We have the most advanced equipment for PCB quality control.

ELE PCB possesses a range of certifications such as IS09001:2015, IS013485:2016, ROHS, and FCC, and can provide various services including PCB manufacturing and assembly, as well as sample and batch orders. The PCB assembly services use 7 high-speed SMT PCBA lines from Yamaha and Sony to cater to customer requirements. Additionally, ELE PCB offers extended services such as PCB design and layout, hardware design engineering, firmware and software development, and customization.