The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing a lot for established companies and startups. A lot of this is so new that the way businesses approach new printed circuit board assembly (PCB) projects has some challenges that are not present in traditional circuit board assembly projects.
According to a new piece by TechTarget, there are differences in how PCB projects are started because of the differences in traditional PCBs and PCBs that are developed for the IoT. Whereas traditional PCBs are flat and have a bigger surface area, newer PCBs for the IoT have a different circuit board assembly process and are made of flex circuit set ups.
A look at the IoT PCB layout:
When working on new PCBs for the IoT, it is important to find developers who have a lot of experience working with the different kind of circuit board assembly that is required for this new platform. Being well versed in both rigid-flex and flexible foundations. Developers who have worked on a number of IoT PCB designs know how to best use the small space they have to create a PCB that is just what you are looking for. Designing IoT PCBs is a bit different than designing traditional PCBs so you should not assume a person who has a lot of experience with the latter is going to be good at developing the former.
One difference to remember is that that most IoT devices are mobile. They have a lot of movement happening inside the device itself. That has a big impact on the way the PCB will interact with the different components of the unit. This is another reason it is so important for designers to have a lot of experience working with and on IoT PCBs. Rigid-flex assemblies are different than other kinds of assembly. This is something that developers need to understand.
Heat management is an important part of the IoT PCB assembly creation process. Circuitry that is made with the analogue process produce a lot more heat than those that are digital. This is important because more and more IoT devices are incorporating analogue PCBs. This can cause a lot of problems for IoT devices and needs to be considered.
The IoT PCB fabrication process:
When working with the IoT circuit board assembly process, some consideration needs to be given to who will be handling the IoT PCB fabrication and assembly process. Manufacturing IoT PCBs is a different process and requires a different skill set than making traditional PCBs. Because there are two kinds of assembly being used, care must be taken to get the right adhesive for the job at hand.
Another consideration that needs to be made is that the components are much smaller. Being experienced at working with incredibly tiny. This takes some practice and work to get used to dealing with this sized component. Everything from getting tools that are small enough to work in the space that is used for an IoT PCB to knowing how to use these tools must be considered. When you are working with IoT devices, it is a different world than when you are working with traditional electronics.
Consider the IoT circuit board assembly process.
The company that is selected to handle the assembly process for IoT PCBs needs to have a lot of experience building and making PCBs that are used in wearable devices. These already have the specialized tools and fixtures incorporated into them. The placement of components in IoT PCBs is a hard talk to complete properly. It needs to be done accurately and the printing needs to be carefully attended to as any errors can have catastrophic implications for the device into which the PCB will be placed. In fact, the printing process itself does pose different challenges. Most of the time, there is a rigid-flex assembly is used but the rigid section is a different thickness than the flexible section. These differences need to be considered when you are working on the printing process.
Companies need to find the right companies to manufacture their IoT PCBs. It is important for anyone looking to develop new PCBs for IoT devices to take the time to find manufacturers who have the requisite IoT experience.