The world of electronic circuitry has come a long way.
From days of rudimentary circuits to those of PCBs or Printed Circuit Boards, the pace of development and change has certainly been enormous.
These developments in general and PCBs in particular, turn have helped to create the world of electronics that one can see today.
From handheld devices to large home appliances, PCBs have played a major role in their development over the years.
Of the many things manufacturers like to know about PCBs, one of the most important is selecting the right kind for the job.
It is first important to know the difference between single and double layer PCBs, as that helps in figuring out what to do.
Both single and double layered PCBs have a solid substrate layer, which is the foundation on which everything else is built. The real difference lies in what is on top of this substrate layer.
In the case of single-layer PCBs, the circuits are printed on one side of the board using a metal layer (typically made from etched or plated copper), while other components, such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc, and are present on the other. In addition to this, they also come with a protective solder mask, as well as a silk-screen for functionality and stability.
The design for double layer PCBs are pretty much the same, except for a few changes. For one thing, they contain several conducting layers rather than a single one like in single-layer PCBs. Another important difference is that while single-layer PCBs have their conducting metal layer on one side of the board, double-layered have the same on both sides.
When it comes to single-layer PCBs and double-layer ones, there are a few things to be considered.
Given in the list are some of the most important things to consider, when it comes to choosing these PCBs.
1.) Nature of the Circuit
This is by far one of the most important things to consider, when dealing with selecting a PCB.
Not all circuits are the same. On the contrary, each has their own unique design, function and purpose. This makes choosing the right one a rather tricky process.
One of the main considerations that are to be looked into has to do with the nature of the circuit. In general, circuits that require a simple layout can go with single-sided PCBs, while those that are complex can go for double-sided ones.
2.) Cost Factor
Another important difference between the two is the cost factor.
The construction of double-sided PCBs tends to be far more complex than that of single-sided ones. This makes the former more expensive than the latter.
In light of this, budgetary constraints can help to decide whether one has to go for single or double sided ones. It should be noted that picking a PCB based on the budget should also take into consideration the scope and requirements of the project as well.
3.) The Reputation of the Supplier
This is something that holds true for both single as well as double layered PCBs.
Regardless of the requirement you may have, the fact is that you’ll need someone reliable to do the job. Without this, you might just end up having trouble down the road, in more ways than you can imagine.
It is therefore important that you check the nature of the supplier, and verify their credentials. If necessary, make a visit to the factory as well, to see for yourself how the product is made. While many companies don’t allow for site visits, others do and you should take full advantage of this.
The above paragraph holds doubly true in the case of foreign suppliers, given that you’ll be getting it from a place you have no idea about. Should that be the case, you might want to go and check the place out for yourself, even if it means spending a tidy sum on flight tickets, visas and what not. If you have your entire business on the line, it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile, quite literally, to ensure that you have a good supplier.
4.) Aftercare Services
This point is related to the previous one, and at the same time something unique unto itself.
You’ll need to get a supplier who has the means to address any concerns you may have, once the purchase has been made.
It is because once your products have hit the market, you will be liable if something should go wrong. And if that happens to be an issue with the PCBs, you need to be in touch with the suppliers in order to correct any problems that may occur.
5.) Lead Time
This has nothing to do with the PCBs themselves, but rather the time it would take to manufacture them.
Even in the age of automation and mass production, the fact is that manufacturing anything will take time. It is not like the entire unit, or for that matter the lot, can be synthesized in a few moments.
It is here where the issue of lead time comes into the picture. It can be understood as the amount of time it would take to manufacture or produce something. In general, single-layer PCBs tend to have shorter lead times, due to their simplicity, while double-layered ones have longer lead times given their complexity.
While the lead time is an unavoidable part of the manufacturing process, it is not something that you should allow to take longer than necessary. It is always a good idea to find a supplier who takes the shortest lead time possible, without compromising on the quality of the final product.
6.) Timely Delivery
The world of business is something that works like clockwork, where there a constant moment of goods and services.
The system is such that even the smallest amount of disturbances can lead to unforeseen effects later on in the business cycle, should one not be careful about this.
In the case of PCBs, here is an example of how it could play out. Distributors often have contracts with manufacturers to have shipments ready by a certain date. This in turn, can only be fulfilled, if the products are manufactured on time. All of this has the potential to come to a standstill, if the supplier is unable to meet delivery deadlines on time, for whatever reason.
It is therefore necessary that one searches for a supplier who is capable of delivering at the given date and time, or for that matter even before, at least for the sake of keeping the supply lines rolling.
In all, the above list of requirements gives a good idea as to the differences that exist between the two kinds of PCBs.
Based on these factors and others like it, you should be able to pick out a suitable PCB that works for you, and helps you get the job done.