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Importance of PCB Documentation for Efficient Design and Manufacturing

Importance of PCB Documentation for Efficient Design and Manufacturing

Mar 15,2016

PCB manufacturing and assembly service providers have a great responsibility of turning someone’s idea it into a reality. Different phases of the PCB designing and manufacturing process require different files and information. Thus, PCB documentation helps in conveying to the manufacturer that exactly what is desired by the client. And, having the necessary information prepared in advance can accelerate the overall turnaround-time. Not only this allows you to get easier and faster, accurate quotes, but also ensures error free PCB design and manufacturing.

Critical Documentation Items for PCB Designing

There are certain PCB documents that are critical for efficiently designing and producing a printed circuit board. These include:

  • Circuit Diagram: Without a circuit diagram, it is extremely difficult to work on a PCB. Even modification or repair of the PCB becomes hard to achieve. Hence, it is crucial to have a detailed circuit diagram before initiating any project.
  • PCB Overlay: The PCB overlay diagram depicts the tracks and components on the board in different color codes. The overlay diagram helps the PCB manufacturer understand how all components fit together.
  • Bill-Of-Materials (BOM): The BOM is a list that describes the parts required to make the board. Usually, there are some basic notes associated with the BOM, for example "R1: do not fit this part". Such notes are also crucial for the manufacturer to know whether to install a certain part or not.
  • Gerber Files: The Gerbers are used to create the etched base laminate of the PCB. The PCB manufacturer can't make new PCBs without these. The Gerber files can be generated from the original CAD files. Also, you can remake the Gerbers from the original PCBs. But, this is a very difficult job, and only experienced manufacturers can assist you with this service.

There is other information that is required for a PCB design, such as the size of the PCB and mounting holes. But the four elements mentioned above are the most critical ones.

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