Category Archives: Resource Center

Get a Grip on Wearable/IoT PCB Terminology

Wearable/IoT PCB technology is ushering in new design terminology and steps that need to be factored in. Two particular areas that need to be understood deals with (1) low and high modulus boards and (2) flex circuit bending. Board modulus refers to its structure; low modulus means a softer structure, while high modulus refers to […]

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Micro BGA Gains Popularity for Wearable/IoT PCBs

With the increasing demands for wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, chipmakers are scrambling to yet pack even more circuitry into even smaller component packaging. The micro ball-grid array (BGA) package is a case in point. Fig. 1 shows micro BGA-packaged devices placed on a flex circuit for a medical electronics application. These tiny […]

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Advanced Packaging Reshaping PCB Landscape

Can you imagine component packaging so small you can barely see it. And if you accidentally sneeze while trying to see it, it’s literally blown away forever. You’ll never find it. Active and passive device packaging of those dimensions is what you’ll be dealing with as PCB technology continues to move forward into increasingly smaller […]

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SPI A Must For Fine-Pitch Devices

Solder paste deposition 100% accuracy is especially important for PCBs that are highly populated with fine-pitch devices like QFNs, BGAs, and tiny passive component packages like 0201 and 00105. Those packages have very little pad area. Therefore, registration must be precise and accurate. If you’re dealing with a 01005 pad and if registration is off […]

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Perfect Thermal Profile for Wearable/IoT PCB

Creating a perfect thermal profile for a wearable/IoT PCB undergoing the reflow process is a challenge. That challenge is based on the fact wearable flex PCBs are smaller, and they don’t have sufficient thermal mass compared to conventional rigid PCBs. Also, they have different thicknesses and when it comes to flex, even different thicknesses, where […]

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Fixtures and Special Tooling for Wearable and IoT PCBs

Fixtures and special tooling are used to further assure surface mount (SM pad) stability and preciseness on a wearable or Internet of Things (IoT) PCB during the pick and place operation. The figure below shows a comparison between fixtures for conventional and flexible PCBs. These assembly steps are especially important since some wearable or IoT […]

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To Be or Not To Be NSMD or SMD – that IS the Question

Two types of land patterns used for surface mount (SM) pads are non-solder mask defined or NSMD pads and solder mask defined or SMD pads. Fig. 1 shows the difference between the two. NSMD pads have the solder mask opening larger than the pads. On the other hands, SMD pads have the solder mask opening […]

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Smaller Packages for Wearable and IoT PCBs

With the wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) markets exploding, chipmakers are packing more electronics in smaller pieces of silicon to create such products as system on a chip or SoC integrating microprocessors and associated circuitry on a single silicon chip. Active devices like SoCs and passive devices are now produced in increasing smaller packaging […]

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Refresher on Signal Integrity and EMC

Signal integrity and electromagnetic compliance or EMC are inextricably intertwined, you might say. Those two factors are constantly at the forefront of a PCB design regardless whether it’s a conventional or smaller wearable PCB. The question often comes up – at what frequencies does signal integrity become an issue? Actually, the answer is simple. A […]

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Check Out Your FMEA

Since the 1950s, failure mode effects analysis or FMEA has been the cornerstone for medical electronics assurance of reliability. In short, the FMEA methodology meticulously analyzes component failures and specifically targets the resultant effects and consequences on system operations and reliability. FMEA is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures. Those failures can be […]

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