eC-blog 2012 table of contents

We use our blog as a medium to provide useful information to the electronics engineering community. Most of our blog articles can be of interest for a long time after they are published, and we frequently got feedback from readers that they are not so easy to find back.

In the blog interface you have the possibilty to see the blogs organised in categories, you can see them organised according to tags attached to the blog article, or you can perform a search on keywords

A simple list of all articles, similar to a table of contents in a book can help to give you an idea what kind of information is available in our blog-posts. The following table shows the title of the blog, the publishing date, and the number of hits, to give you an idea of the popularity of the item.


Published Blog title Hits 29-11-2012
2012-01-03 Lean production project in Eurocircuits Kft – Eger – Hungary 1218
2012-01-04 Through hole component soldering with the eC-reflow mate 1660
2012-01-04 Elsyca Intellitool Matrix plating project 1702
2012-01-06 The strategy of Eurocircuits – 20 years of evolution 859
2012-01-09 new CadSoft EAGLE DRU files for EAGLE V6 1486
2012-01-17 Eurocircuits – healthy results for 2011 – and that”s not just the MD 1011
2012-01-25 Plating simulation – our new tool for PCB designers 7879
2012-01-31 Bow and Twist in printed circuits 2728
2012-02-06 Eurocircuits Sales figures 2011 1086
2012-02-06 eC-Workshop: Prototypen perfekt SMD-Bestücken (Germany) 2729
2012-02-08 New PCB services from Eurocircuits at Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2012 393
2012-02-13 Hand-soldering – point by point or mini-wave technique 1077
2012-02-16 Eurocircuits Then and Now 573
2012-02-17 Eurocircuits data preparation – Analysis 1531
2012-02-23 Eurocircuits data preparation – Single Image (part I) – drill data and copper image 1323
2012-03-01 Eurocircuits data preparation – Single Image (part II) – other layers and outputs 827
2012-02-26 Eurocircuits integrates EAGLE CAD software 1113
2012-02-29 Southern Manufacturing and Electronics Show 2012 a success 462
2012-03-06 eC-workshop – reflow soldering SMD PCB prototypes 792
2012-03-09 Which surface finish fits your design 936
2012-03-23 Het Instrument 2012 – AMSTERDAM RAI – September 25-28, 2012 1076
2012-04-11 Eurocircuits Data preparation – Make production panels 829
2012-04-06 Industrial engineer master class visits Eurocircuits Kft 706
2012-04-12 More PCB added value on Stand 131 at National Electronics Week 2012 on 18 – 19 April, NEC Hall 2, Birmingham 468
2012-04-12 eC-workshop report – reflow soldering SMD PCB prototypes- Belgium 22-03-2012 3867
2012-04-24 eC-solderstation, the next item in the eC-prototype-equipment range? 1421
2012-04-26 Large boards and pooling 4053
2012-05-03 National Electronics Week a success. 405
2012-05-04 Eyes on the future, feet on the ground – Technology seminar by ACB 712
2012-05-11 D&E event 2012 – 24th of May – Evoluon – NL 8246
2012-06-07 Visualize your PCB: fast and throughout the whole business process 1111
2012-06-14 Soldermask on via-holes in case of chemical Nickel-Gold surface finish 1341
2012-06-19 Front-end data preparation – new white paper 1057
2012-06-22 14th Annual D&E Event – Evoluon Eindhoven, The Netherlands – May 24, 2012 386
2012-07-05 Eurocircuits production data – what”s in it? 424
2012-06-28 Eurocircuits – Webinar following the D&E event in Holland. 395
2012-07-05 PCB Visualizer-release 1-beta 2305
2012-08-01 Eurocircuits – what about marketing? 484
2012-08-09 Eurocircuits serving the engineering community 497
2012-07-15 PCB Visualizer – your feedback 562
2012-08-17 Firmware – electronics design digital magazine 512
2012-08-27 Eurocircuits presenteert “PCB Visualizer” als Noviteit op HET Instrument 2012 403
2012-09-17 PCB Visualizer – functionality extended 2456
2012-10-31 PCB Visualizer very much appreciated – but you want more 229
2012-11-01 Gold plating for edge connectors 252
2012-11-07 Eurocircuits at Electronica 2012 from 13 till 16 November Hall A5-booth 314 496
2012-11-13 Order E500000 223
2012-11-27 PCB Visualizer – PCB Checker update 27-11-2012 60
2012-12-12 Open house in our production facility in Eger, Hungary new

When should you put up your Christmas tree?

Most people here in Belgium say you need to wait till December 6, because that is the feast day of Saint Nicholas “Santa Claus”.

In every family it is different. Therefore, no specific day or schedule is set for when to decorate your tree. Some people will choose to go with family tradition, others choose a random day where they have everyone together, while others decorate the tree on Christmas Eve.

This year you can start putting up your Christmas tree from December 7, as we start shipping the “Elektor” Christmas tree on St. Nicholas day. Make sure you order your tree well in advance as we will produce 100 trees only.

This years Elektor Christmas tree is available in 3 versions

More info is available in the December issue from Elektor or on the Elektor website,or watch the video on Youtube

All you need to know about PCB Visualizer

PCB Visualizer gives you complete control over the critical transfer of data from designer to fabricator. You leave nothing to chance. A brief on-screen check gives you 100% confidence that the board we are going to make is the board that you want – confidence and peace of mind so that you can concentrate on the next design without worrying about the last one.

Customers from right across the electronics industry tell us that PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker are already powerful tools to verify PCB data before placing an order. But there are always more features and more functionality they would like to make the software even more effective. So we have a dedicated team of software and electronics engineers who are constantly improving the tools and adding valuable features.

To keep you up to date with all the new functionality in PCB Visualizer we have now created a dedicated project website which has all the latest information as well as hints and tips on how to get the best out of the software.

PCB Visualizer – PCB Checker update 27-11-2012

Today we release an update for our PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker automatic analysis tools.

We have also doubled the processing capacity of our analysis software tool so that we can process more jobs in less time. Due to the rapid increase in the number of jobs we need to process in PCB Visualizer, the waiting times got too long to be comfortable.

From today you have the following added functions and features:

  • PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker are now available in English and in German
  • PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker can show the measured and the required values in both metric (mm) and imperial (mil). All measurements are done in metric, and we show the imperial values for information only. Both settings are available behind the “settings” icon in the top bar of PCB Visualizer ( see picture below)
  • We added a vertical and horizontal ruler to the detailed view window. When you zoom in and drag a part of the layout to one of these rulers, you can measure distances and sizes.
  • PCB Checker checks clearances, minimum track widths, and annular rings on outer and inner layers, as these are the most frequent data issues. Additional checks are now built in for drilled holes :
    • Smallest final hole size for the chosen service
    • Minimum hole to hole distance
    • Overlapping drill holes
    • Embedded drill holes ( drill hole completely inside another drill hole)

Order E500000

Ordernumber E500000 reached on 12/11/2012

Twelve years after the start of Eurocircuits in 2000, we received order number 500000. That”s a lot of orders we have processed online.

This is a good occasion to thank you all as loyal customers, and hope we can continue to serve you for a long time. We hope to come soon with the message that we reached order E1000000

Order number E500000 was placed by Page Electronics in Ieper, Belgium. Luc Page is one of our most loyal customers, working with Eurocircuits, and before that Europrint, ever since we started in 1991.

Luc can expect us Monday next week – this order we are going to deliver personally, and there will be more than just printed circuit boards in the box.

…. and the boards are delivered on Monday as expected, together with some bottles of Gouden Carolus, a famous beer from our local brewery in Mechelen ” Het Anker”. – Cheers Luc and Johan.

Eurocircuits at Electronica 2012 – 13-16 November Hall A5-booth 314

PCB CheckerPCB Checker shows design rule check results directly on your PCB before you order.

At Electronica 2012 Eurocircuits launch PCB Checker, the latest update to their highly praised PCB Visualizer PCB data verification software tool.

Watch the Evertiq interview on electronica with our managing director Dirk Stans

PCB Checker – the next level of PCB designer support.

PCB Checker takes PCB Visualizer’s pre-order design rule check (DRC) to the next level. It provides a graphic display of the DRC results directly on your PCB layout.

Using PCB Checker’s clear menus and displays you can immediately filter the errors and view each type, stepping through from worst first. Correct your design data to enhance the manufacturability of your PCBs and to make sure that they fit into our lowest cost pooling service. You save time, you save money, and you save a frustrating search.

PCB Checker and PCB Visualizer allow you to check your designs prior to placing your order, using automated tools otherwise only available in professional front-end engineering software. You can place your pre-checked order confident that the data-set is complete and correct to the order and that your design data matches the most cost-effective of our pooling services.

Production data.

As soon as our engineers have completed the tool data preparation (see front-end-data-preparation) they now put the finished data back into PCB Visualizer. You can see every detail of the production data as it will be used to make your PCB. If our engineers have found any issues you can see exactly what they have queried, ensuring clear and effective communication.

Try PCB Visualizer and PCB Checker here.

Gold plating for edge connectors

Gold Plating over Edge Connectors

Eurocircuits offer two types of gold finish: Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG) as a surface finish for the whole PCB, and hard plated gold over plated nickel for edge-connector fingers. Electroless gold gives excellent solderability, but the chemical deposition process means that it is too soft and too thin to withstand repeated abrasion. Electroplated gold is thicker and harder making it ideal for edge-connector contacts for PCBs which will be repeatedly plugged in and removed.


Technology

We plate the hard gold onto the PCBs after the soldermask process and before we apply the surface finish to the rest of the board. Hard-gold plating is compatible with all the other surface finishes we offer.

We first plate 3 – 6 microns of nickel onto the edge connector fingers and then on top of that 1 – 2 microns of hard gold. The plated gold is not 100% pure; it contains some cobalt to increase the wear-resistance of the surface.

We normally bevel the edge connectors to ensure easy insertion. Bevelling can be specified in the order details.

To make sure that the gold fingers align exactly with the edge-connector profile, we rout the vertical edges of the connector on the first drill run. The edges of the connector are then exactly aligned to the printed image.

In some cases one or more gold fingers are shorter than the rest, so that the longer pads connect first when the PCB inserted into the connector. This means that the shorter pads cannot be connected vertically to the plating bar. They have to make the connection needed for electroplating in another direction (see illustration. Here the blue lines represent the profile added at first drill stage and the green the final profiling).

After plating we check the adhesion of the plated nickel and gold with an industry-standard tape-test. We measure the thickness of the plated layers with a non-destructive X-ray measuring machine.

Limitations of the technology

  • The plated pads have to be on the edge of the PCB, as this is an electroplating process. There has to be an electrical connection between the plated pads and the production panel frame.
  • The maximum length of the plated pads is 40 mm as we use a standard shallow plating bath .
  • Inner layers have to be free of copper at the edge of PCB. Otherwise the bevelling could expose the copper.
  • If you want your PCBs delivered in a customer panel, the panel frame/border must be open on the edge connector side to allow us to make the connection for electroplating.
  • We can plate hard gold on two sides of PCB. But if the connectors are on the opposite sides of the PCB there has to be a minimum 150 mm between them.
  • To ensure optimum quality surface-finish, do not place any plated holes (PTH), SMD or other pads closer than 2.00 mm (80 mil) to the gold fingers – see drawing.