Eurocircuits Technical Update – new pick and place unit unveiled

eC-placer unveiled

Our new eC-placer is a camera-assisted manual pick and place unit. It offers fast set-up and precision placement at a price suited to prototype and small-series PCBs.

  • eC-stencil-mate provides a fast integrated solution for precise solder-paste printing.
  • eC-reflow-mate provides fully controlled reflow for optimum reliability.
  • eC-placer completes the process with cost-effective and accurate component placement.

We will show a fully-functional pre-production model at Electronics & Automation 2015: Utrecht, Netherlands 2 – 4 June 2015, hall 8 stand C025. Register for a free entry ticket here . Production deliveries will commence end September.

NAKED proto – your questions answered

Why do I have to use PCB Visualizer before I order?

Using PCB Visualizer cuts out data issues. That keeps NAKED pool prices down – and your deliveries on time. Use PCB Checker to catch DRC errors and Build Editor for unambiguous layer assignments, especially for single-sided boards.

Can I use 0.15 mm tracks?

Yes: we’ve updated the service spec. Live production has shown us that 0.15 mm tracks are safe. But minimum isolation must stay at 0.175 mm to avoid the risk of solder bridges during hot-air levelling.

Why is the surface finish leadfree hot-air levelling (HAL)?

Leadfree hot-air levelling is particularly well suited to hand-soldering prototypes and small batches. It is also our most popular finish.

SEMI-flex pool news

Our first major SEMI-FLEX project is ready to go. More than 2.000 SEMI-FLEX PCBs have been completed for the e-brace hand-shake recorder to be assembled live at the E&A Show in Holland. The wearable gadget is based on a SEMI-FLEX PCB with 3 rigid and 2 flexed areas.

eC-test-mate user report

One of the first users of eC-test-mate fixtureless tester reports:

  • Short learning curve
  • Fast set-up and test for prototype PCBs
  • Standardised testing for production batches

leading to faster prototyping and enhanced product reliability

For the full report, see our BLOG

Technical blogs

Some recent highlights, available in English, French. Spanish and Portuguese:

If you would like us to produce a blog or white paper on a particular aspect of PCB manufacturing technology, PCB soldering or EAGLE CAD, email us at euro@eurocircuits.com

Meet us

The best way to share ideas and knowledge is face to face. Come and meet us at:

Virtec – an eC-test-mate user reports

VIRTEC S.R.L., Hurlingham – Buenos Aires, Argentina, customer of eC-test-mate

VIRTEC S.R.L., located in Hurlingham, Argentina, is a committed user of the eC-test-mate. Its CTO, Mr Juan Andres Mondolo, chose the eC-test-mate (and its accompanying software eC-my-test) to cover all testing needs within the company. Already, Virtec has realized testing solutions for two products with the eC-test-mate, and more are coming up this year.

Virtec provides products for data collection in vehicles and transport applications as well as for environmental monitoring, e.g. for agricultural purposes. With over 300,000 systems sold, Virtec offers solutions for fleet monitoring and telemetry in several South American countries. In order to withstand harsh working conditions with high reliability, the products must be robust and the electronics must fulfill high requirements regarding durability and long term functionality.

Why choose eC-test-mate?

Virtec was one of the first companies to purchase an eC-test-mate, which was introduced at the Electronica 2014 trade fair in Munich. What were the main reasons for Virtec to choose the eC-test-mate?

As Mr Mondolo puts it: “We use the eC-my-test software for the development and execution of our product testing, and we ask our contract manufacturers to implement it as well, using our test scripts. This offers the possibility of a high level of production standardization and guaranteed quality at very low costs. Also, our trust in Eurocircuits as a supplier played a significant role” Virtec is an innovative company that releases six to eight new products every year. These include completely new products as well as variations of existing solutions.

“Flexible application is therefore a key requirement for any test equipment, and with the eC-test-mate we have found just that. We only have to incorporate a standard footprint in each PCB design, assign the 21 test points and write the test commands for every test pin. That is why we use the eC-test-mate in the development, as well as in the production phase of the PCB”.

Before eC-test-mate….

Mr Mondolo explains that the eC-test-mate means a breakthrough for Virtec’s test strategy:

“Using this functional automated test system enables the company to test its PCBs thoroughly and in a shorter time period than before. A complete test of one of our newest product with the eC-test-mate, including programming of the firmware, takes around six minutes and now our contractors are able to process proximally 1600 tested PCBs per month. Additionally, providing the contract manufacturer with a user friendly and ready-to-use test solution helps to ensure that every PCB is tested to our specific requirements.”

Standardization

As a result of this standardization of our testing process, it now becomes interesting to be able to store the test results. With eC-test-mate it is possible to store the results in a dedicated database via TCP connection. It also allows the programming of an ST microcontroller as part of the test process.

Virtec mainly uses the following eC-test-mate functions: Analog and digital in- and outputs, power supplies, UART, RS-485 and CAN. These functions are all included in either test head 1 or test head 2.

More possibilities in a very short learning period

According to Mr Mondolo, it took him only a few hours of ‘getting to know the program’ and working through a complete test development to master eC-my-test, and to be able to execute the first tests. The process was significantly easier than developing tests using standard programming languages such as C, C++ and Visual Basic.

“Overall the step from simple (manual) testing over connections and optical inspection to the implementation of the eC-test-mate was quite easy, and as we move forward we continue to see more advantages in working with the eC-test-mate system. We don’t need separate test fixtures or custom made beds of nails for our products, and we don’t have to purchase test software from yet another supplier. With one investment we now completely control the test development and test execution of all of our products and can therefore offer highly reliable and cost-effective solutions to our customers.”

Virtec SRL, www.virtec.com.ar

Eurocircuits NV, www.eurocircuits.com/test

TEST-OK BV, www.test-ok.nl

Eurocircuits supports innovation – Parcelhome smart letterbox

WORLD PREMIERE LAUNCHED IN BELGIUM:
SMART LETTERBOX THAT ENABLES HOME PACKAGE DELIVERIES WHEN YOU ARE OUT

Concerns about delivery and complex returns from home are key reasons for consumers to avoid online purchases. Now, parcelhome.com has developed an all-new way for Belgian parcel delivery services to solve both problems at once. With its smart letterbox, this start-up has developed a package delivery system at home that both couriers and consumers can open using a smartphone app.

Carriers DHL Parcel, GLS and DPD see an opportunity to improve their service to consumers. Both carriers and consumers lose when no one is home to receive a package. At present, 15% of packages cannot be delivered on the first attempt, and in some residential areas up to 50% of deliveries fail. This trial in the Mechelen area is the first project in which multiple carriers cooperate to improve home delivery rates. The smartbox is the result of 18 months of research and development and has is covered by multiple patents.

Luc van Bosstraeten, parcelhome.com’s GM for Benelux explains. “It is as simple to use as your letterbox, but it contains breakthrough technology. You can use the system to allow package carriers and even local shops – like your baker – to deliver their products at home. The only thing the baker needs is the Parcelhome app. The system is totally secure and works with dynamic codes comparable to the codes used in online banking. The built-in scale issues a receipt, and the system can receive multiple packages from different carriers. As soon as a package is placed in the ParcelHome unit, the addressee is notified.”

This means that customers know exactly when a package has arrived or been picked up and what each carrier has done. Thanks to the scale, it is easy to send and return packages and there is no need to go to the post office. The ParcelHome unit calculates the delivery fee and franks the package, a carrier then comes and picks it up.

The ParcelHome unit is large enough for 95% of packages. At the moment the trial is limited to the homes of 100 online shoppers in the Mechelen area who will be testing the units from May until July.
“It is high time for something like this,” says trial participant Gilles Van der Planken from Duffel. “My wife and I both work away from home. We order items online several times a month, from coffee capsules to nose spray to children’s toys. Having to drive somewhere to pick up a parcel is annoying. I hope that from now on ‘home delivery’ will mean that items are actually delivered to our home.”
It is not surprising that parcelhome.com kicks off in Belgium, because e-commerce has huge momentum in the country, and according to research by management consultancy AT Kearny Belgium is among the top ten growth markets. A number Belgian companies have contributed to the development of the smartbox including Quad Industries, Eurocircuits and Clear Channel Belgium. Eurocircuits also takes part in the trial.

But what really makes this project unique is the fact that several different carriers are co-operating for greater customer satisfaction. They clearly see that parcelhome.com is key to the future of e-commerce.

picture-1, picture-2, picture-3 Photo credit: parcelhome.com

NAKED proto

NAKED proto



We have introduced our NAKED proto PCB service to help design engineers who have told us that they need to modify their proof-of-concept PCBs “on the bench” by cutting tracks and soldering on wire-links. Soldermasks and silkscreens make this more difficult, so our NAKED proto service delivers 2-layer boards without mask or legend. Of course, if you need fully finished 2- and 4-layer prototypes, then continue to use our well-established PCB proto service.

NAKED proto brings other benefits:

Almost 50% lower costs:

NAKED PCBs are priced around 50% lower than fully-finished PCBs. As well as dropping masks and legends, the NAKED proto service restricts boards to 2 layers and the quantities available to 1, 2 or 5 pieces. This allows us to leverage the maximum benefit from order-pooling. Also, NAKED PCBs have to start from “known good” data. Before you place a NAKED proto order, you must run your data-set through PCB Visualizer. If PCB Visualizer raises any issues, fix them and upload the data again. As soon as PCB Visualizer confirms that the data is good, place your order.

1 day delivery:

By starting from known-good data and dropping the mask and legend printing and curing cycles, we can offer 1 day deliveries.  Upload your data and place your order before midnight CET and we will ship the next working day by overnight courier.  So if you order on Monday, we will ship on Tuesday and you will receive the boards on Wednesday in all parts of Europe where couriers provide a next working day service.  Otherwise order on 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 day deliveries.

The introduction of NAKED proto is part of our mission to provide professional PCB designers with the tools they need to develop their designs and bring them to market on time and on budget.  But, as a responsible European company, we also have a duty to encourage and develop new generations of PCB engineers..  We already sponsor student projects all over Europe (see our blogs).  We see NAKED proto as another part of this duty.  We can help tomorrow’s engineers, whether students or hobbyists, by providing affordable prototype PCBs for their personal projects.  Lower cost cannot mean lower quality: they need to debug their designs, not their fabricator’s PCBs.  NAKED proto gives students and hobbyists access to low-cost PCBs of proven quality on reliable deliveries from a leading European supplier, who can also support them with technical back-up from white-papers and blogs to online chat with PCB engineers.

NAKED Proto service parameters

Number of layers

1, 2

Quantities

1, 2, 5

Delivery terms

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 days

Maximum PCB dimension

580mm x 425mm and equal of customer panels

Minimum PCB dimension

5mm x 5mm  for boards – 50 mm x 50 mm for panels

Base material

FR-4, Td>=325°C, T260>=60’, T288>=10’,  CTEz=<3.5%, Tg>=150°C

Base material thickness

1.55mm

Base copper foil– outer layers

18µm/½oz

Surface finish

Any lead free

Min. track width/spacing

0.150mm / 0.175mm

Min. finished hole size

0.25mm

Minimum outer layer pad diameter = finished hole size + listed value

0.350mm – PTH – 0.250mm – NPTH

Minimum copper to board-edge clearance – outer layers

0.250mm (routed)

Slots and cut-outs

2.0, 1.2 and 0.5mm tool

Delivery panels

2.0mm break-routed or V-cut

Stencil material

100µm and 130µm

595 x 595 mm

The NAKED proto calculator only allows calculations with the values described in this article.

Explore all PCB Pooling services from Eurocircuits

NAKED proto

Fast proof-of-concept board, No soldermask and no silkscreen

PCB proto

1, 2 or 5 PCBs in 2, 3, 5 or 7 working days

STANDARD pool

FR-4 lead-free soldering compatible material up to 16 layers

BINDI pool

Medium volume boards from our new plant in India

RF pool

Isola I-TERA and Rogers 4000 series material

SEMI-FLEX pool

4 layer, 100 micron FR4 core with two specially treated copper layers

IMSpool

Single layer Insulated Metal Substrate PCBs (ALU)

NAKED proto (Spanish)

Lanzamos nuestro servicio NAKED Proto PCB para ayudar a los ingenieros que nos habian informado de que tenían de alterar y cortar directamente pistas y soldermask en el Pcb. El soldermask y la serigrafía hacen esto más difícil, y así nuestro servicio NAKED proto ofrece PCBS de 2 capas sin soldermask y la leyenda. Por supuesto, si usted necesita un PCB totalmente terminado de 02 o 04 capas entonces puede seguir utilizando nuestro servicio establecido,PCB proto.

NAKED proto trae otros beneficios:

  • Casi 50% de reducción en los precios

NAKED PCBs tienen un precio alrededor de 50% más bajos que los PCB totalmente terminados. Además de no tener soldermask y la serigrafia, el servicio proto Naked restringe el servicio a un máximo de 2 capas y las cantidades disponibles son 1, 2 o 5 Pcbs. Esto nos permite obtener un mayor beneficio del “order-pooling”. Además, NAKED Proto PCB tiene que empezar de datos “buenos” ya conocidos. Antes de hacer un pedido Naked proto debe revisar sus archivos a través de PCB Visualizer. Si PCB Visualizer plantea algún problema, debe corregir y cargar los datos de nuevo. Una vez que el visualizador PCB confirma que los datos son buenos, usted puede hacer su pedido.

  • Entrega en un dia:

Al iniciar la orden, sobre la base de datos conocidos y abandonando el soldermask y la serigrafia, podemos ofrecer entregas al día. Si carga sus datos y realiza su pedido antes de la medianoche enviamos su pedido al siguiente día hábil por correo urgente. De esta manera,si hace el pedido un lunes, enviaremos el martes y obtiene las placas el miércoles en todas partes de Europa, en la oficina de correos que preste un servicio en el siguiente día hábil. De lo contrario, siempre tiene la posibilidad de entregas en 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 o 7 días

.

La introducción del servicio NAKED proto hace parte de nuestra misión de proporcionar a nuestros diseñadores profesionales de PCB todas las herramientas que necesitan para desarrollar sus proyectos y lanzarlos al mercado a tiempo y dentro del presupuesto. Al ser una empresa europea responsable, también tenemos el deber de fomentar y desarrollar nuevas generaciones de ingenieros PCB .. Ya patrocinamos proyectos de estudiantes en toda Europa (mire nuestros blogs). Vemos el NAKED proto como otra parte de ese deber. Podemos ayudar a los ingenieros de mañana, siendo estudiantes o aficionados, proporcionando prototipos de PCB disponibles para sus proyectos personales. Menor coste puede no significar una menor calidad: Proto NAKED da a los estudiantes y aficionados PCB de calidad y de bajo coste con una entrega fiable de un proveedor líder en Europa, que también puede apoyarlos con el apoyo técnico en blogs y chat en línea con ingenieros de PCB

.

NAKED proto (French)

Nous avons introduit notre service NAKED Proto PCB pour aider les ingénieurs qui nous ont informés qu”ils devaient modifier les PCB en coupant directement les pistes. Le vernis d’épargne et la sérigraphie rendent ce processus difficile, et donc dans notre service NAKED nous proposons des pcbs de 2 couches sans vernis d’épargne et sans légende. Bien sûr, si vous avez besoin d”un PCB entièrement fini de 02 ou 04 couches vous  pouvez alors continuer à utiliser notre service bien établi, PCB Proto

Autres avantages du service NAKED proto:

  • réduction de près de 50% des prix

Le prix des PCB Naked sont environ 50% plus bas. Outre le fait de ne pas avoir de vernis d’épargne et sérigraphie, le service de proto Naked limite le service à un maximum de 2 couches et les quantités disponibles sont 1, 2 ou 5 pcbs. Cela nous permet de tirer le meilleur profit de commandes pour le « pooling ». En outre, PCB NAKED utilise des «bonnes» données déjà connues. Avant de placer un ordre proto NAKED les fichiers doivent être analysés via PCB Visualizer. Si PCB Visualizer détecte des problèmes, vous devez les corriger et télécharger à nouveau les données. Une fois que le PCB Visualizer confirme que les données sont bonnes, la commande peut etre valisé et rentrer en production.

  • Livraison en 1 jour:

Lorsque vous démarrez la commande à partir des données connues et sans vernis d’épargne et sérigraphie, nous pouvons offrir des livraisons le jour même. En s’appuyant sur vos coordonnées et si vous passez votre commande avant minuit votre commande peut être envoyée le jour ouvrable suivant par courrier express. Donc si vous commandez les pcbs lundi, elles seront expédiées le mardi et vous allez recevoir les circuits le mercredi dans toutes les parties de l”Europe, où le bureau de poste de fourni un service de livraison le prochain jour ouvrable. Sinon il existe toujours la possibilité de livrer en 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ou 7 jours.

L”introduction du service NAKED proto fait partie de notre mission de fournir à nos designers professionnels de PCB tous les outils dont ils ont besoin pour développer leurs projets et de les lancer sur le marché dans les délais et le budget prévus. Etant une entreprise européenne responsable, nous avons aussi le devoir d”encourager et de développer de nouvelles générations d”ingénieurs de PCB. Nous parrainons déjà des projets d”étudiants à travers l”Europe (voir nos blogs). Nous voyons le service Naked proto comme une autre facette de ce devoir. Nous pouvons aider les ingénieurs de demain, étant étudiants ou amateurs, en fournissant des prototypes de circuits imprimés disponibles pour leurs projets personnels. Un moindre coût ne peut pas signifier une qualité moindre. Proto NAKED permet aux étudiants et amateurs PCB un accès à la qualité à faible coût et une livraison fiable auprès d”un fournisseur européen de premier plan, qui peut également les soutenir avec un soutien technique a travers nos blogs et le chat en ligne avec des ingénieurs de PCB.

Eurocircuits maakt de E&A gadget print en lanceert hiermee: SEMI-FLEX pool

Eurocircuits maakt de E&A-gadget print en lanceert hiermee: SEMI-FLEX pool.

Sinds vele jaren zijn wij trouwe sponsor voor de printen van het gadget dat onze jaarlijkse elektronica-beurs in het Nederlandstalige gebied kleur moet geven. Nog snel een gadget, e-brace, reserveren? Doe het hier!

Deze beurseditie, E&A 2015, is voor ons bijzonder want de print van het gadget is dermate speciaal dat het voor Eurocircuits de start is van een nieuwe pooling service: SEMI-FLEX pool.

De print is een Rigid-Flex waarbij het flex gedeelte geen traditioneel polymide is maar standaard FR-4 met een speciaal bewerkte koperlaag. Dat definiëert de Flex als SEMI-FLEX. Het aantal buigingen en de radius zijn daardoor beperkt (typisch: 5 buigingen van 180° over een radius van 5mm) maar de functionaliteit biedt wel een geweldig alternatief indien men twee printen moet verbinden, aldanniet onder een hoek gemonteerd, en men wil connectoren vermijden. Dat kan verschillende redenen hebben: signaalintegriditeit, plaatsbeperking, kosten, enz…

Hoe ziet de buildup eruit?

In het midden zit een core FR-4 Isola PR370HR 100micron 35/35micron Cu. Dit is het SEMI-FLEX gedeelte met het speciaal behandeld koper waardoor dit zachter blijft, buigt en niet scheurt. Vanwege de mechanische eigenschappen kiezen we voor 35micron Cu wat de patroonklasse beperkt tot klasse 6.

Aan de buitenzijde zitten twee FR-4 cores 360micron dik en 18micron basis koper. Hiervan etsen we een laag weg, zodat we in het totaal over 4 lagen beschikken. (Voor de e-brace kozen we cores van 360micron dik. Voor de SEMI-FLEX pool service zullen deze cores 510micron dik zijn.)

Tussen de cores zitten 2 noflow prepreg lagen van 63micron dikte. Nog voor het persen, frezen we in deze prepregs het latere SEMI-FLEX gedeelte vrij. Noflow betekent dat deze prepregs minimaal uitvloeien tijdens het persen.

Na het persen frezen we diepte gecontroleerd door de buitenste cores waardoor het SEMI-FLEX gedeelte vrij komt te liggen.

Veel meer operaties noodzakelijk dan voor het maken van een 4-laags. Eigenlijk maken we hier een 6-laags reverse buildup waarvan we op voorhand laag 2 en 5 wegetsen. Het verwijderen van laag 2 en 5 maakt de registratie van de ander 4 lagen op elkaar voor het persen iets eenvoudiger.

D&D bestukt de e-brace protos, A1 de pre-serie en op de live line tijdens de beurs, bestukken de gadget partners de resterende hoeveelheid, telkens in een klantpaneel van 3 printen. Het paneeltje ziet er dan schematisch zo uit:

We staan met de e-brace aan de vooravond van een nieuwe service voor Eurocircuits. Wij hopen dat er onder onze klanten voldoende enthousiasme zal zijn om met deze nieuwe pooling mogelijkheden aan de slag te gaan.

Tot op E&A!

New from Eurocircuits at TEC Warsaw 21 May 2015: SEMI-FLEX pool and NAKED proto PCBs

Online DRC and DFM tools to help get your designs to market on time and on budget

At TEC Warsaw we will launch two new PCB prototype services:

SEMI-FLEX pool

SEMI-FLEX pool offers cost-effective 4 layer, flex-to-install PCBs. Instead of two PCBs joined by connectors or cables, design a single SEMI-FLEX PCB and bend the flexible section at installation. Eurocircuits” 4-layerSEMI-FLEX PCBs use a 100 micron FR4 core with two specially treated copper layers, designed for bending during assembly but not for dynamic flexing. You get lower product costs (no connectors, no cables, less assembly time, no expensive polyimides), faster assembly and increased product reliability. Samples and technical specs will be available on Eurocircuits stand #6 -7. The service will be available on the Eurocircuits website www.eurocircuits.com with full technical back-up from the beginning of May 2015.

NAKED proto

A new service aimed at engineers who want a fast proof-of-concept board that they can modify on the bench with wire-links or cut tracks. NAKED proto boards are supplied with no soldermask and no silkscreen on deliveries from 1 day and at almost half the cost of fully finished PCBs. Students and hobbyists can also benefit from the low prices and short deliveries from a reliable European supplier. Prices will be available at TEC – and on our website.

Online DRC and Design for Manufacturability tools – share our knowledge

Hard-pressed designers don’t have the time to understand every aspect of PCB fabrication that affects the cost and delivery of their PCB. Our online DRC and DFM tools give you practical access to our PCB knowledge from the very start of the design process. Smart menus validate your design parameters and guide you towards the most cost-effective choice. Our PCB Visualizer range of tools check your data before you place your order. That way you are sure that there are no data issues which will delay delivery. Our forthcoming PRE-CAM software will show you exactly how we will make your board, so that you can approve everything before we start production. Dirk Stans, Eurocircuits’ Sales Director, will present a seminar on how to use these tools to optimise your PCB design process and get your design to market on time and on budget. And he will be on Eurocircuits stand #6 – 7 all day to demonstrate the tools.

Forthcoming developments: eC-placer

For a long time our customers asked us for cost-effective precision assembly and test equipment suitable for prototype PCBs. In response, we developed the eC-stencil-mate solder-paste printer, the eC-reflow-mate reflow oven and the eC-test-mate for functional testing without expensive test-fixtures. In June we will fill a gap in the range with the launch of the eC-placer, a precision guided manual assembly table, using either camera or copy-paste technology for high-accuracy placement. Visit our stand for more on all our equipment.

Visit our stand #6 – 7 at the Conference. You will need to register as a visitor beforehand. You can do that here. Please mention Eurocircuits while registering.

For more information on any of the products email euro@eurocircuits.com.

Exhibition gadget “e-brace” – last chance to register!

Content

  • e-brace – last reservations possible only today
  • Eurocircuits participates in the seminar: Making PCBs virtually in the cloud!

e-brace – only a few remain, be quick to register!

Today the Federation of Technology branches in Holland, FHI, will announce that only a few last remaining gadgets can be reserved for exhibition visitors.

This mailing will go to thousands of visitors of previous exhibitions. With this communication, we want to give our Eurocircuits customers a pre-warning so that they can be in front of the queue and be successful in registering for one of the last remaining “e-braces”. This you can do via this link.

Eurocircuits participates in the seminar: what can be done virtually in the electronics production chain!

Make your PCB completely virtually in the Eurocircuits cloud!

The seminar takes place, Thursday 4th of June in the Marijke theatre. More details here.

Visit us using your free entry ticket, register via this link, and explore all novelties we will present during the show in Utrecht.

We hope to see many of you in Utrecht.

Kind regards,

Matthieu Samain