Order an eC-placer or eC-test-mate either combined in a single order with each other or with an eC-stencil-mate, an eC-reflow-mate, an eC-preheater or an eC-fume-cube and we will give a 10% discount on these and any other “Off-the-shelf” items that are checked out at the same time (as one order). Place your order online and the total price on a qualifying order will automatically reflect the discount.
The discount scheme will remain active from 1-12-2015 till 31-01-2016.
eC-Xmas tree for 2015 uses 20 RGB LEDs
It has become a Christmas tradition that Eurocircuits design a programmable tree to brighten up the darker days of the year end. For 2015 we have gone multi-colour. Create your own exclusive Christmas experience using the 20 RGB LEDs of the Eurocircuits eC-Xmas-tree and your imagination.
Assemble the tree – no soldering needed.
Download free animations from the Eurocircuits website, or create your own online using the simple animations editor.
Publish your best animations and invite family and friends to view and like them. We will show the animations that receive the most likes on our website for others to download onto their own eC-Xmas-trees and spread your Christmas cheer far and wide.
eC-placer is a camera-assisted manual pick and place machine designed and priced for assembling prototype and small batch PCBs. It forms the final link in Eurocircuits” prototype assembly solution, from the eC-stencil-mate solder-paste printer, through the eC-reflow-mate reflow soldering oven to the eC-test-mate fixtureless test system. Users already report that reflow soldering using the eC-stencil-mate printer and eC-reflow-mate oven is three times faster than hand soldering and 60% – 70% cheaper and faster than sub-contracting. The camera-assisted eC-placer gives a further boost to these savings, helping designers bring time/cost sensitive projects to market on schedule and on budget.
Set-up and operation are straightforward.
The eC-placer is built around a precision-engineered XY table. Its robust construction ensures long term accuracy and repeatability delivering an optimum return on investment.
Components are picked up from the feeders and placed on the solder-pasted PCB using a vacuum head controlled by a simple foot-switch. eC-placer comes with four quick-change nozzles for different sized components as well as 23 adjustable feeders for component tapes and sticks. As the machine is ESD-safe, larger components can be placed in boxes on the bed of the machine. The vacuum pump is built-into the machine.
The operator has a clear view of the component, the feeder and the location on the PCB via the high-definition camera linked to a USB-port on his PC. As there may be differences in height between the component in the feeder and the top surface of the PCB, the camera system includes parallax compensation to ensure fast and accurate placement.
The eC-placer work table has a matrix of registration holes on a 10 mm pitch. This is the same pitch as the eC-registration system so that PCBs can be securely located on the bed with the registration pins provided. The X- and Y-axis sliders move between programmable stops which can be set using a second foot-switch.
eC-placer has four functional modes to give the best combination of speed and accuracy across the range of components. The modes are selected using an LED switch.
Free mode. The vacuum head, camera and LED light can move freely to any location on the PCB.
Lock mode. Locks the head at the desired location to avoid accidental movement when lowering or rotating the component.
Array mode. Used for fast, accurate placing of a row of components. The user sets the X-axis stop on the row of components. He then needs to concentrate only on the Y-axis to populate the array.
Copy-paste mode. Used for BGAs and other larger components which are difficult to place by eye. The copy-paste mode uses the printer stencil as a template. BGAs, FPGAs and similar components centre automatically in the stencil openings. The axes are then locked so that the user needs only a single movement to place the component accurately over the correct location on the PCB.
eC-placer”s combination of a clear display, robust ergonomic construction with a solid hand rest on the placement head, and guided location for component arrays and complex components makes for increased productivity and less operator fatigue, getting prototypes assembled faster and safer.
The second tool is the Outline Editor in PCB Configurator. Repair the board outline (profile) on screen when
Profile data is missing, incomplete, or incorrect
PCB Visualizer finds two valid outlines
To use the Outline Editor, upload your data into your Shopping basket, allow 3 -4 minutes for PCB Visualizer to run its analysis and then check the PCB Visualizer column. If you find a blue warning or a red flag open PCB Visualizer. Any outline issues will be shown in the Remarks pane of PCB Configurator.
More PCB Solver repair tools will be released during the coming months.
Soldering fumes are unpleasant and can be hazardous to health. Best practice requires a good fume extraction system.
We tested a number of third party systems for efficiency, quiet operation, and value for money. The Fume-cube from Purex came out best in the trials and for more than a year we have used it with all in-house soldering operations. It is now available to our users as the eC-fume-cube.
Why install eC-fume-cube?.
Healthier, more comfortable and more productive working environment
Compliance with local and national Health and Safety regulations
Internal filtration system needs no ducting to outside air
Fully mobile. eC-fume cube can be can be stood next to the soldering process and is readily moved when needed
Stainless steel construction ensures long machine life despite corrosive fumes
The eC-fume-cube is suitable for both hand-soldering and machine soldering.
For hand soldering, add the eC-arm-kit. This includes a 38 mm stainless steel flexible arm to bring extraction to the point of soldering.
For machine soldering with the eC-reflow-mate oven V3 add the eC-reflow-mate-hood. This clips onto the oven and ducts away soldering fumes when the oven door opens after reflow.
Sponsoring student projects
Eurocircuits is an active sponsor of student projects across Europe. We have provided PCBs for projects as diverse as rocketry, robotics and Formula Student race cars. If you would like your student project to be considered for sponsorship, please contact Eurocircuits at email@example.com.
The Outline Editor, the second tool in the PCB Solver range, was launched in November 2015. In December 2015 it has been updated to handle internal slots and cutouts as well as board outline (profiles). It has been renamed the Outline/Milling Editor. The updated version has the same powerful functionality as Version 1 with some new go-faster features for outline editing.
PCB Solver gives you the tools to fix common data issues before you place your order. You avoid delays to your delivery and can often reduce board costs. More tools will be released during 2016.
Use the Outline/Milling Editor to correct the board outline where the outline (profile) data is missing, incomplete, incorrect or duplicated (two outlines found). When this happens PCB Visualizer gives you a clear warning. In most cases you can fix the outline directly on screen, avoiding the disruption and delays involved if you have to go back to the CAD system.
Use the Outline/Milling Editor for internal slots and cutouts to
check slot and cutout data in a mechanical layer is correct and repair it if not
clearly identify slots and cutouts if they are not defined in a mechanical layer
Note: PCB Visualizer is an automatic pre-production Gerber and drill data analyzer. Gerber is a pure vector format, so unless attributes are used, PCB Visualizer cannot recognize slots and cutouts. For advice on defining slots and cutouts, see here.
There’s a full description with the latest features here.
PCB Solver is the third component in the PCB Visualizer user interface. PCB Visualizer itself is the core of our pre-order data verification process. As soon as you upload your data into your Shopping basket, PCB Visualizer generates a detailed analysis of the PCB dataset and compares it to the specifications of the proposed order and of the chosen PCB service. PCB Configurator then provides a detailed report of the board status. PCB Checker pinpoints any DRC or DFM issues found in the data. PCB Solver provides the tools to fix them, either automatically or interactively.
The Outline & Milling Editor and the automatic repair of annular rings running in PCB Checker are the first two of a series of repair tools planned to fix the data issues which our customers have told us frustrate them the most.
PCB Visualizer’s pre-order data verification is a key part of our optimized PCB design workflow. By spending a few minutes checking the board data prior to ordering you avoid delivery delays of 24 hours or more while our engineers come back with questions (“exceptions”). In many cases you can also cut the board costs. That way you can order confident that you will get the right board, on the right day, at the right price.
PCB Solver has been made possible by a major change in PCB Visualizer’s core structure. This is now vector-based rather than image-based. It is structured around real objects (pads, tracks, drills …). This allows us to extend to users the benefits of procedures already field-proven in our front-end data-preparation process. It has the added benefit of smaller internal data-sets and so faster processing.
Auto-repair in PCB Visualizer – more robust PCBs faster
Why use PCB Visualizer?
Before you order we recommend that you upload your data-set and allow a few minutes for PCB Visualizer to analyse your data and report back any issues (missing files, data not matching the design-rule specifications of your chosen service, etc.).
That way you can resolve any issues before you order, and place your order confident that it will proceed without delays.
New Auto-repair function
Today PCB Visualizer contains the first of our planned Auto-repair functions. These will fix common design-rule issues automatically, delivering a more robust end-product without the need for designer intervention.
Long-term reliability requires a minimum ring of copper around each plated hole, the annular ring. The new Auto-repair function analyses the annular rings, flags the errors, and repairs via hole violations, where possible, by reducing the size of the via hole. The parameters of the process are fully controlled by the user. The results are displayed under the PCB Checker tab for the designer to evaluate.
More robust PCB.
No designer time lost.
See BLOG for a detailed description how Auto-repair can work for you.
Get more out of our online tools – new User Guides
PCB Checker, the first User Guide for our design-optimisation, data-checking and order preparation tools is now available online here.
This step by step guide includes a detailed description of the annular ring Auto-repair function.
All new User Guides will be available online, but if you would like to receive an email with a link to each as it is released, opt in for the mailing here.
Your questions answered – new FAQ section
Online support is an essential part of an online PCB service. We have analysed many hundreds of user questions as the basis of the new FAQ section on our home page. Support must be dynamic and we will be updating the FAQ regularly.
EAGLE CAD – discounted upgrades still available
Discounted upgrades from EAGLE V. 5 & V.6 to version 7.4 are still available. Calculate the cost for your upgrade here or see the details in our BLOG.
LED event: Den Bosch Netherlands; 3 December 2015.
https://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/blog/eurocircuits-technical-update-new-auto-repair-functionality-more-online-support/oct-5.jpg344600eC Adminhttp://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/eurocircuits.pngeC Admin2015-10-07 07:56:412018-05-14 17:00:55Eurocircuits Technical Update New Auto-repair functionality more online support
The price of gold has risen by nearly 250% over the past few years. So accurate costing is essential both for our customers and ourselves.
We have made some changes in the way we calculate chemical nickel-gold (Che Ni/Au) prices. Previously we had 2 options:
Che Ni/Au selective: the nickel/gold surface finish was applied only to the copper exposed by the soldermask.
Che Ni/Au overall: this covered 2 situations: cases where the customer required nickel-gold over the whole board but under the soldermask; and cases where there was no soldermask on one or both sides.
Now we offer a choice of 3 options:
Che Ni/Au selective
Che Ni/Au sel. – large area
Che Ni/Au before soldermask
Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. – large area
For Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. – large area the nickel/gold surface finish is applied only to the copper exposed by the soldermask. If the exposed copper covers less than 40% of the board surface choose Che Ni/Au selective; if it covers more, choose Che Ni/Au sel. – large area. The percentage of exposed (or “free”) copper is calculated in real time and shown in the DFM section of PCB Checker.
Both Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. – large area are pooling options.
How to use the new options when specifying Che Ni/Au surface finish?
Select Che Ni/Au selective in the price calculator menu.
To get the final PCB price, upload your data to allow PCB Visualizer to calculate the free copper area.
Open PCB Visualizer in your Shopping basket.
For most PCBs the free copper will be less than 40% of the board area, so Che Ni/Au selective will be correct. When you open the Shopping basket, there will be a green tick in the PCB Visualizer column (assuming that there are no other issues).
If the free copper is more than 40% of the board area on the top or bottom layer (typically where there is no soldermask on top and/or bottom layers), there will be a red flag in the PCB Visualizer column. Click the item to open PCB Configurator/PCB Checker. A Remarks message will advise you to change to Che Ni/Au sel. – large area. The PCB price will rise slightly. Click the “PCB Checker” and “DFM information” tabs to see the exact values.
If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. – large area and the free copper percentage is less than 40% of the board area, a message will advise you to switch to Che Ni/Au selective. TIP
If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. – large area when calculating the price and the free copper area is less than 40%, PCB Visualizer will show a green tick (as the job is producible). If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. – large area in the pricing menu always click the item in the basket and check for the warning message.
The new price for boards with Che Ni/Au surface finish and no soldermask on top or bottom layers is significantly lower than the present Che Ni/Au overall price.
Che Ni/Au before soldermask
This is now a separate option. As it is rarely specified and requires a special process route, it cannot be pooled. It is now a non-poolable option. In case you have chosen it by mistake you will receive a warning message.
https://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/blog/new-options-for-chemical-nickel-gold-surface-finis/Image3.png5091000Dirk Stanshttp://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/eurocircuits.pngDirk Stans2015-10-06 11:55:452018-05-14 16:20:59New options for Chemical Nickel-Gold surface finish
We launched PCB Visualizer in 2012 so that users could view their data on screen, check that it showed the exact PCB they wanted and make sure that there were no data issues which might delay delivery.
The result was a big fall in the delays due to data issues (“exceptions”) raised by our engineers during data preparation. And the delays have fallen further thanks to the Pre-Production Approval procedure introduced in April 2015. Now you need make only 1 mouse-click to get your job into production.
But what happens if you are away for a day or two? Your delivery is delayed.
Better sort the issues before you place your order.
That’s where PCB Visualizer comes in. Get a price and upload your data into your Shopping basket. Then wait 2 – 3 minutes for PCB Visualizer to analyse your data-set and identify any issues which may delay production (missing files, design-rule parameters that don’t match your chosen service, ….). Check the PCB Visualizer column on the Shopping basket page. If there is a green tick, there are no data issues. Place your order confident there should be no delays.
If there is a red flag, there are critical issues which may delay delivery.
The new Auto-repair tools will help you deal with red-flag issues with minimum time lost.
Automatic repair functions in PCB Visualizer.
From July 2015 PCB Visualizer includes automatic repair functions.
Auto-repair function #1 – annular rings on via holes.
The first automated repair function is now available to use. It repairs annular rings (outer and inner) on via holes where the copper ring remaining after drilling is below the minimum value for the chosen service. The repair function automatically reduces the via hole size, for example from 0.50 mm to 0.25 mm, so that the copper ring around the drill tool meets the service specification.
Although the repair function is automatic, the user retains full control of the operational parameters. He can:
Define which holes are vias. Important as some component leads need very fine (0.40 mm) finished hole sizes
Set the smallest finished hole size allowed. For example, to keep within the parameters of the lowest cost pooling service
To see in detail how the new Auto-repair can help you, go to our new PCB Checker User Guide. This is the first in a series of User Guides to our design-optimisation, data-checking and order preparation tools which will be released over the next 2 – 3 months.
All new User Guides will be available online, but if you would like to receive an email with a link to each as it is released, opt in for the mailing here
We plan more Auto-repair functions to help you get lower cost and more robust PCBs with no delays to delivery.
Meanwhile a couple of tips to solve data issues fast:
Smart menus can provide fast 1-click solutions to data issues. In the example pictured just click the “Measured” radio button to change the PCB classification and clear the flag.
Yellow-triangle (non-critical) minor issues will usually be resolved by our data preparation engineers. So they can be safely left open.
https://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/blog/new-auto-repair-function-in-pcb-visualizer/auto-repair.jpg302900Dirk Stanshttp://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/eurocircuits.pngDirk Stans2015-10-05 12:13:052018-05-14 16:26:55New Auto-repair function in PCB Visualizer
New home page – better access to information and services – faster quotations
We are constantly striving to make our website more informative and easier to navigate with more powerful functionality
We have already streamlined the pricing and ordering procedures with built-in design-optimisation and data-checking tools to help you design lower-cost PCBs and avoid delivery delays due to data issues.
Need medium-volume 4 layer multilayers up to 25m2? With Eurocircuits assured quality? At lower cost? On a 15 working day delivery? Go to our extended BINDI pool service. See here for full specifications.
UL marking can be added to all boards at no extra cost.
EAGLE CAD – new software, new licences, new upgrade options, new user guides
7.4 released 1 September 2015. See our BLOG for new features and special pricings.
New rental licences: EAGLE Make Pro and EAGLE Make Personal – flexibility and functionality for start-up designers. See BLOG.
Discounted upgrades from EAGLE V. 5 & V.6. Calculate the cost for your upgrade here.
EAGLE CAD – new User Guides
We have published the first 2 in a planned series of User Guides for new and advanced EAGLE users:
Over the next 2 – 3 months we will release a series of User Guides for our design-optimisation, data-checking and order preparation tools. Each will include a step by step guide and a short video showing how to the get the best out of the tool. Watch out for an introductory email in the next 3 -4 weeks with a link to the first User Guide and an opt-in option so you receive an email link to each new Guide as it is released.
Open all summer
“Project deadlines don’t take a summer break; neither do we.” During the July – August holiday season we processed more than 14,500 orders for some 4,250 customers, up 20% on 2014
LED event: Den Bosch Netherlands; 3 December 2015.
https://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/blog/Eurocircuits-Technical-Update-new-home-page-new-service-EAGLE-upgrades/newsite.jpg344600eC Adminhttp://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/eurocircuits.pngeC Admin2015-09-02 09:07:052019-12-11 11:14:22Eurocircuits Technical Update – new home page, new service, EAGLE upgrades
We have always run 100% pre-production checks on customer data. That way we can be sure you will get the board you want on the day you want it.
In the past if there were data or order issues (“exceptions”) we reported them back to the customer. He made the necessary corrections and where necessary re-submitted the data. This could delay deliveries.
Our online check software, PCB Visualizer, has significantly reduced the number of exceptions but in April we introduced a new way to handle the remaining data or order issues.
Now our engineers use their know-how to make the most logical correction to the order or the data. The production-ready job goes into the customer’s pre-production approval (PPA) folder. He gets our email and needs only 1 click to send the job on for manufacture. Nearly 90% of jobs are authorised right away and go straight into production. No delays – and the customer doesn’t have to spend time making the corrections – a win-win result: the right board on the right day with minimum disruption to the designer.
Equipment upgrades: faster, healthier, more reliable soldering
In November 2010 we launched the eC-stencil-mate printer and eC-reflow-mate reflow oven.
Our customers had told us that they needed high-quality reflow for their SMDs, but couldn’t find acceptable equipment at a price suited to prototype assembly.
To date we have shipped more than 850 units.
New products deliver an integrated reflow solution
Faster and more reliable soldering.
New accessories include the eC-PCB-holder to load several small PCBs for a single reflow run
Users report that our prototype-specific consumables (solder-paste, stencil wipes etc.) ensure faster and more reliable soldering.
Healthier soldering. For users who don’t have existing fume extraction we now offer.
eC-reflow-mate hood. Clips onto the eC-reflow-mate oven V3 and ducts away soldering fumes when the oven door opens after reflow. Use it with your own extractor or the eC-fumecube. More.
eC-fumecube. We have selected a compact, high specification third-party fume extraction system that is quick and easy to install and quiet in operation. Add the eC-armkit to use the same unit when hand-soldering.
Safer and more reliable hand-soldering.
eC-pre-heater. Quickly increases the temperature of your PCB to allow a smoother and easier hand soldering/de-soldering of critical components without damaging the components or the PCB. Full specification.
For more information, see the Soldering update BLOG.
Open all summer
Project deadlines don’t take a summer break; neither do we. All Eurocircuits services are available throughout the summer. More
First half results
More records broken. In the first half of 2015 we delivered over 47,000 orders to more than 7500 customers, up 19% on the same period last year. Thank you to all our customers who have trusted us with their orders for prototype and small batch PCBs.
Some recent highlights, available in English, French. Spanish and Portuguese:
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
https://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/blog/Eurocircuits-Technical-Update-new-pick-and-place-unit-unveiled/mailheader-techupdate.jpg277600eC Adminhttp://www.eurocircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/eurocircuits.pngeC Admin2015-05-27 12:09:172018-05-14 17:00:55Eurocircuits Technical Update – new pick and place unit unveiled