The more things change, the more they stay the same. Production facilities have certainly evolved over the past century, yet their primary objective remains unchanged: build quality products as efficiently as possible.
One of the most significant changes that’s transforming how we manufacture products is the role of machinery. Equipment has always dictated how the industry operates; however, along with personnel, machines today communicate with and operate other machines. This level of advanced industrial automation and robotics is driven by custom industrial PCBA development and electronics.
Custom PCBAs for Industrial Automation and Robotics
Building products as quickly and cost-effectively as possible requires that factories continually seek to improve their operations. For many companies, this means embracing and instituting new techniques such as Industrial IoT or leaner operational strategies. Nevertheless, a means of maximizing industrial automation is a key component of successfully improving manufacturing processes, which in and of itself often depends on robotics (robots and/or cobots).
At the heart of industrial automation and robotics are electronic systems comprised of industrial PCBAs, which are typically applied as listed below.
Applications of Industrial PCBAs
- 🔲 Facility operations
Factories are one of the greatest consumers of utility products like water and electricity. For the latter, electronics and industrial boards help supply, distribute, monitor, and control electrical energy usage for communications, lighting, and security systems.
- 🔲 Automated processes
Whether they’re hard, soft, programmable, or integrated, industrial processes are driven by embedded circuit boards. This includes IoT operations that rely on high frequency data communications.
- 🔲 Robotics
Industrial robots, including robot arms, pick and place systems, and even cobots that work with human operators, perform a wide range of applications that span virtually all product types.
As the list above shows, industrial PCBAs are utilized throughout production facilities. However, boards used in industrial automation and robotics systems may face significant environmental challenges. Customization is often necessary to satisfy such a wide range of different applications and specifications.
Optimizing Custom Industrial Automation and Robotics Boards
Depending on the specific product, a factory environment may be a clean room, have extreme temperature(s), or contain liquids and gasses that can damage circuit boards. Other challenges that industrial PCBAs commonly endure are shock and vibration. To best mitigate these issues and ensure that your boards meet their performance and reliability objectives, you should set and follow guidelines, such as those listed below, for the design⇒build⇒test (DBT) process.
PCBA Manufacturing for Extreme Environments - Part 2
Industrial Automation and Robotics PCBA Development Guidelines
Due to the hazards of industrial deployment, selecting high-quality components is important. Failures require repair and replacements cost time and money.
Select board materials based on thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties that are needed for operation in the installation environment.
To ensure the most efficient board builds and fastest turnaround times, work with your CM and optimize usage of their DFM rules.
Just as important (if not more so) is the incorporation of your CM’s DFA rules to minimize failure modes and maximize yield rates.
Testing is often necessary for industrial automation boards, especially when high voltages are involved and when arcing and/or high voltage tracking could occur.
In some cases, bendability or structural integrity may require verification.
|Tempo's Industry 4.0 Custom PCB Manufacturing Services
By following the guidelines above and working closely with your CM, your custom industrial automation and robotics boards should satisfy the requirements for operating in any installation facility. Partnering early in the development process with an experienced CM, like Tempo Automation who leads the industry in fast, high-quality PCBA prototyping, ensures that your boards will overcome your industrial environment’s unique challenges.
And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.
If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on CAD files or how to incorporate your design into a CAD format, contact us.