Choosing the Right Military PCB Manufacturer and Planning for Production
Designers will always have to contend with important design, performance, and manufacturability standards, but these requirements are more stringent when working with military-grade electronic systems. When you work with design software that is built on top of a rules-driven design engine, meeting these important standards becomes much easier. You’ll have the power to prepare required documentation and deliverables for your manufacturer, and you’ll have full control over all aspects of your design and supply chain.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A unified PCB design package with a full suite of design and production planning tools in a single interface.
Designers already have plenty to consider when creating Printed Circuit Boards for electronic products. Signal integrity, designing for required functionality, placement of components, and many other aspects all have industry and application-specific standards associated with them. Your design software has a major role to play in helping you meet these standards.
Aside from the design and performance standards on military PCBs, electronics design engineers need to consider the manufacturability of their boards. Working in any regulated environment also carries documentation requirements, and documentation for military PCB manufacturers must be prepared in the right format to ensure your design intent is communicated properly.
Manufacturers themselves must meet important quality requirements for products they produce, and these standards determine the capabilities military PCB manufacturers must maintain in order to remain compliant. Designers need to balance meeting manufacturing requirements (for example, ISO 9001 and AS9100) with performance and manufacturability requirements during the design phase. The last thing a designer needs is to have their board sent back for a redesign. Even worse, failing to meet these important standards might cause your board to fail in-field testing, causing your product to be rejected.
Military Electronics Capability Requirements
PCBs in electronic systems for the military will see extended periods of use in harsh environments. They tend to carry higher electrical loads, a mix of capabilities, and greater thermal stress than Circuit Boards in consumer or industrial electronics. Any military PCB assembly and finished products will need to undergo rigorous testing procedures in order to assess reliability and quality.
- Power integrity is just one area where PCBs must be designed to meet mission-critical performance requirements.
- Given the intense demands on PCBs in military systems, you may want to consider using an alternative substrate material like a ceramic.Learn more about the benefits of alternative substrate materials.
- Military electronics often take odd form factor in order to meet usability requirements during critical missions.Check out these design tips for odd-shaped PCBs.
Native 3D placement of components in Altium Designer
One important aspect encoded in military standards isdesign for manufacturing requirements. These are part of overall quality standards that are designed to prevent cost overruns, improve yields, and ensure the performance of produced boards meets design intent.
Aside from design for manufacturing requirements, the MIL-PRF-31032 set of standards is by far the most stringent placed on PCBs. Materials, layout, manufacturing, and many other aspects of PCB design are regulated under these standards. MIL-PRF-31032 goes beyond the IPC 6012 3A standards, particularly when assessing PCB manufacturer capabilities.
How Military PCB Components Standards Affect Design
With the list of strict standards placed on military and aerospace PCBs, you should always check that your prospective PCB manufacturer has the relevant MIL-PRF-31032 and IPC 6012 certifications. Manufacturers without the required MIL-PRF-31032 certification might never see their boards deployed in the field. Preparing the right set of documentation for your PCB fabricator helps ensure all aspects of your design are properly communicated, helping you stay compliant with design for manufacturing and performance requirements.
- Design for manufacturing practices help ensure accurate PCB fabrication, PCB assembly, and on-time delivery of your finished boards.
- With flex and rigid-flex PCB design becoming more popular, these boards inevitably make their way into military systems.
- Just like manufacturers of consumer electronics, military PCB manufacturers need a bill of materials for your board in a complete, consistent format.Learn more about preparing bills of materials for military PCB manufacturers.
Preparing your bill of materials in Altium Designer
Working with the right design software allows you to quickly take your design data and generate consistent documentation within a single program. Other design platforms force you to use separate programs with inconsistent features and an ad-hoc workflow. With Altium Designer, your design tools are unified in a single design environment, and all your tools can access your design data within an integrated design environment.
Altium Designer: The Only Unified PCB Design Package
Integrated design features are engineered to access your design data within a single program. The rules-driven design engine in Altium Designer allows all your features to be accessed within a single program. This underlying design engine also allows you to specify design standards as design rules. Your design features will check your layout against your design rules as you work, helping you avoid mistakes and stay compliant with military PCB performance standards.
- Altium Designer’s unified environment sets the standard for PCB design and production planning. No other design package offers this level of adaptability.Learn more about the unified design environment in Altium Designer.
- The rules-driven design engine in Altium Designer allows you to adapt many aspects of the software to military PCB design, helping you stay compliant with mission-critical design standards.Learn more about customizing Altium Designer for military PCB design.
- Altium Designer has set the new standard for PCB design in the military and aerospace industries.Learn more about Altium Designer’s solutions for military and aerospace.
Other PCB design platforms simply can’t match up to the integrated environment in Altium Designer. If the integrated design is new to you, Altium will be there with the resources you need to design successfully. You’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, webinars and podcasts with industry experts, feature tutorials, and extensive knowledge base. No other PCB design software company offers this level of support.
With Altium Designer, your important layout, sourcing, analysis, and production planning tools are accessible within a single program. Your military PCB manufacturer will have the information they need to properly produce your design, ensuring your board can meet important performance standards on mission-critical systems. It’s time to invest in the best circuit board design software on the market: make the switch to Altium Designer.