PCB Manufacturers for Military Applications
If you ever want your PCB to be more than just an arrangement of components on a computer screen, you’ll need to create a comprehensive manufacturing plan. You’ll to compile all your design information into assembly, drilling, Gerber, and bill of materials deliverables. You’ll also need to supply complete sourcing information, panelized layouts, and CAD drawings of your PCB. Instead of relying on separate software programs to design your PCB and generate individual deliverables, you need an integrated software platform that includes all the deliverable generation tools demanded by industry.
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A fully-integrated PCB design suite that guides you from design to fabrication.
Modern PCBs require designing to specific standards for your particular industry. Manufacturers must also meet these standards and adopt their manufacturing processes accordingly. PCBs for military applications have their own set of design and manufacturing standards that must be met in order to ensure reliability. This is one area where lives are literally on the line, and your PCBs must be responsive and reliable.
Designing PCBs for military systems takes design software can allows you to specify the appropriate design standards directly as part of your design tools. Working in a rules-driven design environment is the only way to incorporate design standards for your industry as universal design rules in your PCB design software. You’ll be able to design with confidence knowing that you are meeting critical reliability and manufacturing standards.
While all PCBs must be rugged and perform in a range of conditions, PCBs designed for military systems should go above and beyond the rigors of any civilian application. Military systems with PCBs will see longer periods of use, extreme temperatures or climates, higher electrical demand, and mechanical stresses that would ruin other other systems. Your PCB design software needs to give you the ability to satisfy these unique operating demands.
Electronic equipment for the military must also be designed and manufactured to exacting specifications. You’ll need to follow MIL-PRF, ISO, or IPC standards, or you’ll need to incorporate some mix of all three of these standards in your design. If you’re a manufacturer, these standards are critical to ensuring finished products can meet military design and reliability standards.
Complying with Standards in the Best PCB Design Software
So how can you design your PCBs to meet these critical standards and ensure reliability? Your design software can play a critical role in ensuring reliability. Most design software platforms require you to enter design standards on traces, vias, landing pads, and other elements every time you place them. You’ll have to check every aspect of your layout manually, putting you at risk of errors or omissions.
In complex boards, no one can keep track of every single design element. This is where your design rules and features become critical. Using a PCB design software package that uses a single, universal rules-based design engine allows you to define design standards as constraints within your design software. Your design tools automatically check every design decision against your design rules. Only Altium Designer creates this type of design environment within a single program.
- Defining design rules in your PCB design software is the best way to ensure your design meets important functional requirements and industry standards.Learn more about working with design rules in your PCB design software.
- Military applications often require specialized components and architecture that meet specific design standards. Your design software should ensure that your components are compliant with relevant design standards.Learn more about working with IPC standards and compliant components.
- Your PCB design software should automatically generate documentation for all aspects of your device quickly and easily. This ensures your fabricator can accurately produce your device while complying with critical design standards.Learn more about the documentation your fabricator requires.
Defining design rules in Altium Designer
If you’re using rules-driven design software to create your PCB for a military system, you can rest assured that your design will meet critical design specifications. Your manufacturer will need to meet important fabrication standards that ensure your device is reliable in the field. Your deliverables should properly communicate your design intent in a standardized format, ensuring that your design and the finished product meet the same specifications.
The best PCB design platforms will generate important deliverables for your manufacturer by interfacing directly with your design data. Your manufacturer will need your bill of materials, assembly instructions, and other critical files in a standardized format. You won’t have to prepare these materials manually when your deliverable generation and design features are integrated into a single program.
Managing Your Components in a Unified Design Environment
One important aspect of preparing to manufacture your next PCB is managing your component data, lifecycle, and sourcing. Most PCB design software platforms force you to browse component distributor websites on your own or integrate with a paid 3rd party service. This only gives you visibility to a portion of the entire component supply chain, putting you at risk of producing a board that is obsolete before it even leaves the production line.
Only Altium Designer allows you to source your components from major electronics distributors or specify your own authorized vendors for your components. If you’re working with specific vendors that supply components for military systems, you can define these vendors in your design software, giving you the flexibility you need to procure the right components for your device. No other PCB design software platform offers this level of flexibility.
- Working with drill tables helps improve your design productivity and the tolerances on your finished product.
- Building devices for military applications requires strict supply chain and obsolescence management practices. Only Altium Designer gives you full supply chain visibility alongside your design.Learn more about managing your supply chain and design data.
- Tolerance and footprint geometry standards need to be considered when designing military-grade PCBs.Learn more about preventing DFM problems in your next PCB.
Component sourcing and management in Altium Designer
Generating the complete package of deliverables takes documentation generation software that can read information directly from your design. Instead of manually writing up assembly instructions and a bill of materials in word processing software, your design software should make it easy to create these important deliverables in a standard file format. Other design programs place these tools in separate interfaces and enforce inconsistent workflows just to accomplish these simple yet important tasks.
Unified design software makes it much easier to streamline communication between your design and deliverable generation tools. The rules-driven design engine forces your tools to communicate in a single data format, helping prevent data errors that plague other design platforms. Generating manufacturing outputs from your layout and component data is seamless when your design features are unified with your bill of materials generation tools.
Altium Designer Has the Only Unified Design Model
The unified design environment in Altium Designer makes it easy to integrate your sourcing information with your bill of materials, allowing you to find and replace components, accurately estimate your production costs, and manage the full lifecycle of your next device. You won’t have to export design data between programs or write up critical documentation by hand. Your deliverable generation tools read directly from your design data in a single program, ensuring your deliverables are complete and accurate.
Altium Designer also allows you to generate Gerber files, assembly drawings, and panelization drafts for your PCB. These deliverables are critical for your manufacturer to correctly produce your board. The design rules editor ensures that your design and finished product will meet the critical standards that ensure your next device will be reliable and compliant. You’ll be able to complete manufacturing runs seamlessly, no matter which manufacturer you use.
- The bill of materials tools in Altium Designer easily integrate component sourcing information for your manufacturer.Learn more about generating a bill of materials in Altium Designer.
- PCB manufacturers need more than just a bill of materials. You’ll want to generate several deliverables for your manufacturer while planning for production.Learn more about generating manufacturing outputs in Altium Designer.
- You can increase your output when you panelize your PCBs. Altium Designer generates high quality panels without using any external tools or extensions.Learn more about panelization with Altium Designer.
Only Altium Designer places all your critical design, management, documentation, and production preparation tools in a single program with an intuitive interface. You won’t have to switch between design programs, cobble together incompatible budget programs, or pick and choose extensions to accomplish basic design tasks. You can take your next military device from design to production with Altium Designer.
Getting started with a new design environment can be a tall order, especially if you’re new to PCB design. You can access Altium’s extensive knowledge base, podcasts and webinars with industry experts, and the AltiumLive forum. You’ll find useful tutorials, guidance, and helpful design tips. Other software companies leave you out in the cold. Altium wants you to be successful and provides you with the resources you need. Working through a printed circuit and its electronic components for military and aerospace or military and defense will make you demand a PCB design software that can keep track of copper and surface mount components that standard rigid PCBs and consumer products won’t need to worry about as frequently.
The best design, validation, and deliverable generation tools help you quickly move to production, without ticking you with a sub-standard manufacturer. Altium Designer is the only PCB design suite that contains all these tools and more in a single package. You can easily move through the entire design process and plan for production stage successfully, and all within a single design environment.