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Omni Circuit Boards is an e-sensitive manufacturer of Printed Circuit Boards.

Omni Circuit Boards has been in the printed circuit board fabrication business since 1985. It has been our goal to be as environmentally conscientious as possible.

We are committed to keeping our customers and the future of our children front of mind.

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A Quality Tragedy about a Chicken Dance and a PCB Board

 
The PCB Chicken Dance

One common sense business rule is: Sound economic decision making is a requirement for any company intent on succeeding. This rule applies to all aspects of the business, including the quality department.

The following is a series of events from my past with firms who require aliases. The supplier (who will be referred to simply as Fowlmouth) and the customer (who we will call Foghorn) are located within a thirty minute drive of each other and it’s very, very important to note neither is a government agency. I have had the good fortune to work with a few outstanding organizations whose Quality Managers maintained quality programs which helped improve the profitability of their respective organizations; but, this isn’t about one of those...


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What You Should Know About Immersion White Tin PCB Manufacturing

 
immersion white tin printed circuit board

If you work with printed circuit boards and PCB manufacturing in your business, then you have probably already heard of immersion white tin, but may have questions about how it actually works and whether it's a process that you should care about.

Given that we are leaders in immersion white tin PCB fabrication here at Omni, it goes without saying that we are heavily in favor of its use. To understand why, you first have to understand the reason behind our preference for white tin in the first place. Traditionally, circuit boards have been finished with a coating of material, usually containing lead, as part of the soldering process. That's great for the functionality of printed circuit boards, but less friendly for the environment since these metals (and the byproducts created) can be extremely toxic.


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How to Avoid PCB Board Delays in CAM

 
Omni PCB CAM delays

CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) is the art of translating a PCB board designer’s creative CAD (computer-aided design) output into information required in our manufacturing processes.

Our processes require your computer generated files to be converted into phototooling films and drill/router files which will allow us, the printed circuit board manufacturing facility, to produce a custom PCB to your specifications.


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Omni PCB boards on the cover of Time magazine

 
time magazine cover small

So how would you respond to appearing on the cover of Time magazine?

PHOTOGRAPH BY GREGG SEGAL FOR TIME

We recently received rock star status in our local network of manufacturers by having our PCB boards featured on the cover of the February 17, 2014 issue of Time magazine.


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Understanding PCB Manufacturing: Impedance Control

 
ZMetrix ST600

Printed circuit boards with impedance requirements demand a high level of precision.

Image courtesy of Zmetrix

For standard circuit boards, a PCB manufacturer is given a set of patterns - copper patterns, hole patterns, ink patterns, which are combined into a single circuit board with all the pattern sizes and positions within certain tolerances. Failure to meet a certain size or position with the specified tolerance can be cause for the circuit board to be rejected. If a trace has been defined as an impedance control trace, it is not the trace size which is strictly defined, but rather the impedance. While a nominal trace size will be provided in the Gerber layer, it is understood the circuit board manufacturer can vary trace width, height, and dielectric thickness as long as the final impedance is within tolerance.


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Understanding PCB Manufacturing: Hard Gold Plating

 
omni circuit board goldfingers edit

Plating Hard Gold onto printed circuit boards is typically done to provide contact points and PCB edge connectors.

Gold contact surfaces are often used on circuit boards with membrane switches which are a technology of choice for industrial, commercial and consumer products. When PCBs will be repeatedly installed and removed electroplated gold is used for edge-connector contacts or as they are more commonly known: Gold fingers. It is difficult to hear the term Gold finger without remembering the villain Auric Goldfinger from the James Bond film of 1964. However, the gold fingers (gold-plated contact pins) found on PCBs are quite unlike Auric’s stubby, fat digits. To begin with, the plating thickness of a PCB gold finger is typically a mere 300 micro-inch. At this thickness the hard gold is expected to survive 1,000 cycles before wear through.


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Developments in Aluminum Trace Circuit Boards

 
Selective Copper on AL PCB

As you might expect, no two applications for aluminum trace circuit boards are the same and most often they are not even similar.

While some customers are investigating frontiers in MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems), others are delving into the inherent superconductive properties at milliKelvin temperatures, while still others are exploiting the radiation response characteristics of aluminum. For the R&D personnel at Omni Circuit Boards, the requests have presented some interesting challenges.


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How Copper Weight Impacts PCB Board Manufacturing

 
Omni Circuit Boards Single Sourcing

One of the critical steps when ordering a printed circuit board is specifying the copper weight.

The default, should you choose not to specify a weight, is 1.2 oz of copper. This is because customers routinely specify a minimum 1 oz copper thickness and 1 mil of copper in plated through holes. To achieve this, we routinely plate up .5 oz base material with .7 oz of additional copper which provides the requested thickness in the hole. Often our PCB board quotes will reflect this specifying .5 + .7 oz Cu/sq ft where the .5 is the base copper and the 0.7 is the plated copper.


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Printed Circuit Boards and single source strategies

 
Omni Circuit Boards Single Sourcing

Single source arrangements between companies are often a source of stress for management, supply chain and operations personnel on both sides of the table. Provided it is managed intelligently, the relationship can be long-term and beneficial to both parties. But just a little bad luck or poor management by either side, can quickly escalate into a financial catastrophe.

I have had the good fortune to have had roles on both sides of the single source table, first in purchasing, then in management roles. Initially, the challenge is to find a supplier with the knowledge, equipment and interest to provide materials with specifications far in excess of what is currently available in the market. In some instances, I was asked to find suppliers with the capability to manufacture components with tolerances beyond what our own QC department was able to measure. Depending on the complexity of your requirements, this phase can take months and requires travel to candidate sites to audit capabilities and access the flexibility of their organization. Typically, the virtues which brought you to the site were provided by sales and marketing types whose vision of the company exceeds their abilities. Once you sit at the table with those in the know, you quickly learn not only are they not able to provide what you need, they do not have an interest in pursuing it, much to the chagrin of the sales and marketing types.


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Understanding PCB Manufacturing: Silk-Screening

 
PCB Silk-screen

One of the more artistic processes in a PCB manufacturing facility is the application of Ident layers, also known as silk-screening.

Silkscreen is normally used on the component side to identify components, test points, PCB and PCBA part numbers, warning symbols, company logos and manufacturer marks. It isn’t uncommon to have silkscreen required for the solder side as well but if you are price sensitive, you need to know the work required to produce two silk-screens is simply twice as much as one.


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