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Eurocircuits PCB blog

Mi foglal le jelenleg minket az Eurocircuits-nél, projektek amiken jelenleg dolgozunk, új ötletek, háttér információk és egy hely ahol ön bekapcsolódhat, elmondhatja véleményét és megoszthatja velünk mi a lényeges ön számára mint elektronikai fejlesztő.

  1. Panel editor - the next level of efficiency in PCB Visualizer

“I want my boards delivered as a panel, but I need to see what it looks like before I place my order”

“I want to make sure that I have got the maximum number of circuits on my assembly panel”

“My assembly people need fiducials and tooling-holes in exactly the right place.  I haven’t got time to make a drawing, but they want to check the panel’s OK for them before I order.”

Eurocircuits have always had options to deliver a customer’s circuits in a panel (see our Panel Guidelines), but there has never been an opportunity to see the panel before placing the order, to experiment to find the best circuit “fill”, or to order a special layout without providing a drawing.  The new PCB Visualizer tool, Panel Editor, changes that.  Now you can view the Eurocircuits panelisation you have specified before you place your order.  Or, if you need a special panelisation, you can create your own panel directly on-screen.  Place your order confident that what you have seen or what you have laid out is what you will get as your finished panel – and there will be no delays while our engineers query your requirements.

How do I …..?

  1. Use PCB Visualizer Panel Editor to get a fast price without uploading data?
  2. View or modify my eC-panel by Eurocircuits?
  3. Make a custom panel?
  4. Set up/change panel and board properties?
  5. Change the step and repeat values?
  6. “Fill” a panel?
  7. Define special panel settings (stepped blocks, rotated circuits/blocks, custom blocks e.g. “nested” for L- and T-shaped circuits?)
  8. Add my own border features (tooling holes, fiducials, text etc.)?
  9. Specify panels with several different circuits (multipanels)?
  10. Get confirmation I did it all right, even if I did it for the first time? Use our pre-production approval process.

Our BLOG explains it all and contains 2 movies to illustrate the processes.

See separate sections for each topic.  If you have any questions, use our online chat line to talk to one of our engineers.

1. Use PCB Visualizer Panel Editor to get a fast price without uploading data?

Most Panel Editor options can be used before you upload your data.  For this, PCB Visualizer  uses dummy PCBs.

There are three panel options.  To select one, go to the Delivery format box at the top of the screen.  For more details of each, see our Panel Guidelines.  Selecting eC-panel by Eurocircuits or Custom panel by Eurocircuits automatically opens the Panel menu.

 
delivery format

eC-panel by Eurocircuits

Specify the repeats you want in X and Y.  Select the panel border, and the PCB spacing from the pull-down boxes.  All eC-panels are eC-registration compatible.  This means that they have the necessary tooling holes in the border if you want to use a solder-paste stencil with our eC-stencil-mate or eC-stencil-fix.  As they also have our standard pattern tooling holes and fiducials in the corners (see Panel Guidelines p. 6), they are 100% suitable for use with other registration systems.

Click Panel editor to see the panel with the dummy PCBs.  For the full range of options, see below.

Customer panel by Eurocircuits

Click the Panel editor wizard and proceed as below to specify the step and repeat, border and separation distance required.  Ignore the red warning message about the 0,0 panel size – this will be changed by the Panel editor.  PCB Visualizer will display the default board size, so for an accurate price enter the correct circuit size, make any other size changes required and click Apply.

TIP: Don’t put in the border elements at this stage as they will be lost when you upload the real board data.

Customer panel by customer.

Use this panel option if you have already prepared Gerber files with the complete panelisation for a special layout or for a multi-panel (panel with several different designs).  Your layout should meet our panelisation requirements for panel border and distance between the circuits.  This option won’t open Panel Editor as the files will display correctly in PCB Visualizer.

TIP: All delivery panels require a border to hold them together during transport and handling.  If you have not included a border or want to put additional features into the border, select Custom panel by Eurocircuits and specify a 1-up panel using the Panel editor wizard.

2. View or modify eC-panel by Eurocircuits

Step 1.  Load the job into PCB Visualizer.

Use the “Price Calculator” option to get a price and then upload your data.  Or choose the “Analyse your data” route, so that PCB Configurator fills out the board parameters for you.  Go to Shopping basket and click the PCB Visualizer column for the job you want.

Step 2.  View eC-panel by Eurocircuits.

If you have already specified the step and repeat, border size, PCB separation method and distance, click the Panel editor wizard to see the panelised circuit.

NOTE:

The router path is shown as a hatched area.  Our engineers will place rout tabs in this area to ensure a stable panel.

TIP: If there are areas in which you do not want rout tabs to appear due to sensitive components etc., specify them in a mechanical drawing.

You can now change:

  • Repeat in X and/or Y
  • PCB separation method
  • Panel border
  • PCB spacing

For any other changes, click “Advanced panel options”.

Click “Apply” at the bottom of the screen and the price in PCB Configurator will automatically update to the new configuration.  Click the orange “Save changes” box to update the basket.

 
price summary

In the next menu just click Continue.  There is no need to re-upload the job.

MOVIE: create and view an eC-panel with panel editor

 

This film gives an overview of how to make an eC-panel with our new panel  editor module, part of our PCB Visualizer software.

 
YouTube settings

You can always view this video in full screen mode by clicking the right symbol  on the navigation bar and upgrade the resolution by clicking the setting symbol .

3.  Lay out a custom panel by Eurocircuits.

TIPS:

  1. For hints and tips on designing stable panels including panelising round circuits and handling overhanging and heavy components, click here.
  2. If you are using an external assembly company and they supply a detailed dimensioned drawing of their requirements, you may find it easier to use the Launch inquiry route to get a price.  Upload your single circuit data, the drawing and your step and repeat instructions (as a README file) and our engineers will lay out the panel and give you a price.  This may take up to 1 working day.

PROCESS

Step 1.  Load the job into PCB Visualizer as Section 2 step 1 above.

Click the Panel editor wizard.  Ignore the red warning about the 0,0 panel size – the Panel editor will complete the correct size.

Step 2.  Select your panel border and enter your preferred value:

Step 3. Set up the circuit separation method and spacing:

Step 4. Choose the panel content type.

Select:

  1. Stepped PCB if you want to build your PCB out of single circuits.
  2. Stepped block if you want to build your panel out of a custom block of two or more interlocked or “nested” circuits, typically L- or T-shaped.  For this option, see below.

 

Step 4. Select “Stepped PCB”. And click “Next >”.

Step 5. Set up the basic step and repeat, and the rotation if required.  Additional options will be available in the editor.

Step 6. PCB Visualizer now shows the board together with top and bottom birds-eye view, the Panel and board properties menu and the panel tools menu.

  1. Swap top and bottom views by clicking on the bird’s eye menu, or using the tool menu icon.
  2. Pan and zoom with your mouse or use the pull-down zoom menu.

Click the orange “Apply” button to accept the panelisation and go back to the PCB Configurator menu.

4. Change panel and board properties.

Use this menu to change:

  • Panel size.
  • Panel border
  • Board separation method
  • Board separation distance

Or to add eC-compatible registration holes if you want to use a solder-paste stencil with our eC-stencil-mate or eC-stencil-fix.

TIP: If the board size is incorrect, PCB Visualizer will show a dummy panel.  Correct the size in the menu (“Board size”).

5. Change the step and repeat of the job

Click within the existing stepped circuits to select the block.  This opens the “Stepped PCB properties” menu.  You can now change the repeat and the rotation of the PCB.  Use to action

6. To “fill” a panel

  • Un-tick the Automatic X and Automatic Y boxes in the “Panel and board properties” menu.
  • Select the panel size you require (e.g. the Eurocircuits recommended maximum panel 350 X 250 mm, or your assembly company’s maximum size e.g. 300 x 200 mm)
  • Use the “Step/repeat block properties” menu to change the step and repeat and rotation to find the best fit
  • Re-click the Automatic boxes to get the final panel size.

7. Define special panel settings.

  • Stepped PCB
  • Stepped Block
  • Block (Custom block of nested PCBs: L-shapes, T-shapes, etc...)

These allow you to customise your panel layout.

Tools

 

TIPS:

  1. To deselect a tool, double-click the Select button or pick the next tool.
  2. To select a border element that is below another border element, you need to click with the right mouse button to first highlight it (orange border), then you can click with the left mouse button to select it.
  3. Use “Reset the panel definition” to
    • restart the Panel wizard – select “Create new panel definition”
    • clear everything and go back to the PCB Configurator menu – select “Clear panel definition”

7.1.  Add stepped PCB pattern

TIP: Use this function to step and repeat PCB blocks or to add rotated PCBs.

  1. Click the tool “Add stepped PCBs”.
  2. Select the orange location box where you want to repeat the same circuit pattern.



  3. This opens the “Stepped PCB properties” menu.  Enter the repeat values you require and click the location boxes as required.



    TIP: By default PCB Visualizer will retain the last repeat values used.  If these are incorrect, simply change them and the screen image will correct automatically.
    .
  4. Add spacers as required to control the distance between the blocks. Click “Select the object to edit” to clear the location boxes and show the true distances.

    TIP:
    The spacers change the distance between the blocks of circuits, not the individual circuits.  Change the distance between circuits in the “Panel and board properties” menu.

7.2.  Rotated blocks:

There are two ways to panelise with rotated and non-rotated circuits depending on your requirements.  To build a panel with rotated circuit patterns, follow the procedures here.  To put rotated and non-rotated in a set, see below.

  1. Click the tool “Add stepped PCBs”.
  2. Select the orange location box where you want to add the rotated pattern
  3. Enter the required repeat and rotation values



  4. Add a spacer to control the exact distance between the blocks.

7.3.  Panelise with stepped blocks (“nested” PCBs).

Use this function to interlock (“nest”) L-shaped or T-shaped PCBs.

  1. Open the Panel editor
  2. Select the border required
  3. Set your preferred PCB spacing and separation
  4. Set the Panel content type to “Stepped Blocks”
  5. Click “Next>” to open the “Edit block definition” box.  Click “Edit block”.



  6. This opens the editing screen.



  7. The offset will normally remain at X = 0, Y = 0 for the first circuit.  For the demo job, change the rotation to 180°.



  8. To add a second circuit, click “Add a PCB”.  To avoid a second circuit being placed directly over the first circuit, it is given a notional offset, roughly 20% of its X & Y dimensions.



  9. Add the desired offsets for the finished set. Click Apply to return to the wizard.



  10. Click “Next>” to move to the “Define step values menu”.  Enter your preferred repeat and click “Finish”.




7.4.  Add a spacer.

Use this function to increase the width of a single border or the space between blocks of circuits.

  1. Select “Add a spacer” tool.
  2. Click on the orange locator box where you want to insert the space
  3. Enter your chosen spacer value.



  4. Click on “Select the object to edit” or “Apply” to show the new image.

TIP: Tick the Automatic box if you have a fixed panel size which the circuits do not fill exactly and you want to maintain e.g. the relationship between the circuits and the panel edge.  The automatic spacer will push the circuits into the required position.

8.  Define customer specific border elements.

TIPS:

  1. To see how these different options work together, see the illustration of an eC-panel above or the finished panel at the end of this section.
  2. All border elements are dimensioned from 8 reference points.  These are placed in the middle of the laminate border in the 4 corners and on the centre line of the panel.  For each tool click the tool, select the (first) reference point, and the tool menu will open.
  3. Border elements (except drill holes) can be placed on copper, soldermask or legend layers, and on top, bottom or both sides.


8.1 Add a drill hole border element.

  1. Select the “Drill hole border element” tool and the reference point.
  2. Enter the drill hole diameter plus the copper, soldermask and legend clearances and any offset required.



  3. Click to insert the hole.  Select the next reference point – the values entered will carry over.


8.2 Add a frame border element.

 

Specify the width, the side and the layer required (copper, soldermask and/or legend). Unless an offset is specified this will appear in the centre of each border.

 

8.3. Add a clearance border element.

 

Tooling holes, fiducials and text come with automatic clearances to your chosen values.  Use the clearance function if you need to clear copper, soldermask or legend for any reason.  The cut-off allows the corner to be rounded.

8.4. Add copper pad.

 

For example as a fiducial.  You can specify the pad size, the clearances from copper, soldermask and legend, and the offset from each reference point.

 

8.5. Add text border element.

 

 

 

Enter the text, dimensions, layer (copper, soldermask or legend), and the clearances required.  The cut-off value gives a curved clearance.  The soldermask and legend clearances will default to the copper values but they can be changed if you prefer.

8.6. Add hash fiducials

 

You can set copper, soldermask and legend clearances for hash fiducials.

 

8.7. Finished panel

Including eC-compatible tooling holes

 

MOVIE: use panel editor to create your own custom panel

 

This film gives an overview of how to make a custom panel using our new panel editor module, part of our PCB Visualizer software.

You can always view this video in full screen mode by clicking the right symbol  on the navigation bar and upgrade the resolution by clicking the setting symbol .

9. Specify panels with several different circuits ("Multipanels")

PCB Visualizer has been developed as a Gerber file analyser to run Design Rule (DRC) and increasingly Design for Manufacturability (DFM) checks on single circuits.  There is at present no functionality to allow you to import and place interactively separate circuits into one delivery panel.

If you want to put several different circuits on one delivery panel, you have three options:

  1. Prepare a single Gerber file for each layer including the circuits you require in the positions where you want them in the panel.  Make sure that you provide a suitable border and distance between circuits. More …

    TIPS
    • You can use PCB Visualizer to analyse the panel as though it is a single circuit. If you need to add a border or border features, load the job as a 1 x 1 Customer panel by Eurocircuits.
    • To ensure optimum manufacturability we have rules for the maximum size and copper balance for panels with multiple different circuits.

  2. Use the Launch inquiry route.  Upload a single .zip file including separate .zip files for each circuits and an exact drawing how you want them panelised.  Our engineers will check the data files and build the panel for you.  We will send you a quotation and you will be able to see the finished panel in PCB Visualizer.
  3. Place your order and upload a single .zip file including separate .zip files for each circuits and an exact drawing how you want them panelised.  Skip PCB Visualizer.  If you want to check the panel before it goes into production click the box “Request pre-production approval” in the Running menu.

10. Pre-production approval

Not sure about the panel you have created and need reassurance before your panel goes into production? Use our pre-production approval check. More info in our BLOG.

Készítette: Patrick Martin
Téma:
eC-tools
Közzétéve:
26 May 2014
Megtekintés:
679

Adding custom markings - yet another PCB Visualizer function

Do you need special text or a QR code on your PCB?  Or a production date code specific to this order? Or a logo that your design system can’t handle? Or is it important that order numbers and UL marking are in a particular location?  We have harnessed the power of PCB Visualizer to bring you on-screen interactive functionality to meet these requirements.

Watch our movie at the end of this BLOG.

NEW August 2014

Add logo

Under Custom marking you can now add a company logo or similar image in legend, soldermask or copper.  The image can be in JPEG, PNG, GIF or BMP format.

Marking summary.

Internal job number

All boards have our internal job number on the top legend layer in letters about 1 mm high.  Using the new functionality you can move it but, as It forms the basis of our traceability system, you cannot remove it or place it outside the PCB outline.

UL

Where the customer requests UL marking our engineers have always placed it in a clear area on the legend at their discretion.  If customers wanted to have the marking placed in a particular location, they needed to provide a drawing.  Now, when time is tight, you can use PCB Visualizer to place the markings interactively on screen and see how the finished board will look without spending time on a drawing.  UL marking is a cost-free option.

Other custom markings

Custom marking may be a date code, text, QR code or LOGO.  The new functionality allows you to select your preferred date code format.  You can type in the text you want to appear as lettering or in the QR code. The logo can be imported as a JPEG, PNG, GIF or BMP file. In each case you can move the item around on screen to see where it fits best. Custom marking is now a cost-free option.

How to use the new function

  1. Load the job into PCB Visualizer.  Either use the Price Calculator to get a price and then upload your data, or use the “Analyse your data” option, so that PCB Configurator fills out the board parameters for you.  Go to Shopping basket and click PCB Visualizer for the job you want.
  2. Scroll down the PCB Configurator menu to Advanced options.


     
    advanced options - Marking


    To add markings, make sure that the options you require have been ticked: “UL marking” or customer “Specific marking", both at no extra cost.
    If you want to check or edit the placing of the order number and/or want to edit your UL and customer specific markings, click the “Marking” box.
  3. The Marking screen shows a bird's eyes view of both sides of the PCB and one detailed view of either Top or Bottom, any markings already made, a legend overview of where they are and the tool options.


     
     
    marking editor overview

Tools:

 
marking tools

The function of the tools: "select", "switch view", "delete", "undo" and "redo" need no further explanation as they are self-explanatory.

The function "add an extra order number" makes it possible to add a second Eurocircuits order number on the PCB should you wish to do so. This function can also be used in case our automatic data analyses tool was not able to place an order number automatically on your PCB. This can be because the layout and legend of the board are too dense or the shape is too complex. You can then add an order number yourself.

To place the order number, push the icon and move your cursor to the desired location on the board and click to add it. You can then still drag it to any position on the board either on the top or bottom. Moving it from the top to the bottom is easy by just moving it to the bird's eye view of the bottom. This will place it there and will open the details view of the bottom at the same time. Further fine tuning of its position can then be done. You can also change the rotation.

 
order number properties

Tips:

  1. Don’t place any legend features over holes.  Automatic clipping may render it illegible.
  2. The order number will appear in a legend layer, typically on the top layer.  It is not necessary to have ordered a bottom legend to use the bottom layer for the order number.
  3. At this stage the order number will be the basket number.  When the order is placed this will change to the order number.

UL marking

 
marking UL

If you have not ticked the “UL marking” box in the PCB Configurator menu, you must tick the box here.  This will open the UL menu here.  The PCB Configurator menu and order details will be updated when you click Apply at the end of the Marking selection process.

Tips:

  1. UL marking can appear on a copper layer, in the solder-mask, or on a legend layer. The size of the UL marking is defined by UL and cannot be changed neither should it overlap other items.


     
    UL logo properties


  2. At this stage there are no automatic checks to prevent the logo shorting any tracks or pads on a copper layer. Any problem introduced at this stage will be picked up by our data preparation engineers at the moment of order and will result into an exception that will be reported back to you.

Customer specific markings

 
marking customer specific info

If you have not ticked the “Specific marking” box in the PCB Configurator menu, you must tick the box here.  This will open the Custom marking menu here.  The PCB Configurator menu and order details will be updated when you click Apply at the end of the Marking selection process.

Add QR code:

To add a QR code, click the icon and move your cursor to the desired location on the board and click to add it. You can then still drag it to any position on the top or bottom of the board. Moving it from the top to the bottom is easy by just moving it to the bird's eye view of the bottom. This will place it there and will open the details view of the bottom at the same time. Further fine tuning of its position can then be done. You can then change the content of the QR code as well as the size.

Tips:

  1. The Value can be up to 2953 alphanumeric characters using the standard ISO8859-1 character set (covers most characters in European languages). But the larger the content the denser the QR-code will become and thus the larger in size it will need to be to stay readable.


     
    QR code properties.png


  2. The minimum legible size will depend on the number of characters used.  In any case we do not allow a size below 8 x 8 mm.  Anything smaller will not be legible.

Add text:

To add a custom TEXT, click the icon and move your cursor to the desired location on the board and click to add it. You can then still drag it to any position on the top or bottom of the board. Moving it from the top to the bottom is easy by just moving it to the bird's eye view of the bottom. This will place it there and will open the details view of the bottom at the same time. Further fine tuning of its position can then be done. You can then input the text and adapt its height and rotation.

Tips:

  1. Text uses the same ISO8859-1 character set as the QR code.


     
    TEXT properties


  2. We use proportional fonts, so the height of the letters determines the size of the box.

Add production date:

To add the production date, click the icon and move your cursor to the desired location on the board and click to add it. You can then still drag it to any position on the top or bottom of the board. Moving it from the top to the bottom is easy by just moving it to the bird's eye view of the bottom. This will place it there and will open the details view of the bottom at the same time. Further fine tuning of its position can then be done. You can then choose the date format and adapt its height and rotation.

Tips:

  1. You have a choice of 6 formats.  Select the format here.


     
    production date properties


  2. Our front-end engineering system will automatically insert the date on which we generate the production pooling panel.

Add custom LOGO

 
customer logo

Select your image from the list of images already uploaded or use the Browse function to upload a new file.  File format can be JPEG, PNG, GIF or BMP.  Select the size of the image and the layer where you want it to appear.  If you alter Height or Width manually the wizard will calculate the other dimension to preserve the original image ratio.  Move your cursor to the desired location on the board and click to add it. You can then drag it to any position on the top or bottom of the board. Moving it from the top to the bottom is easy by just moving it to the bird's eye view of the bottom. This will place it there and will open the detailed view of the bottom at the same time. You can then further fine-tune its position.

Tips:

  1. The logo will appear in solid colour without grey-scales.  If you prefer a pixellated grey-scaled image, use the PCB PIXture wizard in the PCB Definition box.
  2. Logos placed on legend layers are subject to Eurocircuits’ legend rules.  The image will be clipped back from soldermask windows around component pads and holes.  Also the narrowest line which can be successfully printed is 0.17 mm. Check your image size and placement as violations may impair the appearance of the logo. To view the final manufacturing files before we start production, use our Pre-production approval function.

Marking legend

In the left bottom corner of the marking editor screen, you can find the "marking legend".

 
marking legend

The marking legend gives an overview of all 5 markings that may appear on the board. It shows how many times a marking appears on top or bottom of the board.

How to save the new data

  1. When you have placed the elements to your satisfaction, click Apply to return to the main PCB Configurator menu.  The changes you have made will appear on Top and Bottom view.  If they don’t, make sure that you have not switched off “UL marking” or “Specific marking”.
  2. Click the orange “Save changes” box on the right of the screen.
  3. In the next “Complete action” screen, just click Continue.  If you upload new data, you will lose the placements you have just made.

MOVIE: create and view custom markings on your PCB with our marking editor

This film gives an overview of how to introduce custome markings on your board with our new marking editor module, part of our PCB Visualizer software.

You can always view this video in full screen mode by clicking the right symbol on the navigation bar and upgrade the resolution by clicking the setting symbol .

If you have any questions, click the Chat box on the right of the screen and chat with one of our experts.
 
 
Készítette: Dirk stans
Téma:
eC-tools
Közzétéve:
07 May 2014
Megtekintés:
685

In November 2013 we launched the first version of our Buildup wizard and Layer editor. Meanwhile we have been looking at ways to make it easier and more convenient for users to order more complex boards online, to fine-tune orders and to check that data is complete, correct and manufacturable. We have made a number of changes to the layout of the Price calculator and PCB Visualizer. One of these is to put the Buildup wizard and the Layer editor into a single screen and simplify the way they work.

Layer Editor

Got a build-related error message in PCB Visualizer, either after running the “Analyse your data” pricing option or on a job in your basket? The Layer editor allows you to assign manually files that for whatever reason PCB Visualizer has been unable to categorise.

In the case here, PCB Configurator has given a warning message that there are extra drill layers which it cannot resolve. Open the Buildup wizard. In the Imported Layers menu there are two blind via layers (Inner5_Bottom_drl and Top_Inner2_drl) which are designated as just Plated drill.

To fix this, open the pull-down box. You will find a full list of layer-type options. Select layer-type “Extra blind/buried via runs”. PCB Visualizer will ask which layers the vias connect, advise you to select a reversed layer build and automatically complete the build.

Buildup wizard.

As before, the Buildup wizard allows you to select the most suitable build out of the 700+ pre-defined multilayer builds. You can also:

Check the copper, pre-preg and core thickness by hovering your mouse over the respective layer

Change core thickness and copper foil thickness using the box bottom left.

Add blind or buried vias using the menu box “Blind/Buried via runs”.

Footnote.

We are constantly striving to improve the comfort and convenience of our website. If you have any comments on this or any other part of our service please contact your usual sales channel, use our online chat or email us at euro@eurocircuits.com.

Készítette: Luc Samyn
Téma:
eC-tools
Közzétéve:
26 Mar 2014
Megtekintés:
702