In today’s world, circuit boards are almost everywhere. These boards play a crucial role in the production of electronic products. PCBs are used in the production of military devices. Therefore, they are very important in the military industry. These boards are exposed to hostile environmental conditions. Therefore, PCB manufacturers pay more attention to the fabrication of these boards.
What is a Military PCB?
A military PCB is a circuit board specifically designed for military purposes. In terms of design and fabrication, this type of circuit board is more complex than an ordinary circuit. A military PCB must meet the requirements of the military industry. Circuit boards in military applications require high functionality and reliability. This is because they have to withstand harsh environmental conditions.
PCB manufacturers design this board with minimum tolerance and high precision in mind. The layout, design, and manufacturing processes of a military PCB should follow certain standards. Manufacturers use high-quality substrates for the production of this PCB.
What is a Military Grade PCB?
A military grade PCB is a board that meets the military’s specifications and demands. For the production of a military-grade PCB, all components must be military specs. Above all, these components must feature tolerances between 1% and 2%. The manufacturer must use circuit boards that can withstand the highest level of the current load.
A military grade PCB fabrication involves the use of military spec materials. Also, these materials must meet certain standards like IPC-A-610E. This is an ideal standard for high-performance circuits. Therefore, manufacturers should try to use heat-resistant materials.
Manufacturers design military-grade PCBs with a higher standard than consumer-grade PCBs. This is because a military grade PCB will operate at elevated temperatures. In addition, a military grade PCB must have higher tolerances and adhere to quality control.
Furthermore, manufacturers must design military grade PCBs in conformance with certain standards. MIL-PRF-55110 and MIL-PRF-31032 are examples of these standards. Manufacturers design military grade PCBs for tests. In other words, there is clarity on easy access to components so that they can undergo tests separately.
Military grade PCBs features materials with great properties. Therefore, choosing the appropriate material and laminate is important. Military grade PCBs are ideal for use in several applications. These circuit boards are making positive impacts in the military industry. Therefore, military grade PCBs must conform to the standard finishes and sizes common in military products.
Features of Military Circuit Boards
There are some high-end capabilities that enable military PCBs to withstand harsh conditions. These capabilities and features are responsible for the high functionality of military boards.
This is one of the great features of military circuit boards. These boards resist any type of weather condition. They can withstand humidity and high temperatures. The use of extra shielding and thermal compounds contribute to this feature.
Mil spec components
Military PCB manufacturers make use of military spec components in the production of these boards. Military spec components provide enhanced durability, functionality, and reliability. The mil spec components feature tighter tolerances that range between 1 to 2 %.
This is one of the greatest properties of military PCBs. These PCBs have the ability to withstand any chemical attack. Military circuit boards have high chemical resistance. Therefore, they have less chance of corrosion.
Military PCBs are designed to meet strict standards for quality control. These PCBs must conform to the standards of the industry. Some of these standards include ITAR, IPC-A-610E, and MIL-PRF-31032.
Use of quality material
Military circuit boards feature high grade materials. Manufacturers use high-temperature laminates and substrates for fabricating these boards. In addition, manufacturers use anodized aluminum as a result of its ability to withstand oxidation.
Factors that Contribute to the Standard Military Grade PCB Design
In order to achieve the best design, it is important you put some factors into considerations. The military grade PCB is a complex one to fabricate. However, considering some factors can help you achieve a straightforward design.
High quality military grade materials
Ensure you use high-quality materials for the fabrication of a military grade PCB. The type and quality of the material you use determine the functionality of these boards. Also, the manufacturer should choose materials ideal for a military grade PCB. It is equally important these boards meet certain thermal and electrical requirements.
These materials must be able to withstand various temperature conditions. Manufacturers can use thermal compounds to provide heat dissipation and more shielding. A low-quality material will result in circuit failure. Eventually, this will result in the loss of revenue.
Accurate design software
The demand for new electronic designs in the military industry is limitless. To achieve better designs, you should incorporate the most advanced tools to make these designs. There are tools that help you achieve great designs for your military grade PCBs. The layout for a military grade board demands accurate component placement. This is very important in achieving maximum success.
There are two types of software for the design and layout process of a military PCB. The Computer Aided Design (CAD), and the Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM).
This software is specifically for creating PCB designs. CAD is ideal for handling complex issues of a PCB design. Military grade PCB designs require more than a single circuit board. CAD helps designers to work with multi-board assemblies with ease and accuracy.
This software analyses the files and identifies the file format. Also, it provides a high level of precision and accuracy. As a result of this, PCB manufacturers can create intricate designs. CAM helps to create a toolpath for the PCB design. In addition, it carries out a thorough check for any geometrical errors and as well as sets the circuits’ voltage.
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The surface finish is the coating the manufacturer uses to clad the copper. There are certain requirements for coating military grade PCBs. These circuit boards are always under harsh environmental conditions. Hence, they require the best surface finish. Thermal compounds help to prevent these circuits from extreme heat. Also, it makes the surface of the circuit board solderable during the process of assembly.
Manufacturers should use acid-based sprays or acrylic-based sprays for coating treatment. Using the appropriate surface finish for a military PCB is vital. Also, the type of surface finish the manufacturer uses will impact the performance of the board. In addition, the finish materials must support the performance of military grade PCBs in harsh conditions.
Military Circuit Life
This is a very important factor to consider for a military grade PCB design. A military circuit board will have to survive varying temperatures. Therefore, the life span of the circuit board must be long enough. A typical military PCB takes effort, time, and money. Hence, it isn’t economical enough to become useless after a while.
Manufacturers should use high-quality components that will enhance the board’s life span. A standard military PCB should last at least five years.
Military PCB Design Rules
The production process of military PCBs is crucial. This is because manufacturers can’t afford any mistakes. Also, the manufacturer must design the circuit board from scratch. The IPC class 3 part is the best standard for a military PCB design. It is important you consider the material selection, design, and fabrication when using this standard. Below are design rules for military PCBs.
- Use thermal compounds to achieve effective heat dissipation
- Ensure the circuit boards can carry the highest level of the current
- Confirm the thermal profiles for wave soldering and reflow soldering processes. Do this before you begin assembly.
- It is important you use software simulation programs to verify the PCB design
- Keep the military PCB routing at 45° to achieve smooth transmission of current.
- Check MIL-PRF-551110, MIL-PRF-50884, and MIL-PRF-31031. This will help to ensure the circuit board is in line with the specifications.
- Separate low-frequency components from high-frequency ones. This is because high-frequency units can result in signal interference in low-frequency components.
- Use mil-spec components
- Keep analog and digital circuits separate
These military PCB design rules will help you achieve an error-free design. Using IPC class 3 creates a high-performance circuit board. That is to say, you can’t make any mistakes and the boards will be functional. Circuit boards created by this standard are reliable for military applications. Furthermore, ensure the minimum dielectric thickness between two planes is 3.5 mil.
What are Mil Spec Electronics?
The term “mil spec electronics” refers to electronic devices that meet the standard of the military. The US Military developed this standard to ensure a certain level of expectation for military equipment is met. Mil spec electronics specifically perform under various harsh environmental conditions.
Mil spec electronics can survive in any type of environment. Also, manufacturers design these types of electronics with high-grade materials. Mil spec electronics aren’t necessarily for the military industry. For instance, these electronics can also be used in aerospace and aviation. Also, Mil spec electronics undergo rigorous production processes.
Mil spec electronics are rugged electronics that can stand the rigors of harsh environments. These are electronics that pass the standard of the military. Manufacturers consider several factors when designing mil spec electronics. These electronics must be able to withstand thermal shock, acidic atmosphere, gunfire shock, and more.
Since manufacturers design these electronics to meet specific standards. Also, the choice of materials and components matter. These electronics must feature no defects and must function well throughout their life span. Mil spec electronics undergo some stringent tests to verify their functionality.
Why are Military Electronics Important?
Military electronics play a significant role in today’s world. Military electronics refers to electronic devices that can withstand hostile environmental conditions. Also, they are electronic devices that offer high performance, electronic protection, and electronic detention.
Manufacturers design many of these electronics for military environments. Also, these electronics meet the vibration and thermal requirements of the military industry. Military electronics can be deployed on several military platforms. In addition, they are not only ideal for use in the military industry. They can also be useful in the aviation, defense, and space industry.
Military electronics meet the standards of the military industry. These electronics comprise high grade material that can withstand varying temperatures. There is no doubt that military electronics have had a significant impact on the world in general.
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Applications of Military PCBs
Military circuit boards are suitable for use in a wide range of applications which include;
The military industry incorporates automated network systems. Military PCBs allow the implementation of these automated networks to regulate repetitive processes. These automated networks also enhance network service during operations.
In the military, communication is an important aspect. Radar installation transmits radio waves. Military PCBs are ideal for radar installations.
These devices identify and measure the increase or decrease in temperature within a device. An increase or decrease in temperature converts into electrical signals. Military PCBs can survive in any fluctuating temperatures. Hence, temperature sensors feature these boards.
Devices like power converters feature military PCBs. Power converters help to convert electrical power from one form to another. In addition, these devices are very important in the military industry. Any defects in these devices can be damaging. For example, advanced short range air to air missiles depend on power converters for launching and reaching the target.
Cross Targeting Systems
These systems enable the analysis and decryption of encrypted text and codes. Cross targeting systems search for algorithm susceptibilities and divide into cryptography. Also, these systems feature military PCBs.
Other applications of military PCBs are highlighted below
- Over horizon enforcement networks
- Air cartographic photography
- Radio communication systems
- Power supplies
- Control tower systems
- Monitoring equipment
- Underwater navigation systems
- Jet instrumentation
As a result of the complexity of military operations, the demand for military PCBs keeps increasing. Military PCBs are very useful in the electronics industry. This is because these boards are ideal for use in several applications. Military grade PCBs are high-performance boards. They can withstand hostile environmental conditions. The fabrication of these boards is different from other circuit boards. This is because manufacturers must follow stringent standards for quality control.