If you have been searching for a top-quality manufacturer of military pcb, then you have come to the exact place. Why is this so?
In this article, I will take you through the necessary things you should know by heart. Sure, this is necessary before you go ahead to choose and buy military PCB for any of your projects.
On completing this guide, you should have good understanding of what military circuit boards are, the design, features, and fabrication process.
Generally, this article touches all the basic things you should know about military printed circuit boards. Please continue reading to understand better.
What is Military PCB?
Military PCBs are simply designed for use in military applications. However, what is a printed circuit board (PCB)?
PCBs are thin boards used in connecting electrical components making use of copper tracks rather than wires. The drilling of holes in the board are necessary for the fixing of electrical components that are in position.
Soldering then takes place to help secure then in place, while its copper tracks helps in linking them together to form a circuit.
PCB Assembly involves the board as well as all its components combined together.
Unlike other types of PCBs, you can achieve the design of military circuit boards with precision, efficiency, and high resistance levels. Why is this so? During application, they are usually made to undergo harsh conditions for operation. This is why they are very resistant, efficient, and will exhibit high reliability levels.
Simply put, the creation of Military PCB is just to cater for military needs. Although they come in different types, they serve the same purpose. This purpose is assisting the armed forces in different fields like electronic warfare and communication services.
Let’s continue with this topic by knowing the Features of military pcbs.
Features of Military PCB
Generally, military circuit boards come stocked with high-end capabilities and features that help them withstand the toughness and rigors of all defense applications. Below are some of the features of military pcbs you should take note of when searching for a durable and high-quality one.
As we have mentioned before, reliability and quality are very essential in military printed circuit boards. A good PCB must make use of high-quality and military-grade materials. Note that boards have to meet the applicable flex, rigid-flex, or rigid standard and electrical and thermal requirements to ensure reliable and proper operation.
Here, material plays an important role. Therefore, make use of military grade materials with high quality. Materials like high-temperature aluminum, copper, and laminates, are great substrate materials for military pcbs.
Their ability to withstand any harsh condition like high temperatures is great. Also, anodized aluminum is usually utilized as a result of its ability to resist oxidation.
This PCB must also feature great and reliable materials for finishing ensuring better protection against all harsh conditions. Also, high-quality acrylic is the most commonly used finishing materials that ensures high-quality military PCBs.
Conforming with Quality Standards
All military grade pcbs have to conform to the regulations and standards set by the industry. This means that the testing has been done on the product for reliability use for the right application.
The primary standards you should check for in any military printed circuit boards are IPC-A-610E, MIL-PRF-31032, and ITAR.
Resisting Environmental Factors
If you desire a reliable performance from your military PCB, then you cannot do without considering this feature.
First, any defense application is synonymous with high humidity and temperatures, harsh environment, harsh and dust chemicals, the most common of all.
To be able to curb this, good military circuit boards must have the ability to withstand any of these, as well as other field rigors.
Utilizing thermal compounds for additional traces and shielding, heat dissipation, coupled with laminates of high temperature shows that PCBs have the ability to withstand hostile conditions of the environment.
Design for Manufacturability (DFM)
Before you start using any military PCB, make sure that it is been tested rigorously. It checks the basic performance, and the necessary features of reliable and quality military PCB.
In general, the design, manufacturing, and testing of military pcbs must be able to withstand all extreme conditions of any military application.
For this case, good boards must withstand:
- Variable humidity
- Thermal duress
- Multiple ambient frequencies and waveforms
- High amperage
- The demand for clarity and strength for signal transmission
- And more
The features above should assist you in knowing if your printed circuit board will work fine for the project.
Design and Fabrication of Military PCB
The design and fabrication of PCBs usually undergo extreme conditions. Furthermore, it also involves many steps such as multilayer processing, engraving photos, etching, drilling, finishing, and electrical testing.
Here, we will teach you the process of turning a design into a military PCB that is useful.
Design and Layout of Military PCB
The layout of PCBs plays a major role in producing military PCB. This layout process presents a graphic circuitry representation required for PCB manufacturing.
The design of the PCB is a well tabled description and the graphical representation of that circuit. Automated machines help in the assembling and testing of majority of manufactured circuit boards today.
This is partly driven by data gotten from the PCB files. This is why PCB layout now becomes evident. Usually, two main software types are useful in the process of design and layout: CAD for the design of a circuit’s electronic schematic and CAM for the production of the PCB prototype.
Fabrication of Military PCB
Once the design of the PCB prototype is set, the first step of the fabrication is choosing the military PCB’s material.
You will find different PCB materials out there; however, the well-known ones for any military application include anodized aluminum, alumina, FR4, metal core pcb, and iron. The requirement of the design indicates the circuit board’s dimensions such as thickness, width, and length.
Steps in Fabricating Military PCBs
After you have chosen the material, your first ever process has to do with applying a copper coating to the whole board. Next, is the printing of the circuit layout on the circuit board through a photosensitive process.
Next, is the use of a photoengraving process, utilized in etching off the copper that is not included in the circuit board. Then the copper that results creates tracks or traces of the circuit. There are two major processes used in connecting circuit traces.
The first is mechanical milling, which utilizes a CNC machine for the removal of any unnecessary or unwanted copper from circuit boards.
Next, a silk-screen, etch-resistant, printing process is then applied for the covering of regions where there are traces. Then now, the board has copper traces having no circuit components. For the components’ mounting, your drill holes at points where you can place electronics and electrical parts on the circuit board.
At times, lasers are useful in drilling the holes. For designs that are more complex, you use a unique tungsten carbide-made drill. After drilling the holes, you insert hollow rivets in them, or you use an electroplating process in coating them.
By doing so, the board’s layers will get some electrical connection between them. You then apply a masking material. This helps in coating the whole PCB asides from the holes and the pads. Different masking materials exist such as lead-free solder, immersion silver, lead solder, etc.
The last step necessary for the process of fabrication is screen printing the circuit board, therefore making the legend and labels to appear at the right locations.
Assembly Process of Military PCB
After the fabrication, and before you assemble the printed circuit board, you test the board in order to verify the functionality. Generally, two malfunction types can lead to failure in PCBs: an open or a short.
A short has to do with connection formed between at least two circuit points, which shouldn’t exist normally. For open, this is a point whereby there should be a connection; however, there isn’t any. You have to correct these faults before you go ahead with assembling the printed circuit board.
Sadly, there are PCB manufacturers out there that fail to test their circuit boards before shipping them. This can lead to issues at the location of the customer. Therefore, quality testing is a very important process for the fabrication of PCBs. With testing, you are sure that your PCB boards are working properly before you place the components.
Assembly of Military PCB
The assembly process of military PCB undergoes two major techniques: through-hole and surface mount. For military PCB, these techniques are usually combined in order to see maximum efficiency in the PCB’s performance and design.
For other cases, PCB manufacturers make use of very skilled technicians in soldering small or minute parts making use of microscopes. Also, they utilize other equipment such as soldering tip, tweezers, etc.
Testing the Assembly of the Military PCB
After populating the PCB board, the testing becomes very important in the checking and ascertaining of the components’ functionality.
You can conduct this testing in different ways. Let’s consider them.
- Power on; this is the functional test that checks if your PCB is actually functioning the way it should.
- Power on; this is the in-circuit test that checks the physical measurements
- Power off; this is the automated optical and visual inspection
- Power off; analysis of the analog signature
Packaging Military Circuit Boards
After designing, fabricating, and testing your military PCB adequately, the next step is to package your military circuit boards for shipping.
Packaging is usually important for military printed circuit boards and you should handle it with care and appropriately. Also, all assembled printed circuit boards, are static-sensitive. This is why you must place them in any antistatic plastic bag during shipping and handling.
It is obvious that, before completing military PCBs, asides from equipment, PCB fabrication, assembly, and test is very important. Also, proper care is very important. This is why you must do serious research about the manufacturing company and their background before going ahead to choose them for your rigid flex PCB.
With this, you will be able to get high-quality and genuine services as well.
Military PCB Applications
Military PCB can be useful in diverse areas. They are useful in general defense, aviation, naval operations, and space applications.
Systems for cross targeting
This is also referred to as cryptanalysis systems. These help in decrypting and analyzing ciphers, codes, and encrypted text.
The systems utilize mathematical formulas in searching for vulnerabilities in the algorithm, as well as breaks in the information or cryptography security systems.
Majority of today’s military network systems work with automation. Military PCBs helps in enabling and implementing network automation in order to control, as well as manage any repetitive process. Also, they play a major role in improving the service of the network during any operation.
I have stressed this point already that reliability is very important in the military. With radar installations, you will be able to transmit any radio waves that are necessary for military communication. Durable and high-quality PCBs are therefore useful in the installations. These ensure greater reliability and efficiency.
All equipment for radio communication used by the military, such as tower radios, tactical cell phones, etc, need printed circuit boards to work effectively.
Majority of equipment used for military telecommunication includes LED indicators and displays. All these make use of PCBs.
All instruments used in monitoring threats, conduction of military operations, as well as the operation of the equipments make use of PCBs.
Other applications of military PCBs include control tower, monitoring equipment, temperature sensors, power supplies, power converters, and more.
This is the end of our article. We hope you enjoyed every bit of it, as we have tried our best to cover the necessary areas. However, if you still have doubts, or you have question(s) bothering your mind, you can contact us. We will help you the best way we can.