The tech world can seem awash with acronyms and sometimes even the experienced electronics engineer can find it hard to keep up with all the CJ (Current Jargon). Even PCB itself was once PWB… for Printed Wiring Board, rather than Printed Circuit Board. As well as a supplier of the actual Printed Circuit Boards in UK, Hi5 would also like to lend a helping hand, and start to decode some of this terminology, as though pulling apart the circuit board itself. So here are a few of the key terms explained:
In terms of design you might come across CAD – Computer Aided Design, with computers used to design circuit boards, rather than the older method of actual drawing. Design For Manufacturing (DFM) is a process that then checks that design against aspects such as the minimal trace width and hole clearance required.
Moving on to manufacture, Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) is software that, rather like CAD, uses software to check the suitability of a product, assisting with the DRC – Design Rule Check.
In terms of the boards themselves, there’s ENIG – Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold, as well as Non-plated Through Holes (NPTH) and plated through holes (PTH, sometimes VIA or VIAS), that allow connection between the various sides of the IC, the Integrated Circuit itself. If there are two rows of leads through-hole mounted, this may be referred to as DIP – for Dual In-line Package, whereas two parallel rows of pins surface mounted will be a Small Outline Integrated Circuit (SOIC). A UK printed circuit board will also incorporate Surface Mount Devices (SMD) and Surface Mount Technology (SMT).
Post-manufacture you may need to test the parameters and performance of the PCB (printed circuit board), which might require ATE – Automated Test Equipment, and any use of dangerous materials, especially in the States, might necessitate referral to the RoHS – Restriction on Use of Hazardous Substances.
And if you’ve got through all that, it’s probably time for a NLD.
Nice Lie Down.