Podcast Ep. 13: Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) for PCB Assembly
In this episode we delve into the process of Automated Optical Inspection (AOI).
CircuitHub is a software based, full turn-key electronics manufacturing platform. We offer PCB assembly services, based in the US, while serving customers worldwide.
Now you might ask — "There are many other US PCB manufacturers available. What sets CircuitHub apart?" The main difference between CircuitHub and other Contract Manufacturers (CMs) in the market is the technology behind CircuitHub that powers it. This article highlights some of the main factors differentiate us from other existing PCB manufacturing solutions.
Most manufacturers still only accept Gerber and BOM files. CircuitHub is one of the few CMs that reliably works solely using original EDA design files.
While Gerber is a very well known format for transmitting manufacturing data to your manufacturer, there are less well understood downsides. Although some limited automated analysis of Gerber data is possible, the majority of CMs require you to manually provide them with additional information not captured in the Gerbers. This can slow down process, and is ultimately unnecessary since your EDA files usually contains all of this information in one form or another. We believe your time is much better spent focusing on your design itself rather than the logistics of getting it made.
EDA files provide an almost perfect picture of your circuit board and assembly. By relying on these files CircuitHub is able to make sure you get precisely what you ordered with no unnecessary interruptions or distractions.
Since CircuitHub accepts original EDA files, getting a quote is as easy as dropping your files into your web browser. Our system extracts all the necessary BOM, bare board, and assembly information directly from your design files. Within minutes you will be given an accurate quote that is order ready.
Although many CMs provide a way to get an online quote, most of these quotes require review by a human to ensure that they are accurate. These reviews are usually done through tedious and time consuming emails and phone calls. We go into more depth on how our instant quoting differs from the industry standard in this post.
The standard mode of communication in the electronics manufacturing industry is email and phone calls. This often leaves you multiple steps away from the production team, resulting in poor issue management, wasted time, and more manufacturing errors.
CircuitHub solves this problem with our issue tracking system that connects you directly to the relevant team members assembling your boards. There is no more "broken telephone" effect caused by messages being passed back and forth across different company divisions. Organizing and capturing all of these unstructured communications in one place allows us to maintain an audit trail and make sure that everyone is always on the same page.
Additionally, this purpose-built system allows us to respond to order related queries in a timely manner. This is challenging for any manufacturer dealing with day-to-day manufacturing operations while simultaneously managing internal and external communications.
CircuitHub offers affordable pricing at very fast and competitive lead times, enabling you to go from design to functioning prototype in as little as three working days. We know that the period spent waiting for a prototype to come back is, more often than not, time spent twiddling your thumbs. Our platform is designed to help you rapidly iterate on designs, eliminate wasted time, and accelerate your time to market.
CircuitHub is one of few manufacturers that can manufacture boards of a wide range of complexities from quantities 1 to 10,000. This allows you to test and finalize your design and then place an order for your larger production runs, without having to repeat the process with another manufacturer. Look out for improvements in the near future that will help make scaling to production even easier!
Rather than being a traditional manufacturer, at our core we are a technology company. Being software-based allows us to innovate, rather than relying only on processes and equipment to get the job done. We are continuously making changes that not only improve our manufacturing services, but also provides our customers with the best possible experience.
A couple of things we are currently working on include accepting more EDA file formats, improved quoting, and expanding our production capabilities.
If you're interested in learning more about how our software platform works, a good place to get started is our how it works page. Feel free to reach out to us if you'd like to speak to someone directly, or to set up a demo.