Monthly Archives: April 2012

Printed Circuit Board Stiffeners

Do you work with large profile PCB’s?  Do you work with thin PCB’s?  As the size increases, the printed circuit board can have issues with warp and bow creating challenges during assembly.  Handling can be an issue with thin boards.  If either of these issues sound like familiar struggles, check out  the new product we are working with;  “The Universal Stiffener”.

Typical PCB stiffeners are constructed with a rectangular bar with drilled holes.  But, that process can be expensive.  The Universal Stiffener reduces this expense with the design of an ingenious bar shape that will accept a screw anywhere along its length.  (They say a picture is worth 1,000 words so please see the attached picture.)

There is no need for a custom stiffener and the universal stiffener can be used with the existing tooling holes on your PCB.  There is no need to customize, you can adopt the new stiffener with no changes.

In addition to saving cost on the stiffener, there are a number of other benefits:

  • The same bar will mount on PCB’s with different hole locations
  • Eliminate close tolerances between mounting holes
  • In most cases, the stiffener will occupy less PCB precious real estate
  • Easy to install, no special tools required
  • Can be mounted over insulated spacers to clear copper traces or wire adds
  • Can be anodized different colors for coding
  • Ideal PCB label area, when used on rear edge of PCB
  • Strong and light-weight
  • Can also be used as a heat sink or power/ground bus (use metal spacers and washers)

The Universal Stiffener comes in standard sizes and can be customized to the length you need.  The manufacturer is happy to provide samples and offer engineering advice to make sure the stiffener ordered is the best fit for you needs.  Check them out!   THE UNIVERSAL STIFFENERImageImage

Customer Service for PCB’s

We’ve been thinking a lot about customer service.  We know that people (including us) pay a lot of attention to customer service in their personal shopping experiences.  Who hasn’t complained about having to wait in line for even 5 minutes to check out at the grocery store?   Or thought, “Am I really happy to wait 60 minutes to have a pizza delivered”??    How about calling the telephone company for a quick service call and being met with automated responses with no way around it for the first 10 minutes.  We know, we’ve been there! 

It is not uncommon for us to choose one store over another based on the customer service and the overall experience while shopping there.   So how much attention is given to customer service in the electronics field, particularly in the PCB market?

We have worked in this industry for a very long time and have seen a wide range of customer service levels offered from different manufacturers.   The one thing they all have in common is that EVERY COMPANY THINKS they are giving the best customer service around.  Some do and many do not.   But in fairness, we are on the other side of the desk.  We have never purchased a PCB. 

This leads to the next question, what really IS important to the PCB “consumer”.  What attributes contribute to someone saying “I LOVE working with XXX Company for my printed circuit boards”.

What makes you feel like a valued customer? 

Is it time?  Quick response to RFQ’s, order confirmations, schedule changes, questions in general? 

Is it the overall communication?  Friendly, courteous, professional, being able to get to the right person, right away?  Easy to understand answers?

Is it quality?  Full quantities, no rejections, no issues about product meeting standards?

Is it design assistance?  DFM, consultation and recommendations, ease of resolution to engineering questions?

Is it feeling that your requirements are important?  A thank you when you place an order, follow up after shipment to make sure everything met your expectations, that your business matters?

Is it something else that we haven’t even thought of ??

What is the magic combination that makes PCB purchasing a positive experience instead of “something that has been done”??????

You can help OMNI to help you.