Total Board Solutions Ltd
With over 100 years combined experience designing printed circuit boards, TBS experts can cover all types of designs using all the relevant requirements to meet the latest manufacturing and assembly techniques. Our customers are many and work in various markets covering everything from start-up companies with a simple idea to multi-national companies with wide ranging products.
We continually keep our design skills up to date and we have achieved CID qualification which is the only formal qualification for the PCB design industry.
Every designer that works for TBS is an expert in their field, but although you may work with one designer they have the backing and knowledge of everyone in the TBS team. Our designers have all worked in the industry for many years and therefore our knowledge base of the various design types is complete. We have designed every type of board here are just a few :-
Standard Analogue and Digital Designs, Power Supplies, High-Power/Voltage Designs, RF Designs, High-Speed Designs – Signal Integrity, Designs with EMC and EMI considerations and Microwave Designs.
With all these different types of printed circuit board we also have to have a complete knowledge of the various styles of boards that can be fabricated and assembled, this means we can provide the optimum solution to you PCB design requirement. Our knowledge covers all of the following board styles :-
Single sided, Double sided, Multilayer, Flexible Circuits (Flexi’s), Flexible-Rigid Circuits (Flex-Rigid’s), Ceramic Substrates (Hybrid design), Exotic Materials (Polyimide, PVC etc).
With all these different board styles comes a complete knowledge of a board’s construction and which particular one would suit our customers’ needs to provide a cost effective design that can be fabricated and assembled as simply and cheaply as possible. We can produce designs using the following techniques :-
Through hole, Surface Mount (SMT), Blind Via, Buried Via, Micro Via, Stacked Micro Via, Via in Pad.
The board construction is important but also the board assembly is equally important. We have the skills to create your library to IPC7351B, or we can check your library has been created to your specific standard. Without correct footprint patterns a board will fail, this is a very important part of board design which is quite often completed and not checked, or completed but not to any particular standard. Component types are constantly changing and we have the skills needed to create designs, here are just a few :-
Through hole Component, SMD Components, BGAs, µBGAs and LGAs, µVias, blind and buried vias, CSPs, Flip-chip, Bare-die, LGA (Land Grid Arrays), LTM Power Devices
Our aim is to provide the right solution to you at the right time. We pride ourselves on being able to match the right design, fabrication and assembly techniques to deliver a cost effective solution for both your prototype and production needs.
TBS are able to offer a solution to suit your needs; we can offer both on-site and off-site design capabilities using a number of different software packages. This allows you to free up your own design team with their licenses during times of high workload; working together like this enables you to meet aggressive timescales. Even if we take the work off-site this does not mean an over the wall approach, our aim is to seamlessly integrate with your design team. We have the software to enable your team to see the work we are doing just as if we were sitting in the same office. We can create a virtual office environment where you can have multi-user meetings even sharing the screen so modifications can be explained easily – you can even take control!
Or commitment is to produce designs that are to the highest quality and we have strong partnerships with a number of fabricators and assemblers. This means that your design will be constructed using the best DFM (Design for Manufacture), DFA (Design for Assembly) and DFT (Design for Test) considerations. We can also offer a black box solution, if that is a requirement. This means you can hand us a schematic and we will send you back the physical design fully populated.
Although our design team are experts in the industry with a wealth of knowledge, we do not keep this knowledge to ourselves, we are more than happy to pass on this knowledge to our customers as part of our commitment to excellent PCB design skills.
TBS provides an efficient design service to our customer base while taking into account all the necessary design criteria to ensure a right-first-time product. Our extensive knowledge enables the design team to not only deliver the product on time but also provide cost effective solutions by considering the design trade-offs at an early stage in the development process.
We currently support the following software tools :-
Mentor Graphics – Boardstation
Mentor Graphics – Expedition
Mentor Graphics – PADs
We also offer the following services :-
Rapid Turnaround Prototyping
Outsourcing your PCB Design
Black Box Design
Rapid Turnaround Prototyping
In any project there is an initial rush to get something on the bench to test. Whether the requirement is for initial testing of a concept or for feasibility of the design then TBS can help. We can advise of the type of board stackup that would be required and help you to understand how component selection can affect the cost of a design. Once you have made these selections we are able to provide a rapid turnaround service to get you physical boards back to you as soon as possible.
Outsourcing PCB Design
If you are a small company or a start-up you may not have the resource to support an in-house facility for PCB design and fabrication. TBS can provide a complete support service helping you at every stage of your product design. In this way you do not need to have a full time PCB design group and you also do not have the cost involved in purchasing software.
TBS offer a design service that can take your schematic supplied in any format you like from an electronic design even down to a scrap of paper, we will then complete the design with your approval at every step of the way. If you wish we can then get the board fabricated and assembled for you all to your specifications.
TBS has a number of expert PCB design engineers that are willing to come and work on-site. This means that they are available to liaise with your engineers. Our designers will work either full or part-time at your site. We can supply the relevant licenses for them to work with or they can work on your machines using your licenses, whichever best suits your needs.
If you have other designers our staff are happy to answer any questions about PCB design or the software that you use. This can be particularly helpful if you are moving from one software package to another. Designers know the commands they need but this way can help kick-start them into finding their way around the new tool. We can also help migrating any data. Also this means you only have to pay for PCB design staff when you have a new design or a work overload.
Black Box Design
Within the electronics industry the requirement to get to market in the shortest possible time has never been greater. Even within the mil-aero arena with many countries bidding for the same contract, the bid phase has become increasing important.
TBS can offer a complete solution from schematic capture through to the completed board fitted within a mechanically designed box if that is your requirement. We have contacts within the industry that specialize in fast turnaround solutions. We have been supplying this solution to the industry for over 20 years. With our mechanical design capability we now feel we can offer the complete package. This service can either act as your own product design department or free up your own engineers to design the production model.
Libraries are the very essence of any PCB design. A good library can make designing a board simple in the confidence that you know all the footprints have been created to a specification be it an internal one or an industry approved one such as IPC-7351B. A library needs to ensure that the component can fit on the footprint without issues such as tombstoning during assembly. All orientated parts need to have a clear accurate pin 1 position defined, these sort of issues can cause delays when a board is being assembled and in the worst of cases can cause a board to be scrapped.
Our expertise can help with either creation of a new library or checking/updating an old library to bring it in line with the latest specifications. In some companies once a library is created it is never re-visited to check that all the footprints conform to the latest assembly requirements.
A library can also hold other data that your company may need to specify such as logic/thermal simulation models, 3D step models, a company part number, where the part can be sourced from to name just a few. We can create/revise your library to make sure all this information is in place.
With components getting smaller and smaller the amount of heat they produce is increasing. If you wait until a board is fabricated to find any thermal issues it is too late! Resolving the issues at this stage would definitely mean a re-spin of a board and a chance you could be late to market causing you a loss of market share or even maybe risk losing the whole design contract.
At TBS we know there are a number of software tools you can buy to overcome this issue, but they are expensive and you need to be able not only to interpret the results but also know what measures to put in place to resolve the problem.
TBS has a thermal analysis expert with over 15 years experience, he is also qualified up to doctorate level. His unique talents have been employed by many companies in all types of industry. He has written many white papers and delivered seminars on the subject. He can analysis your board at the placement stage and make suggestions as to how components could be moved to optimize the thermal capability of the board. This can be done from board level right up to enclosure and system level analysis.
TBS know that a PCB cannot be considered in isolation. We have the capability to import and export information from our software tools into your mechanical design system. We also have a mechanical designer with a wealth of experience in all types of the industry. He can take your concept and produce a mechanical scheme followed up with a full set of detail drawings that either you or we can then fabricate. If you just want to confirm that your ideas are feasible, then he can do that too.
We feel that with a mechanical designer onboard we can offer a complete service from schematic sketch right through to populated board, analyzed and placed within an enclosure.
A companies requirements can vary considerably during a products design cycle. In the initial stage then stackup, board routing strategy, critical component placement, mechanical constraints.
The next stage may involve thermal analysis of your design, this could cause components to move which again may affect your mechanical design.
Then routing of your design, track and gap, via considerations etc.
The final stage of the board design is any legend then to post process.
But there may now be a mechanical requirement to complete an enclosure for the board to fit.
At TBS we can offer consultants at any or all of the above stages. As well as help with any software issues you may have. Whatever the stage or the requirement we can call on our vast experience in the circuit board design process to address your needs.
We have successfully fulfilled a number of consultancy engagements - below is an overview of a few of the projects that we have managed.
• Joint venture with fabrication house to improve custom design techniques to work towards achieving 6 sigma by reducing their opportunities for error ultimately with the aim to lower their fabrication costs.
• Library management – initial definition, creation and maintenance of a library.
• Worked with Mentor Graphics’ application engineers to understand the problems PCB designers face every day.
• Kick-start program to train a design team in the latest design techniques
• Migration from Mentor Graphics® Board Station® to Expedition Enterprise
• Define and institutionalized a best-practice working environment between fabricators and assemblers