Automotive PCB Manufacturing and Assembly
IATF16949:2016 | Factory | China | Turnkey
From the mechanical beasts of the past, the automobile industry has advanced significantly. Modern vehicles are equipped with a diverse range of electrical technologies that enhance driving safety, entertainment, and environmental sustainability. PCB boards serve as the fundamental building blocks for these innovations, acting as the backbone for various automotive applications. However, it’s important to note that not all manufacturers are qualified to meet these demands.
Qualified Automotive PCBA Suppliers
For industries such as automotive, medical, aerospace, and others with stringent reliability requirements, selecting a PCBA supplier involves more than just compliance with IPC standards, it also necessitates verifying the possession of specialized certifications. For example, IATF 16949:2016 is a certification standard specifically tailored to the automotive industry. Its purpose is to assist automotive manufacturers and their supply chains in establishing highly reliable quality management systems, ensuring that the produced automotive components and products adhere to quality and safety standards.
Choosing a manufacturer like FS Technology, which provides certifications and possesses extensive industry experience, is the wiser choice for these industries. We deeply understand that automotive electronics must withstand extreme environments and exhibit a range of essential qualities, including: Ensuring that PCBA boards remain operational even in the presence of jolts and vibrations during vehicle operation; Using conformal coatings to guard against potential risks posed by electrolytes, fuels, coolants, and other chemical solutions; Signal integrity and electrical performance are key to making autonomous driving feasible.
Necessary Testing of Automotive PCB
To ensure compliance with production standards and meet requirements, it is essential to implement various testing methods. Here, we will explore some of the testing methods required for different parts of automotive electronics:
Thermal Cycling Test
Thermal Cycling Testing or TCT is an evaluation process designed to assess the resilience of PCB assemblies in the demanding automotive industry. It replicates the temperature fluctuations experienced within a vehicle’s engine compartment, cabin, and external components. The primary goal is to confirm that PCB can endure extreme temperature variations without compromising their functionality or structural integrity.
- Engine Compartment: Within the unforgiving confines of the engine compartment, where critical functions like engine management and emissions control are overseen by PCB, TCT plays a pivotal role. Temperature differentials in this environment can be extreme, ranging from bone-chilling 40°C during cold starts to scorching temperatures exceeding 100°C during engine operation. PCB must demonstrate their ability to withstand these conditions without succumbing to solder joint damage, delamination, or component failures.
- Interior Electronics: For PCB located in the vehicle’s cabin, responsible for functions such as infotainment systems and climate control, TCT is indispensable. It validates their capacity to cope with rapid temperature fluctuations resulting from weather variations and user preferences. The swift shifts between heating and cooling cycles can place substantial stress on these boards, potentially leading to electrical faults or connectivity issues.
Thermal Shock Testing or TST employed to assess the robustness of PCB assemblies in the demanding automotive sector. It replicates the abrupt temperature swings experienced in real-world situations such as driving a vehicle in changing weather conditions or facing unexpected temperature variations.
- Exterior Components: PCB is integrated into external vehicle components, including lighting systems and sensors. External vehicle components, including headlights and taillights, incorporate PCB boards that are subjected to rapid temperature variations. TST scrutinizes their reliability in handling sudden temperature fluctuations without developing cracks or material stresses that could compromise their longevity and performance.
- Infotainment Systems: Often house sensitive components like microprocessors and displays. TST evaluates their ability to withstand thermal shock and ensures they operate reliably when subjected to shifting between heating and cooling modes or when exposed to direct sunlight.
Temperature-Humidity Bias Test
Temperature-Humidity Bias or THB test combines elevated temperature and high humidity levels to assess the long-term reliability of PCB assemblies. It simulates the conditions that various vehicle components, including ECUs and interior electronics, may encounter when exposed to humidity and temperature variations.
- Interior Electronics: PCB located within the vehicle cabin undergo THB testing to evaluate their resistance to moisture and temperature fluctuations. This testing process helps prevent corrosion and electrical shorts, ensuring the continued functionality of climate control systems, instrument clusters, and audio systems.
- Electronic Control Units: ECU play a critical role in engine management and safety systems. THB testing is essential to verify their performance under harsh conditions and prevent corrosion-related damage that could affect vehicle operation and safety.
Automotive PCB Manufacturing Solutions
When selecting your automotive PCB, it is recommended to consider using high-end boards for special purposes. Here is an introduction to some board types:
In some automotive applications, such as radar, wireless communication, and ADAS, there are higher demands for signal integrity and transmission speed, necessitating high-frequency signals to achieve faster signal transmission for real-time responsiveness. However, high-frequency signals can introduce a range of issues, including signal attenuation, reflection, interference, and timing problems. To maintain the accuracy and reliability of high-frequency signal transmission, it is recommended to use 高周波プリント基板.
High-frequency PCB is specifically designed for high-frequency applications and typically employ special substrate materials such as PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) or Rogers materials. These materials have lower dielectric constant and lower loss tangent angle, ensuring that the circuit board can maintain excellent insulation performance and less signal loss even in high-frequency environments.
As mentioned earlier, automotive PCB may face physical impacts and temperature challenges during operation. In addition to rigorous testing, we can enhance thermal management performance and mechanical strength by increasing the appropriate copper thickness. Conventional PCB typically have copper foil layer thicknesses of 1-2 ounces, while heavy copper PCB imply copper foil layer thickness exceeding 3 ounces, and sometimes even reaching 10 ounces. Although increasing copper layer thickness results in higher production costs, this additional investment is worthwhile.
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, increasing copper thickness also enhances the circuit’s current-carrying capacity and reduces voltage drop, making heavy copper PCB widely applicable in power electronics, electric vehicles, and hybrid propulsion systems.
HDI board is renowned for its microvia structures, which consist of small, closely spaced laser-drilled holes, as opposed to conventional through-holes. The implementation of microvias has ushered in new innovations in PCB manufacturing and design techniques. These tiny holes increase routing density, allowing for larger traces to be densely packed within a given board area. As a result, compact layouts can be designed to accommodate the same or even more functionality.
Another significant feature is sequential lamination, a technique where board layers are manufactured one by one or in a sequence. This method offers various advantages, including facilitating the integration of complex and dense interconnections and enabling the stacking of components and traces in a three-dimensional configuration. These three-dimensional structures are instrumental in optimizing board space while meeting the evolving demands of the automotive industry.
HDI technology and the adoption of fine-pitch components are closely intertwined. Fine-pitch components are characterized by their closely spaced leads or contact points, enabling a higher component density on the board. The ultimate outcome is a reduction in the overall circuit board size used in vehicles!
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