If your business relies on PCB manufacturing to produce your products, you'll probably do everything in your power to ensure the circuit board assembly services you use culminate in a high-quality result. After all, PCBs represent 31% of the cost of any product, meaning there's little room for error or delay. Your assembly house should be able to provide consistent boards and provide PCB inspection to ensure no detail is left to chance. However, none of this matters if you don't care for these PCBs correctly after they're produced. Failing to handle and store your printed circuit boards can cause irreparable and costly damage.
How to Handle Printed Circuit Boards
The first rule of handling PCBs is... don't. At least, as much as possible. You should minimize direct handling (meaning hands-on contact) with PCBs, opting to transport them on racks and tray carts whenever possible. If you do need to hold them directly, do so gently by their edges and wear clean gloves (and change them often). You should also utilize protective bags when transferring these boards between stations and keep all stations spotlessly clean to minimize the chances of debris contamination. Refrain from using hand lotions or other products that could compromise the quality of the board. You should ensure that handling areas do not contain items that can create static electricity (such as carpets, rugs, and other materials), as this can damage the boards you've obtained from your PCB manufacturing
How to Properly Store PCBs
How you store your PCBs matters, too. Even slight variants in environmental conditions can be disastrous for these sensitive materials. Excess moisture, heat, and cold air can all damage PCBs. These conditions can cause a PCB to short out, warp, or be exposed to mildew and mold. Dust can contaminate PCB components, as can chemicals and animal activity. It's essential that printed circuit boards be stored in warm, dry rooms with low humidity levels and consistent temperatures. You may utilize moisture barrier bags for this purpose, which should, in turn, be kept in a dry storage cabinet or in boxes. In general, PCBs should be stored for as short a time as possible to minimize possible damages.
In order to make the most of your PCBs, you'll need to be familiar with proper handling and storage techniques. Otherwise, you may end up spending more to replace damaged components or could jeopardize the functionality of your final product. To learn more about how we can assist you with all your PCB manufacturing needs, please contact us today.