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female employee inspecting final pcb productPrinted Circuit Board Testing and Inspection

Inspection and testing are essential aspects of bringing a product to market. A persistent failure or recall issue can not only cost you money, but can also do irreparable damage to your reputation for quality. For this reason alone, it’s essential to partner with a PCB manufacturer who offers comprehensive circuit board testing.

At EMSG, we understand that quality control isn’t something you can compromise on. As a full-service supplier of turnkey board testing solutions, we will work with you to determine the best way of testing your products while maintaining acceptable cycle times.

Read on for technical details about our optical inspection, functional and in-circuit PCB testing services as well as information about our broader commitment to quality assurance. We are happy to answer any of your questions by phone or email or to arrange an in-person consultation at your convenience.

Circuit Board Testing Services

Different products require different testing routines. EMSG visually inspects under magnification 100% of the units we produce to make sure they meet all customer qualifications and expectations. Beyond that, we can provide several other services to ensure that every item leaving our facility meets your unique specifications.

Depending on volume and complexity, EMSG may optically inspect your product by using AOI, automated optical inspection. 1 Mirtec MV-3L and 1 Mirtec MV 3 OMNI 3D accurately detect component-level defects, such as reversed polarity, missing, damaged and wrong components. The system detects lead-level defects, such as bridging and insufficient solder, for components as small as 12-mil pitch.

If your product requires testing, EMSG can offer in-circuit testing with the Genrad 2287A. Additionally, EMSG can functionally test your assemblies using either customer supplied test equipment or our own in-house designed test equipment.

Our PCB Assembly and Design Process

PCB inspection plays an essential role in ensuring you receive printed circuit boards that function properly. However, visual inspection alone cannot address all issues with PCB quality. Attention to detail during the assembly process helps finished circuit boards pass inspection more consistently.

At EMSG, we understand the importance of getting the job done right the first time — within your budget and your schedule. You can't afford to wait for units to be remade after flaws are detected, so we'll do everything we can to assemble high-quality circuit boards to your exact specifications on the first attempt. Although our machines work quickly — with some pieces of equipment placing up to 80,000 components per hour — we never sacrifice quality for speed.

We assemble units that function properly and meet strict client specifications by striving for quality during every stage of manufacturing, from prototyping to PCB production testing and inspection. Learn more about how each step in our PCB assembly process contributes to a perfect finished product below.

Prototyping and Custom Design

Before beginning the manufacturing process, we help clients create a prototype PCB based on a custom design. Prototyping allows us to resolve issues with components and assembly before doing a high-volume run, saving money and time when we begin assembling the final circuit boards.

At this time, our engineers can also help you select the right assembly method for your needs. We have machinery capable of handling both surface mount assembly and through-hole assembly. Surface mount assembly involves attaching components to the surface of the circuit board, while through-hole assembly utilizes holes drilled in the circuit board to attach leads.

Preparing the PCB

After we have successfully created a prototype that matches your design specifications, we can begin assembling circuit boards using the method of your choice. The assembly process starts by preparing the PCB for components. Using a solder paste printer, we carefully place solder paste on the parts of the circuit board that will contain components. Heating the solder paste causes electrical connections to form during the reflow process.

Some PCB manufacturers use stencils and squeegees to place solder paste. Our printing method allows us to place solder paste more accurately and efficiently. To make sure there are no printing defects, we check the solder paste before attaching components.

Placing and Setting Components

Next, we attach components to the circuit board using accurate and efficient pick-and-place machines. The solder paste holds the components in place temporarily until the boards undergo reflow soldering, the part of the process during which solder joints are formed. We control temperature carefully during this stage to create acceptable solder joints without damaging components.

Final Inspection

Once the circuit boards are complete, they undergo a final inspection. In addition to visual inspection using AOI, we also conduct in-house X-ray inspections. This step allows us to check BGA solder points underneath the components, which are impossible to inspect visually. Once we are certain your circuit boards meet all applicable standards, we'll ship the finished units to their destination.

Building a Culture of Quality From the Ground Up

EMSG’s York, PA, production facility features an ISO 9001-registered quality management system that helps us maintain tight control over all aspects of our operation. IS0 9001 is an essential complement to our PCB testing and automated optical inspection services — one that helps us reduce the risk of common manufacturing defects from the ground up.

ISO 9001 is based on a set of measurable and scalable processes that are continually improved and refined as our business needs — and those of our clients — evolve. It is a critical tool for accountability and transparency and one that ensures all our PCB testing services are performed according to standard industry practices using well-maintained and properly calibrated equipment.

Industries We Serve

EMSG can provide PCB testing and inspection services that meet the requirements of many demanding industries. We complement this expertise with a comprehensive quality control process that ensures our products meet the benchmarks for reliability and stress resistance necessary in these applications.

Our PCB testing services are useful for consumer goods, telecom and communications equipment, energy and utilities, LED lighting, maritime applications along with others. To better serve clients in the medical device and food industries, we are registered with the FDA to provide sanitary manufacturing and testing solutions.

As a small batch manufacturer, we have the flexibility necessary to adapt our services according to your specific requirements and implement the right testing method.

Contact EMSG to Learn More

We are happy to offer inspection and testing as part of our PCB manufacturing services or as part of our turnkey box build or contract manufacturing solutions. The first step in any project is a thorough consultation, in which our engineers will take the time to understand your manufacturing and testing requirements and put together a detailed quote outlining how we can help.

To get started, get in touch with us online or call our head office at 717-764-0002 today.

We want to work with you!