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The Future of PCB Manufacturing Uses the Cloud
Technology is everywhere in the present day - it works its way into every aspect of your life for the better. The cloud is one of many innovations that is maximizing your abilities for storage, connectivity and more. Its integration with printed circuit board (PCB) creation optimizes the design and manufacturing processes. 

The cloud brings about digital change in positive ways. Designers and engineers can now create PCBs like never before as the cloud becomes part of their foundation.

The Current Progress

As cloud technology becomes more popular within engineering and manufacturing, the designs of PCBs will continue to improve. Platforms like Altium 365 and OrCAD integrate the cloud as part of their systems. You can then have remote access to other developers, a range of tools and resources and a user-friendly interface that requires no maintenance. 

Cloud-based PCB manufacturing offers the ability to work with electronic computer-aided design (ECAD) and mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) from one system. With a combination of ECAD and MCAD, you can maintain your standard methods of design and bring them to life through the platform. You will also be able to use schematics, PCB layout, PCB footprint and 3D visualization to create your design.  

These functions are cloud-based, meaning that you can access them from your laptop, phone, tablet and any other device with the program on it - and wherever there's an internet connection. The cloud takes operations a step further, though, and lets you improve upon designer-to-manufacturer collaboration. 

How It's Helping

Using cloud-based software for PCB manufacturing allows for an optimized approach and creation process. From anywhere in the world, you can connect with different people in your team in real-time. Everyone will receive live updates regarding the design and can communicate back and forth with each other. 

Part of the issue with manual PCB design is the lack of two-way communication between manufacturers and designers. Cloud manufacturing fixes that setback with its remote features. You can also collaborate on the same design in real-time.

These new cloud developments not only improve upon communication but the overall process as well. They allow you to create in a smoother, user-friendly way while understanding where obstacles may come in - such as requiring specific materials for design, like G10, or alternations that suppliers require.

With its global connections, you can instantly update everyone in the supply chain and your team. Further, you can focus on the work instead of any glitches, too - cloud technology requires less hardware, software and maintenance than traditional PCB manufacturing.

This step towards cloud integration is monumental. It improves upon traditional designing, adds better communication and graphics and optimizes the overall process. 

Where Will It Go From Here?

Cloud-base PCB manufacturing is groundbreaking. And although this combination is the current biggest innovation for PCBs, experts believe that more developments will come in the future, improving the process further. Some of these updates will include coating, communication about obstacles and automation. 

One update will entail fixing coating issues of PCBs. With manual creation, designers cannot put conformal coating on anything in the PCB that has to dissipate heat. With digital design, though, experts hope to change that. Small fixes like these will bring about significant improvements. 

Communication is another area of interest for developers. First, the two-way street of communication between designers and manufacturers can always use more efficient means of connecting. This will most likely entail smaller updates since cloud-based software allows for optimal communication as is.

Second, designers and manufacturers need better communication from their software and overall process about issues and obstacles that they will run into. Digital PCB platforms will improve upon their detection of issues within the model to optimize time. 

One way they could do this is through automation, which is going to impact the industry more and more. With automation, the software could solve a number of issues instantly and provide better feedback for users. 

With these updates and more, this new age of digital, cloud-based PCB design and manufacturing is just getting started. 


About the Author

Kayla Matthews 

Kayla Matthews is a tech-loving blogger who writes and edits Follow her on Twitter @productibytes to read all of her latest posts!
Published Friday, March 20, 2020 8:44 AM by David Marshall
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