How laying down a 3D PCB layout is vital to the PCB design work?
Having a three-dimensional or 3D view of your PCB design is not a current or modern practice. In fact, it started long back with the emergence of PCB design tools. However, the requirement and necessity of having a 3D layout artwork for your PCB have grown since the past few years. Having a view of electrical as well as mechanical models in 3D, enable the PCB designers to have a great virtual epitome and image of as to how the PCB will look after placing the required components and finishing the assembly. This provision is not offered and even cannot be facilitated in a 2D layout PCB design environment.
Advantages of Having a 3D Environment for PCB Design
There are several advantages and benefits associated with working on PCB design in a three-dimensional environment:
- Obtaining an Accurate Visual Feedback of the final PCB Assembly
When PCB Designers work in a three-dimensional environment; they receive an immediate visual feedback, of the final design, as and when they place the components over the virtual model of the printed circuit board.
This way any kind of concerns which may arise during the actual assembly of the components over the printed circuit board is caught hold of early on itself and can be rectified immediately, making the manufacturing and assembly phase fast and free of any kind of faults and errors. The three-dimensional visualization of component placement on the printed circuit board, thus, helps to save a lot of time as well as resources in the later phases when the final PCB design is put forward for manufacturing and assembly.
Moreover, the physical interface components of the printed circuit board can be validated in a three-dimensional design environment as a three-dimensional model helps to ensure that there is no interference between the different components of the printed circuit board.
- Components Don’t Cross the Boundaries of the set Solder Mask
The final design of the printed circuit board, even when it is accurate when it comes to actual component placement; the component bodies do, many times, unknowingly overlap the designators for reference and sometimes the placement of the components even overlap the clearances of the set solder mask. This way the assembly, as well as the manufacturing process, is delayed as the PCB design has to be sent back to the designer for review and making the necessary edits.
However, with the help of a three-dimensional printed circuit board layout design; it can be made sure, well before the actual assembly and manufacturing part that the component bodies won’t overlap the designators for reference. Also, it can be discovered immediately, if the component bodies are unknowingly placed in a position where they are overlapping the clearances of the solder mask.
Hence, a three-dimensional layout design gives an entirely new face to the PCB design review process.
- Three-Dimensional View enables Reliable and Proper Mounting of the PCB
In some scenarios, even when a designer has properly reviewed the final design, certain obstacles can be faced, in the development of the printed circuit board, during the mounting process. Mechanical hardware such as screws, standoffs, and even washers can be utilized virtually in a three-dimensional PCB layout.
This way the entire design of the printed circuit board can be virtually tied together in a three-dimensional environment facilitating virtual mounting of the PCB. Hence, a PCB designer, before finalizing the design, can go through the mounting process virtually to ensure that there will be no blindsides when the printed circuit board is actually mounted.
- Verification of the Enclosures & Mechanical Parts like brackets, electromagnetic shields etc.
Another important aspect of the PCB design process is to ensure that all vital clearances including the solder mask clearances are taken care of. A three-dimensional PCB design helps to ensure this by facilitating the import of virtual enclosures and mechanical parts like stiffeners, electromagnetic shields etc.
As you can understand the above-mentioned advantages of the three-dimensional PCB layout, a printed circuit board designer will, actually, be aware that the final design will work correctly, without raising any kind of errors, faults or concerns, in the remaining phases, like assembly and installation, of the development of the printed circuit board.