The interior parts of electronics include thin boards and small components that are often quite delicate. Though they’re durable and strong enough for mild impact and daily operation, pieces like printed circuit boards come with certain vulnerabilities worth addressing. Here are a few tips for handling printed circuit boards.
Minimize Physical Contact
The more you touch a PCB, the more likely you are to damage part of the sensitive electronics. Minimize physical contact with your printed circuit boards as much as possible. In place of handheld movements, consider using a transportation rack and tray.
Ensure Coatings Are Set Before Transport
Most printed circuit boards require a series of coatings to overlay the surface before installation. These conformal coatings repel water and keep corrosion at bay. If you don’t currently have a coating system, explore the benefits of low-pressure overmolding and learn how it can improve your PCB safety.
Keep a Clean Workstation
PCBs have small points of connection that could deteriorate if dirt or debris get in the way. Keep your workstation as clean as possible. This means removing all clutter, routinely sanitizing surfaces, and washing your hands throughout the workday. Also, consider evaluating your handling procedures to maximize cleanliness and minimize interaction with unclean surfaces.
Avoid Electrostatic Discharge
We’ve all had static electricity build up from our socks, leading to a small shock. These electrostatic discharges are common enough that you should be wary of them in the workplace around PCBs. Printed circuit boards carry an array of sensitive components with internal circuitry that a shock will easily damage.
Remember these tips for handling printed circuit boards as you manage your day-to-day operations. Though each PCB is different and each procedure will involve more in-depth protocols, sticking to these basics will ensure a cleaner, safer, and more effective product.