You’ve carefully orchestrated your entire PCB manufacturing journey from design to prototyping and from manufacturing to testing. You’ve made it all work. It’s now time to pack and ship out those circuit boards.
Packaging PCBs is a complex process. Electronic components and printed circuit boards are considered fragile for shipping and need special packaging material to ensure they reach their destination in prime condition. Any damage in transit can lead to hefty losses—both in terms of material losses as well as opportunity losses as the entire supply chain can be affected by a failed delivery of circuit boards.
PCB packaging and delivery are highly controlled aspects in quality assurance and quality control processes.
The hazards in shipping PCBs!
Packing a PCB consignment for shipping is a specialized job. You must choose the right type of packaging to protect the circuit board from damage in transit. During shipping, boxes may be handled roughly (even if they are marked fragile!) and thrown off conveyor belts. Or they may hit other objects during loading or unloading. They may suffer from impact and vibration during transit. If the PCBs are to be stored for a specific duration, you must consider that while choosing the packaging.
But apart from these visible types of damage, other hazards that are not apparent to the naked eye can also damage PCBs. For example, moisture is one of the main enemies of electronic components. It damages electronic components and can even cause a short circuit on the board. Moisture can also corrode the traces on the circuit board.
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is one of the major hazards to PCBs during transit. ESD can permanently damage some electronic components. But more significantly, ESD can gradually diminish the functionality of devices or shorten the life of appliances that house these PCBs.
So, if you manufacture devices that contain components that are highly sensitive to ESD, your QC department may want to ensure that your PCB manufacturer ships the boards with the requisite packaging!
Let’s take a look at the different types of PCB packaging available to protect against these hazards:
This type of packaging is also called static shielding packaging.
The simplest type is anti-static bubble wrap which is commonly used to protect PCBs during transit. Its distinctive pink colour is due to a special anti-static coating that is applied to it. It is slightly different from regular bubble wrap as it goes beyond just cushioning the PCBs against rough handling in transit. Its anti-static properties mean that it will not generate ESD and also help dissipate any accumulated charge.
Another form of anti-static packing is the ESD bag or ‘pink poly’ bag. Made of polyethylene, it protects PCBs from ESD. You can use regular bubble wrap or foam as padding inside the bags for a cushioning effect.
Conductive anti-static bags are another variant which has a shiny metallic layer and a zipper-like seal. These are ideal if you expect your PCBs to be in storage or transit for a long time.
We’re all used to seeing little bags of silica gel in any electronic device packaging. Silica gel desiccant is a drying agent commonly used to absorb moisture and protect the device or equipment.
These desiccant packs are vacuum-sealed to remove any moisture. They act as barriers against moisture when placed in the package containing your PCBs—a simple and effective way to protect your circuit boards from moisture.
Rough handling during shipping can physically damage PCBs. Anti-vibration packaging absorbs vibrations or impact and protects the fragile electronic components on circuit boards.
Different filling materials can be used as padding or cushioning to absorb impact. For example, you can use regular bubble wrap or foam, or even elastic material to act as a cushion between the box’s contents and its outer packaging.
Sometimes, lightweight components are first placed in a moulded box, an inner packaging that takes the exact shape of the product so that it does not move around in its outer packaging during transit.
MIS: Trust us for customized PCB shipping & delivery
We take great care to package your PCB consignment appropriately to ensure it reaches you in prime condition.
We use a combination of anti-static packaging material and anti-moisture desiccant bags, vacuum-sealed to protect against moisture. In addition, we add padding material to make the package shock-proof, so no amount of rough handling will physically damage the PCBs inside.
Then it’s off to a reputed courier company to be delivered to your destination!
We also ship a comprehensive set of PCB assembly documents, including Bill of Materials (BOM), PCB Gerber and CAD data, PCB schematics and fabrication drawing, test specs, quality specs, and regulatory requirements.
Trust MIS Electronics to manage your PCBs from custom design to shipping, with safe, reliable, and on-time delivery. Contact us today for a no-obligation quote.