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Featured Articles
ODB++ format for PCB designs In this piece, Amit Bahl emphasizes the benefits of ODB++ format compared to Gerbers and discusses the evolution of IPC-2581, the open format for PCB description that is being chalked out by IPC. Download Download
Why visit a board manufacturer? Read why board designers should witness first-hand the fabrication processes involved in PCB manufacturing to avoid layout respins. Download Download
Modern Printed Circuits features Sierra The October 2013 inaugural edition of the online magazine Modern Printed Circuits published by EEWeb features a cover-page interview with Sierra Circuits CEO and founder, Ken Bahl. Download Download
Sierra is first stop for new PCBs A featured report about Sierra Circuits' business and operations in San Jose Business Journal. Download Download
A Unique PCB Company Sierra Circuits' history and growth profiled in Circuit Tree magazine. Download Download
Data Sheets Are Incomplete Guides Amit Bahl explains why it is important to consult your PCB manufacturer on optimum material set and stackup for complex designs, especially boards built to satisfy Class 3A requirements. Download Download
The Ten Commandments of Design for Assembly The best way for designers to avoid problems during assembly is to communicate thoroughly and frequently with your assembly provider. But, just in case, columnist Amit Bahl has created the Ten Commandments of DFA. Download Download
The Hidden Economy of HDI At some level of circuit complexity, you'll have to carefully assess the cost of HDI construction versus not using HDI. Think strategically: Concentrate on yield at the outset of PCB design. Read Amit Bahl's analysis of HDI economy. Download Download
Solid Rigid-Flex Design Eases System Assembly Rigid-flex construction conserves board territory that cable connectors would otherwise consume, improves system reliability by eliminating connector solder junctions, and greatly increases the number of potential paths for board I/O. Read about the design rules for rigid-flex PCBs. Download Download
Yield Drives Profit Amit Bahl explains why you should consult your board manufacturer at the outset of design to identify materials that would provide the optimum balance of price, manufacturability, and performance based on your construction. Download Download
A Tale of Two Materials Finding the low-loss material that will provide the best balance of performance and board cost for a given application is more complicated than simply comparing laminate data sheets and prices. Data sheets do not reveal which materials involve relatively more or unusual processing steps during PCB fabrication, which can raise manufacturing cost. Read more of Amit Bahl's October, 2013 PCB Design Magazine column, in which he compares the manufacturing properties of two materials that have similar electrical characteristics. Download Download
Behind the Scenes with IPC-2581 Sierra Circuits is the first U.S. manufacturer to fabricate a PCB from a design file in the IPC-2581 format. A column by Amit Bahl in the November 2013 edition of The PCB Design Magazine details the collaboration with Fujitsu Network Communications on behalf of the IPC-2581 Consortium toward validating this important format for communicating design data. Download Download
A Few Notes about TDR Amit Bahl's column in the December edition of The PCB Design Magazine features a discussion with Ken Taylor, the president of US operations for Polar Instruments, regarding the advantages and limitations of time-domain reflectometry for impedance tests. Download Download
Design Choices for Soldermask on Microwave PCBs PTFE-based laminates are the materials of choice for microwave circuits because of their low loss at elevated frequencies. Though the processes to fabricate boards with PTFE-based laminates differ in some ways from those for conventional FR4-type materials, they are generally well-established at manufacturers and well-documented by the material suppliers. One aspect that may be unfamiliar to many PCB designers involves the treatment of copper post-etch and the implications for design to ensure good manufacturing yields. Atar Mittal explains in the December edition of Modern Printed Circuits magazine. Download Download
What's Driving High-Speed PCB Design? Transistor geometries are one thousandth the size possible 40 years ago. Scaling has resulted not only in the integration of whole systems on chips, but device speeds that push the limits of carrying digital signals over copper traces on FR-4 for distances as long as a PC motherboard. The transition to laminates with lower loss is gaining momentum. Download Download
Documenting Intent with IPC-2581 Gary Carter of Fujitsu Network Communications, who's a founding member of the IPC-2581 Consortium, foresees the standard could be merged with PLM environments. Learn what he envisions in a column by Amit Bahl in the March 2014 edition of The PCB Design Magazine. Download Download
Semi Additive Fabrication Process Until very recently, PCB designers had good reasons for avoiding trace widths and spaces smaller than 3 mils beyond very short spans. But the 3 mil limitation is now becoming a thing of the past, thanks to the use of semi-additive fabrication. Download Download
Consult With Your Fabricator -- Especially for Hybrid Designs Wise designers consult manufacturers when developing hybrid stackups, because combining laminates with dissimilar mechanical properties can complicate fabrication and therefore bear on cost, especially with respect to yield. Amit Bahl points to drilling considerations in the May 2014 edition of The PCB Design Magazine. Download Download
High Voltage Circuit boards - Considering Creepage and Clearance Amit Bahl reviews in his July column for The PCB Magazine the basic rules for laying out boards that will carry voltage considered hazardous; from 30VRMS or 60V dc. Download Download
High-Speed Networks Drive New Material Choices Every sector of the electronics industry is being driven by the need to provide greater network capacity, yet improve the efficiency of network communication equipment in terms of bits per second per watt. This includes the manufacturers of laminates for printed circuit boards. Amit Bahl discusses in The PCB Design Magazine two new materials that were developed with high-speed network line cards and router backplanes in mind. Download Download
IPC-2581B Eases Stackup Development Revision B of the IPC-2581 standard will speed stackup development by enabling bidirectional electronic exchanges of stackup information between designers and PCB manufacturers in a common format. Amit Bahl describes how the standard eases the development and transfer of PCB designs for manufacture in the September 2014 edition of The PCB Design Magazine. Download Download
Tips Every PCB Designer Should Know A board design that will be produced in quantity had better take into account how it can be replicated per panel with minimum waste. Download Download
Empowering the Semiconductor Industry with Time-to-Market Advantages Sierra Circuits' CEO Ken Bahl was recently featured in Silicon India's publication. We were chosen as one of 20 most promising semiconductor companies in 2015. Download Download
S3 Test Eases Laminate Selection For her MIT master's thesis in engineering, Michelle Rybak investigated signal loss over frequency of six different PCB laminates, with special attention to distinguishing the resistive loss by the copper from the loss caused by dielectric absorption. Download Download
Design For Manufacturing
Sample Bill of Materials (BOM) file Save time on your fabrication and assembly orders by formatting your BOM correctly. Download sample BOM in .xls format. Login to download Login to download
Quoting / Order Checklist Avoid holds and delay by ensuring all the files necessary to give an accurate quote are provided by referring this checklist. Download Download
Kitting Guidelines Read the kitting guidelines for consigned and partial turnkey assembly orders. Adherence to kitting guidelines will ensure your boards are assembled smoothly without delay. Download Download
PCB Assembly Checklist Sierra Circuits is dedicated to providing customers with high-quality boards faster than any of our competitors. Use our assembly quote checklist to avoid delays and miscommunication on your next order. Stop choosing between timeliness or quality--Sierra Circuits places equal importance on both. Download Download
No-touch PCB design guidelines Please refer to these specifications before submitting your order for no-touch printed circuits boards. Login to download Login to download
Format for XY data XY data is critical in determining the coordinates and orientation of the components during assembly and must be provided by customers as a part of the data set. Download Download
Flexible PCBs: Cheat Sheet Save time and hassle on your next flex and rigid-flex design: download our cheat sheet. Includes when and why to use a flex design, and tips when designing rigid-flex and flex PCBs Download Download
Flexible PCBs: Glossary Sierra Circuits' flex and rigid-flex glossary covers all the terms you'll need to know before designing your upcoming circuit board. Perfect for designers with all levels of experience, this PDF is a must-have for all designers who work with flex and rigid-flex PCBs Download Download
Sample Reports
HDI Stackup Planner Report Our Stackup Planner tool encodes the best practices for HDI stackup design so that by answering a few simple questions about your design, we show you precise options for cost-optimized Stackup structures. The tool also integrates an Impedance Calculator to help you get the desired impedance and trace/space values. on any signal layer Download Download
Better DFM Report Better DFM is an online tool to check the Design For Manufacturability. It is run on your PCB design files (Gerber file format) and it gives you detailed information about where it finds design rule issues in your files Download Download
Introduction to HDI Stackup Planner Using the HDI Stackup planner, you can determine the optimum stackup guaranteed to be manufacturable in just a few quick steps. Avoid weeks of costly redesign. Watch Watch
HDI Stackup Planner tutorial Learn how to get an accurate and detailed High Density Interconnect (HDI) PCB stack-up using the HDI Stackup Planner. Watch Watch
Stanford Solar Car Project Watch Stanford University students talk about Sierra Circuits' role in building printed circuit boards and assembling components for the Stanford Solar Car Project Watch Watch
Insider Design tips for affordable High Density Interconnect (HDI) PCB designs Learn insider tips from the experts. Are you a Printed Circuit Board designer, electrical system designer or manager, or an electrical engineer? High-Density Interconnect (HDI) is part of your world now, and our free downloadable guide will help you use HDI technology in your projects today! Login to download Login to download
Case Studies
Partner early for HDI John Levreault, who is the president of Orvelle Technologies in Boxford, Massachusetts, collaborated with Sierra Circuits to optimize the architectures of two tiny, complex boards. In this case study published in the November 2012 edition of The PCB Design Magazine, our customer explains why it is important to partner with a board manufacturer at the outset of an HDI design Login to download Login to download
NASA Case Study A customer case study published in the July 2013 edition of NASA Tech Briefs describes the design of a universal interface for networking airborne instruments among various aircraft for atmospheric research. The article, "Network Interface Links Sensor-Web Instruments" and its sidebar, "Sensor-Web Experiments Advance Earth Science", are co-authored by Amit Bahl of Sierra Circuits. Login to download Login to download
MIT Case Study Ben Buck chronicles his design of a custom BGA for a chip that records data about atomic particles that are detected in high-energy physics experiments. Sierra Circuits fabricated the BGA substrate, as well as associated readout boards that are used in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Bucks study appears in the October 2013 edition of Printed Circuit Design & Fab magazine. He is an electronics engineer at Bates Research and Engineering Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Login to download Login to download
Rigid-flex PCB Case Study Dave Cowl worked with HoloEye Systems to create a customized holographic waveguide visor display (HWVD) helmet for the US Air Force. Sierra Circuits manufactured the prototype rigid-flex PCBs, which included HDI and a flex ribbon to connect the rigid boards. Originally published in the June 2015 edition of PCD & F. Download Download
Quickturn PCB Case Study Punch Through Design needed to speed up their design, development, and testing processes, but building prototype circuit boards proved to be time-consuming. Sierra Circuits was able to manufacture their prototype boards within 24 hours, allowing Punch Through to speed their go-to-market times. Download Download
Sierra Circuits Company Brochure For nearly three decades, Sierra Circuits has focused on assembling, fabricating, and manufacturing excellent prototype PCBs. Read about our products and services, which include a wide variety of turntimes and design options. Download Download
Assembly Services Brochure Sierra Circuits complements its PCB fabrication capabilities with quickturn consigned, turnkey and partial turnkey assembly services. Download Download
Microelectronics Brochure Sierra Circuits' microelectronics capabilities include sub 2-mil lines, 0.25 mm pitch, stacked blind and buried vias, ultra thin multilayer boards and more. Download Download
Sierra Circuits Flyer An introduction to Sierra Circuits' PCB manufacturing capabilities, products offered and services provided. Download Download
IPC Manufacturers Qualification-Profile (MQP) Developed by the OEM council of the IPC, the MQP sets the standard for assessing PWB manufacturers capabilities and allows PWB manufacturers to more easily satisfy customer requirements. Download Download