Month: August 2015

Printed Circuit Boards, otherwise known as PCBs, is a self-contained unit of interconnected electronic components. These interconnected PCBs act as mechanical supports and electric connections of electronic materials. PCBs are used in almost all electronic products. There are many companies that provide PCB assembly and PCB Fabrication services. Depending on specifications, some companies require as little as five days to assemble PCBs, and around 10 days or less for fabrication. This is of course, dependent on the completeness of data that will be sent to them.

In PCB assembly, conductive tracks and pads are etched using copper sheets. They are then formed on a layer of conducting material. After that, they are laminated into a non-conductive substrate. There are many types of PCBs that are put together during the assembly process. It is possible that PCBs can only have one copper layer or single sided, or even two copper layers or double-sided. The third type has multi-layers. These types of construction have different methods during PCB fabrication. Single-sided layers only have components on one side of the substrate. Double-sided boards are used when the number of components is just too much that a single-sided board is not sufficient. Multi-layers have a surface that is made up of layers of circuits and divided by layers of insulation.

PCB assembly requires a much more complicated method than wire wrap or even point-to-point construction, but it can be automated. Assembling is actually faster and cheaper compared to other wiring methods. When a PCB is wired with many electronic components, it is referred to as a printed circuit assembly. Advanced and complicated PCBs require many components such as capacitors, active devices or resistors. There are two types of technology that are used in electrically connecting the circuits. Through-hole technology and surface-mount technology are both utilized in PCB assembly. Single-sided boards usually use through-hole components. Surface-mounted technology is most commonly used in multi-layer PCBs. This type of technology was first patented in the year 1961 by US-based company,Hazeltyne.

PCBPCB assembly and PCB fabrication should be done in a stringent and clean environment. All materials should be free from contamination. The substrates that are most commonly utilized in are fiber glass, woven glass polyester and even Teflon. However, there are new and better materials being developed all the time. The material is reinforced with epoxy resin with a copper foil bonded to one or both sides. During the manufacturing process, two types of quality control inspection are done to ensure that the product is done to the correct specifications and it has no flaws. The first one is through visual means, and the other one is through electrical method. Most of the flaws are actually caused by automated machines.

Both the PCB assembly and the PCB fabrication process requires technical knowledge of not just the components that comprise the actual PCB design, but an overall familiarity with the finished product. There are actually a number of stages that one has to go through in manufacturing Printed Circuit Boards.The highest quality should be maintained in all stages of the process. What is important is that all these processes work efficiently as a unit and as a whole in order to achieve an excellent product.

There is a high worldwide demand for PCBs. Asia has the highest percentage in terms of PCB production in the entire world, with China having a huge percentage of PCB firms. With a high number of PCB producers, competition in the industry is stiff. Still, it’s a given that a company will have an edge if it consistently adheres to strict quality standards.

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Electronics

chatWith the stiff competition among businesses nowadays, it is only crucial that companies find ways to stand out and be unique. Currently, many companies sell the same products and services.  They come up with different promotions to attract new customers and boost up incentives to keep existing customers.  However, at the end of the day, when companies are stripped off of their glossy advertisements and gimmicks, one thing remains constant and is the main reason why it thrives over the other – customer service.

Different businesses provide customer service in various ways. The most common and popular is customer service over the phone. Then, there’s email, chat and even social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Lately however, one mode of communication is beginning to gain popularity among business owners.  Live chat for business has been gaining momentum as the use of internet becomes more and more of a necessity rather than a luxury.  People from all walks of life and of all ages are now using the internet to go about their daily lives.

Anyone can shop, study, watch movies, get in touch with friends and work out at the comfort of their own homes.  At some point, they’ll have questions or encounter technical difficulties and what better way to get instant help than by clicking the chat option in the website that they are already in.

Live chat for business is slowly becoming a popular choice for many entrepreneurs because of the following reasons:

  • Convenience. Chat gives the customer the liberty to do other things while waiting for a chat representative to reply to his inquiry. He doesn’t need to pick up a phone and sit through agonizing minutes navigating through an endless maze of automated instructions. He can get quick help at the tip of his fingers.
  • Money. Yes, chat service saves business owners money while increasing their closed sales. How? Chat service has much lower average interaction costs versus time spent over the phone talking to customers. Chat also allows customer service representatives to multitask and handle multiple sessions at the same time. Since more customers are getting serviced, the likelihood of closing a sale is bigger.Live chat for business also helps convert more potential customers into actual customers. Chat service allows them to have immediate answers to their questions, making it easier for them to decide whether to get the service/product or not.
  •  Connection. Having an accessible support system like live chat gives a business a more human side. Knowing that they are able to get help whenever they need it can make the customers feel that they are valued and cared for.

Despite its obvious benefits to businesses, it is important to know first the pros and cons that come with live chat service. Below are some of them:

Pros

  • Lost in translation.  Chat communication relies on written or typed words. There are no foreign accents to decipher. Just straight conversation. There might be grammar and spelling errors but these are often checked and flagged by the agents’ mentors, superiors and even the system itself (autocorrect feature).
  • Quick.  Chat agents can multitask because they can respond right away. Canned responses are created and updated regularly. These scripts are ready for use. Slowly typing is no longer an obstacle in this service. Multiple sessions also equal to less wait times for the customers on queue.
  • Stay relevant.  Considering live chat for business is the best route to take if it means staying connected and popular among the younger generation who live and breathe the internet these days.
  •  Documented. Most of the chat conversations have transcripts that are readily available for evaluation. This makes it easier to look for strengths and areas of opportunities that will help businesses improve their processes and customer service policies.

Cons

  • No feelings involved. Chat obviously does not have the “voice” factor. Therefore, a customer will not know the agent’s tone. The tone of the voice most often sets the mood of the conversation. Without that, it will be challenging to show someone care and empathy unless they show these emotions in written words.
  • No internet, no contact. If internet is down, customers won’t be able to go online and get help. Landline phones can be used whether there is power or not.
  • Multitasking can be confusing. It can be a challenge to talk to three different customers, each with different issues. Agents who are on multiple sessions are more prone to errors and misinformation.

Internet