The first step is to import your PCB design. The Import Module reads data in Gerber/Drill or ODB++ format and converts it to a Macaos product. To the extent possible, your data will automatically be interpreted and mapped to the appropriate board layers, and the board's outer contour will be defined. If so, all you will need to do is choose a stackup, surface finish and mask colors, and then save the product.
Prior to publishing, you may also add fiducial marks, graphic symbols, and comments/instructions to the product. The are also several features to help interpret the imported data in cases where the Import Module is unable to do everything automatically.
Usually, PCB products that will have automatic component assembly should be panelized for manufacture. Panelization puts one or more products into an array with a frame suitable for the component placement and soldering processes. The Panelization Module can step up a product to a panel with a one-click operation. Select a product in the Product Browser, open the Panelization Module, click on the Autopanel button and then choose a script from the menu.
The Panelization Module supports break-off tabs, fiducial marks, tooling holes, bad marks, text, bar codes, test coupons, corner rounding/chamfering and more. It is also possible to build panels with several different boards in the same panel.
Typically, a stencil is used to apply solder paste to the pads of automatically placed SMT components on a printed circuit board. In addition to the SMT pads, the stencil usually includes some kind of hole pattern to aid in tensioning the stencil in its frame, as well as fiducial marks and text. Often, the stencil holes for individual pads will be reduced in size or modified in shape so that the correct amount of solder paste will be placed on each pad.
The Stencil Module can set up a solder paste stencil product with a one-click operation. Select a product in the Product Browser, open the Stencil module, click on the Autostencil button and then choose a script from the menu.
The Stencil Module supports specifying multiple stencil frames, placing both top side and bottom side data on the same stencil, reducing the size of all openings or individual openings, specifying the corner radius of openings, splitting large (heat-sink) openings into patterns of smaller openings, replacing openings with other shapes, defining steps (regions with reduced stencil thickness), and more.
If the assembly process for a PCB product requires multiple soldering processes, it may be necessary to add a peel-off mask or Kapton tape to the product. Often, these processes have not been considered by the PCB layout designer, and are therefore not included in the data generated by the designer’s CAD system.
The Assembly Masks Module may be used to add peel-off, paste, glue, hard gold, carbon print or Kapton tape mask data to an existing PCB product. The mask area may be defined either as a freely drawn rectangle or as all pads within a rectangle. Select a product in the Product Browser and click on the Add masks button.
The Assembly Data Manager (ADM) is an integrated BOM Tool and Pick and Place Data Manager for PCBs. It provides an integrated environment for managing and reviewing Pick and Place (PnP) and Bill of Materials (BOM) data.
The ADM helps dramatically reduce time and effort in preparing assembly data, by combining the following features in a single module:
- Graphic viewer with component editing functionality
- Structured component overview with properties editor
- Component search facility (powered by Octopart)
- Send RFQ for assembly to participating EMS providers (Basic version only)
- Component price estimator (Pro version only)
- Component rotation, height and solder temperature editor
- Export PnP and BOM data (Pro version only)
The Depanelization Editor module may be used to generate a milling program for removing the tabs from an assembly array, and to design a fixture for holding the boards securely in place during depanelization.
The Test Fixture Designer module may be used to specify the locations of alignment pins and test pins on a test fixture. Suitable test jigs and pins (listed in the Test accessories folder of the Product Browser) are available for purchase.
The Pallet creator module supports creating wave solder pallets. A wave solder pallet is a reliable and inexpensive fixture for soldering through-hole components. The pallet is typically made from a synthetic material, such as Durapol or Durostone®. Macaos supports the design of both full and selective wave solder pallets.