How to Build a Better PCB Terminal

The production of a PCB terminal is a multi-step process, but there are some tools that can reduce the time and complexity.

Rob Spiegel

May 13, 2024

4 Min Read
PCB design tools
Sunchine Seeds for iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

At a Glance

  • Looking at the tools that help with PCB design.
  • Here are some investments that can reduce PCB design time.
  • Placing connection snaps into place with a click.

Designing printed circuit boards (PCBs) comes with a bunch of challenges. Design engineers have to face size constraints, mechanical integration, thermal considerations, and power efficiency. Adding to this complexity is electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), which introduces additional hurdles when bringing a new product to market.

Ultimately, engineers have to deliver higher performance with minimal costs. This balancing act requires careful component selection and optimization to reduce signal losses. It involves struggling with the expanding power demands of modern ICs that have with increasing power-integrity rules. Plus, the design engineers have to consider manufacturing processes to increase yield while maintaining quality.

To get an idea of the paths engineers can take to ensure great results, we turned to Meikel Reilender, strategic product manager of the Weidmuller Group. He discusses tools that can help on PCB design.

Could you explain the process of building a PCB terminal?

Meikel Reilender: With each new generation, device designs are becoming smaller while also being more economical and offering better performance. As a result, the demands on the development of appropriate connection technologies such as PCB connectors and PCB terminals are also increasing. Despite their more compact size, they also should fit into the individual device design.

PCB products should guarantee a continuous, dynamic, and digitalized device development process. Traditionally, the production of a PCB terminal is a multi-step process. The plastic housings are molded in the required number of positions – for example 2 through 24. The metal parts are stamped and plated, then you have a final assembly process where the plastic and metal are brought together to make the completed part. With the modular design of Weidmuller’s OMNIMATE 4.0 PCB terminals and connectors, we have reduced the complexity in production, allowing greater flexibility to deliver customized parts in days – not weeks.

Closeup_of_OMNIMATE_PCB_Terminal_Block.jpeg

How does a PCB configurator help in building a PCB terminal or PCB connector?

Meikel Reilender: To realize PCB connectors and PCB terminals that are individually adapted to customer needs, the easiest way is to use a configurator, such as the Weidmuller PCB Configurator. With OMNIMATE 4.0, you can select the individual slices that you need and combine them according to your requirements – for example four positions for power, four positions for signal plus Single Pair Ethernet for data, then label them with symbols and colors to match the branding of your devices. And that’s not all! With our efficient production process, your fully configured products are available in just a few days.

How does OMNIMATE 4.0 assist in the process?

Meikel Reilender: Thanks to the flexible and modular product structure of OMNIMATE 4.0, you can create individual configurations within seconds. Also, all necessary engineering data, up to ordering free product samples, are available with just a few clicks. The web application enables simple and fast configuration without long download or installation times.

Weidmuller_PCB_Configurator.png

How does SNAP IN connection technology help in the process?

Meikel Reilender: SNAP IN, the fastest, safest and most reliable connection technology on the market, speeds up the assembly process. OMNIMATE 4.0 PCB connectors and PCB terminals are delivered wire-ready and can be wired immediately without tools. The connection is as simple in principle as it is to use. The stripped conductor is inserted directly into open connection points and the snap connection snaps into place with a click – no tools needed.

How was the process completed before using OMNIMATE 4.0 PCB connectors and PCB terminals?

Meikel Reilender: In the past, the process was step-by-step with a manual effort to get an individual connector from a connector supplier. Once you identified the appropriate PCB terminal block or connector for your application, you would request the customization from the supplier. The supplier would then create a drawing for that part for your review and approval before releasing the part. That process could take weeks. With OMNIMATE 4.0 in the Weidmuller Configurator, that process is now completed in minutes.

What is the importance of speed in the process and how does Weidmuller help speed the process?

Meikel Reilender: Reducing the development time reduces the engineering costs. Also, when the project time is reduced, the time required to take a new device design to market can be reduced.

About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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