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Your printed board circuit designs are your intellectual property. Therefore, you must do your best to safeguard it. Maintaining data security is an essential and critical element of all sectors, especially when it comes to proprietary and intellectual assets. 

As a PCB designer and manufacturer, you must consider deploying adequate security measures to safeguard your PCB design from theft. However, you must take precautionary measures from the day of prototyping all the way to the manufacturing processes. 

Steps to Secure Your PCB Design

Here are some of the most fundamental processes you can deploy to secure your printed circuit board design. 

  1. Protecting Your Formula

You must protect your sensitive data and maintain security by granting access to authorized personnel only. In simpler terms, you must treat your printed circuit boards as your business secrets. Someone else getting a hold of your PCB designs and diagrams means they have your recipe to copy, taking away your competitive edge. 

  1. Implement Right Protocols

Preventing theft of your PCB design will require you to deploy stringent and adequate data access protocols. Moreover, it would be best if you also integrated data monitoring software throughout your organization. 

  1. Keeping it In-House

While you can resolve the previous issue using the right networking infrastructure and security practices, there is another way to protect your PCB designs.  If possible, try your best to keep the prototyping and manufacturing of the printed circuit boards in-house. 

However, if you have to outsource, then always select a manufacturing partner after rigorous research and testing. Make sure that they have an excellent market rapport and have adequate security and safety measures in place to prevent any leaks through their ranks. 

  1. Using Additive Manufacturing Systems

If you have no other option but to send your printed circuit board design with an on-shore or off-shore PCB manufacturer, then an additive manufacturing system can help. This way, you can produce quick-turn prototypes and finish the PCB entirely in-house. 

Another advantage of doing so is it will cost you very cheap per board and also reduce your fabrication time in comparison to conventional prototyping processes. 

Additive manufacturing protocols represent continuous evolution and automation. Chances are they will one day integrate into a connected network of factories offering PCB manufacturing services. 

As this process becomes more ubiquitous and its effectiveness and capability increase, industries will start adopting it as a common practice. Using additive manufacturing processes, engineers and designers working on printed circuit boards will be able to share and use these systems directly. 

However, you can use additive manufacturing systems at present to improve your level of security. Not only will it safeguard your PCB design but also improve productivity due to the flexibility it offers. 

  1. Using Subtractive Process 

Although not as quick as the additive process, you can use subtractive processes to add multiple layers to your PCB design security. You can have each component made from different manufacturers, and then put them together in-house or use a different manufacturer to do it for you. 

However, this will take more time and energy and require several back-and-forth assembly testing and steps. Moreover, you may face more difficulty if the PCB design has a complex geometry. 

Conclusion

In the end, it would be best if you can keep your PCB designing, prototyping, and manufacturing operations in-house. This will be the best way to safeguard your PCB design. The more you avoid exposing your designs to third-parties and non-authorized personnel, the better are your chances to prevent any instances of your intellectual property being stolen or copied. We take safeguarding your PCB design seriously. Let us know how we can help you!

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Nova is a full-service printed circuit board assembler located in Denver, Colorado.