Manufacturing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is a complex process. It involves advanced production equipment and production process and needs professional engineering and technical personnel and an excellent production management system. PCB fabrication is a crucial part of this process which aims to build the raw circuit board. This board serves as the foundation for the final printed circuit board assembly. Based on the design package specifications, PCB manufacturers transform the circuit board design into a physical structure.
PCB fabrication is an outsourced activity performed by a contract manufacturer (CM). The contract manufacturer will work together with the design team to develop the physical board’s parameters and configuration. This step is necessary to confirm the PCB layout. For cheap PCB manufacturing costs, you can send boards to an exterior fabrication house.
PCB Fabrication Process
PCB fabrication is manifested through the following steps.
· Prepare the materials.
· Image the desired layout on the copper-clad laminates.
· Remove the excess copper from the inner layers.
· Create the PCB layer stackup by laminating board materials at very high temperatures.
· Drill holes on boards for mounting holes.
· Again, etch or remove excess copper from the surface layer(s)
· Plate pinholes and via holes
· Add protective coating to the surface (solder masking)
· Silkscreen logos, printing reference, and polarity indicators
These steps are followed by routing and punching, e-test, continuity, insulation testing, and a final inspection before packing, warehousing, and shipping.
5 Benefits Of PCB Fabrication Process
· Immune To Movement
Various elements are soldered and mounted on the circuit board with precision. The components are fixed to the board by solder flux which makes it immobile irrespective of the board’s movement itself. This reduces the chance of loose connections or a short circuit.
· Compact Size And Saving Of Wire
PCB consists of several parts and elements. It utilizes copper tracks to interconnect the various components instead of using current-carrying wires. Copper tracks make the board less bulky. Hence, PCBs have helped move technology forward by replacing the traditional circuit boards that are quite heavy. PCBs have made it possible to fabricate highly complicated circuits in small packages.
· Save Time And Energy
The traditional method of connecting components consumes a lot of time. Once the design layout is complete, a circuit board can be assembled easily. Using the right software program can help you to streamline the design process. It helps design and test the PCB before moving on to the rest of the manufacturing and assembly processes.
· Ease Of Repair And Diagnostic
If there is an error in circuit boards, the components that fail to function can be checked and replaced easily. PCBs offer convenience during the installation process, and the electronic components and their polarities are labelled on the board. You can quickly run various tests to ensure that the PCB delivers optimum performance.
· Low Electronic Noise
PCB fabrication and design yield less electronics noise. The electrical components on the board are organized to reduce the path lengths of the electrical current between the components. This reduces the radiation and pickup of electromagnetic waves, reducing the electronic noise in the form of heat, radiation, or flickering sound.
Standards designated by the IPC organization should set PCB fabrication and quality control. PCB fabrication needs to meet the desired standards specified for using the required application to prevent inconsistent operation or premature board failure.