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PCB Manufacturing Process

The world is waking up to the realization that printed circuit boards are the backbone of electronics and are widely applied in manufacturing electronics computational, including digital devices such as clocks. The job of PCBs is to direct the electricity to where it should flow to make the device do the job it was designed for. PCBs direct current through a network of copper pathways. So how are the PCBs manufactured?

 

PCB Manufacturing Process

The process of manufacturing a PCB is a complex one that starts with designing of the PCBs. There should be an elaborate plan depending on the job the PCB is to perform. Designers use programs such as extended Gerber to create a layout. The software encodes the required information including the components notation and copper tracking layers.  The PCB design is then forwarded to the fabrication house to be built. Once the PCB schematic files are out, the manufacturer conducts A DMF check and prints the file. This is done using a plotter, which makes PCBs files. The films are then used to image the PCBs. Once the film is ready, the manufacturer prepares to make the actual PCB which comprises of a laminate board. This is the body that will receive the copper that will structure the PCB.

 

The next thing that is done is to put a layer of a photo-sensitive film referred to as a photo resists, which are just reactive chemicals that harden when exposed to ultraviolet light. The films fit and hold the pins on the laminate panel. Any unwanted copper is then removed using an alkaline solution. The hardened resist which was used to protect the copper is then washed off using another solvent. The layers are then aligned by punching holes using an optical punch machine.  The formed layers are then fused together, and a thin copper foil used to cover them before they are sandwiched together. Holes are then drilled into the board. The holes will be used for copper linking. They are small holes with a diameter of about 100 microns.

 

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After drilling the holes, plating is done to fuse the different layers together this is done by using chemical deposition.  A layer of photoresist is then applied on the panel. The board will then be passed through an oven to cure the solder mask. It is then chemically plated with gold and silver before electrical tests are performed to confirm its functionality.

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