PCB fabrication is the process of transforming an electronics circuit board design into a physical structure. The creation of the physical structure is achieved through the following:
- Copper clad laminates are used for imaging the desired layout
- Traces and pads are revealed by etching or removing any excess copper from within the layers to leaved defined tracks and electrical pathways
- Using high temperatures, the board materials are laminated to create the PCB layer stack up, where boards with a large number and complexity of circuitry required whilst maintaining a small mechanical form factor
- Mounting holes, through holes and vias, are created by drilling holes
- Holes and via holes are plated (to allow interconnection between layers and add mechanical strength (in the case of through-hole soldered components)
- The surface or solder masking are given a protective coating – solder mask covers all areas where connection to components is not required and is typically a green epoxy
- All markings including reference and polarity indicators as well as any customer logos are added to the surface using silk screen printing
- Copper areas of the surface can be given an optional finish this is to prevent corrosion and aid soldering of components
The overall PCB Manufacturing process consists of many stages with fabrication being one of them. Below, you can see the main stages of the PCB manufacturing process, showing where fabrication fits into the overall process.
1. PCB Design
This element of the process involves understanding the specific requirements of the client. The engineers involved in the process will look outside of the usual PCB layout service whereby they implement mechanical, enclosure, and front panel design into the entire process, as well as the electronic and electrical requirements of the circuit.
The PCB design process is aimed at creating a solution that can be used across several industries and sectors. This involves using the most advanced and available components and technologies that deliver reliability, longevity, and cost savings.
2. PCB Fabrication
As discussed above the PCB Fabrication process is the process of transforming an electronics circuit board design into a physical structure. A wide range of base materials are used during this phase while it is possible to fabricate boards with up to 24 layers, in a variety of shapes sizes and thicknesses.
3. PCB Assembly
Assembly is the process of completing the circuit board build with the electronics components being added to their specific location, known as circuit designators or circuit references. This will involve using a wide range of highly skilled individuals, machinery and processes to bring the entire process together.
During the PCB Assembly stage, surface mount, through-hole and hybrid electronics manufacturing capabilities may be used.
4. PCB Testing
Testing is a crucial part of the process as this puts the current design to use, testing every element to identify problems or issues. The products are commonly tested in accordance with the documented test procedure as provided by the client while all necessary test equipment that is also provided by the client, ensuring the test is carried out in line with the clients working requirements.
5. PCB Prototype
The PCB Prototype is the end result of the above stages, providing a competed PCB ready to be reviewed to test a design concept. The main purpose of the prototype stage is to ensure that the completed PCB works in accordance with the original design specifications and is usually completed prior to producing the PCBs in greater numbers.
From the above, you can see that the PCB Manufacturing process involves various stages and a lot of skilled work goes into the process.
At Xenoa Ltd we have over a decade of experience in delivering high-quality PCBs for our customers.
Printed Circuit Board Fast Turn Around
We go above and beyond to deliver the best possible results and the highest level of service. We deliver high quality, printed circuit boards with a fast turnaround.
We are committed to making the process as streamlined and straightforward as possible, ensuring you get the best results. Once your project is underway, you can contact us at any time to review the following:
– Check an order status
– Make urgent changes
– Can the order be delivered sooner than first quoted?
– Can the order quantity be increased mid-manufacture?
Need PCBs in a Hurry?
Contact us to find out how quickly we can get either bare or fully assembled circuit boards back to you. We will urgently review your dates/requirements and advise you of the best price for the quickest turnaround that is possible.