Step by step process of manufacturing printed circuit boards

In order to build printed circuit boards, manufacturers need to carry out various procedural steps. Few of which are discussed below:

Identification of the material and process to be used: Determining material, processes, and requirements of customer’s specification is the foremost step carried out by PCB manufacturing experts. This information is generally provided with the purchase order.

Imaging of file data on etches resist film: Once information is collected, Gerber file data is needed to be transformed onto an etch resist film, which is to be placed on the conductive copper layer at time of manufacturing.

Laser etching process: In order to provide finer lines on board, etching process is performed by plasma/laser etching method instead of chemicals, which were used in the traditional processes. This method is carried out to remove the unprotected copper material, leaving the protected copper pads and traces in place.

Multilayer Pressing: For aligning copper and insulating dielectric layers, pressing function is performed. The copper layer is heated so that adhesive used on the dielectric layers is fixed properly, which eventually would form a solid board.

Drilling holes: During this process, holes are drilled on board. The holes are made on specific locations about which the information is contained in the drill-drawing file. Information on size of holes is also provided in it.

Plating of board with copper: In plating process of electronic manufacturing services, the prepared board is placed in electrically charged bath of copper so that copper plating is done on the pads, traces, and drilled through holes.

Second drilling process: This method is applied only when necessary (holes are to be drilled through copper area but not plated), as it leads additional expenses.

Masking procedure: The process of masking is done to protect the board from environmental damages. A protective masking material is placed over the bare copper traces.

Finishing: To give the board a finished look, the process of coating the pad areas is performed.

Routing: For separating multiple boards from a panel of identical boards, process of routing is performed if required.

Quality control check: To inspect the wall quality of board, quality control process is carried out by testers.

Electrical testing: After meeting all the standards of quality control, electrical testing is performed. Current flow is determined by applying a voltage between various points on the board.