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How we make PCBs

Ever wondered how we go about producing a Printed Circuit Board here in Glasgow?

The following gives a simplified step by step overview of the standard manufacturing process for a PTH PCB:

  • STEP 1 – Film Generation

  • Generated from gerber files, a film representation of the board layout is produced. A film is required for each ‘layer’ – i.e copper layers, solder resist, legend, etc.
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  • STEP 2 – Cut Raw Material

  • For a standard PTH board, double sided copper clad FR4 would be used, typically 1.6mm thick.
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  • STEP 3 – Drill Holes

  • Drill hole pattern using NC drill machines.
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  • STEP 4 – Copper Plating

  • Apply copper plating in hole barrels.
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  • STEP 5 – Apply Image

  • Apply photosensitive dry film (plate resist) to panel. Use UV light source and film to expose panel. Develop selected areas from panel.
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  • STEP 6 – Pattern Plating

  • Electrochemical process to build copper in the holes and on the trace area.
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  • STEP 7 – Etch & Strip

  • Remove dry film then etch exposed copper.
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  • STEP 8 – Solder Mask

  • Apply solder mask area to entire board with the exception of solder pads.
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  • STEP 9 – Board Finish

  • Apply HASL (Hot Air Solder Levelling). Hot air knives level the solder.
  • Alternative finishes such as nickel gold available.
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  • STEP 10 – Legend

  • Apply component idents using silk screen printing process.
  • ATE Test
  • STEP 11 – ATE

  • Continuity testing.
  • Routing
  • STEP 12 – Fabrication

  • Route the perimeter of the board using NC router.

European Circuits ©2017

European Circuits