Preventing Delays During Your PCB Fabrication

Written by Admin on . Posted in PCB Fabrication, PCB Manufacturing

pcb fabrication

Delays in your printed circuit board fabrication can be costly and time-consuming.  In today’s world, they are a commodity that there is never enough of.  Believe it or not, there are steps you can take to avoid those dreaded delays during your fabrication process.  We are going to discuss how you can take an active role in ensuring your printed circuit board fabrication runs smoothly and on schedule.

 

Communication

Follow up is an extremely important factor during the fabrication process.  Placing your project at the top of your “things to do list” is a must.  If you are communicating with your fabricator through email, or phone, you must be sure to answer any messages left in a timely manner.  Not answering them promptly can cause an interruption of the manufacturing, especially if a question is being asked or your guidance is needed.

 

Identify Long Lead-Time Parts

You may not realize it, however, some of the parts that are necessary for your project may take up to six months or longer to receive.  Working closely with your manufacturer as soon as you can will help them determine what they order and how quickly they can get it.  Printed circuit board manufacturing is not like shopping at your favorite grocery store, they will not always have the products in stock.

Also Read: Uses of Printed Circuit Board Components & Technology

 

Correct Documentation

You should always keep your product documentation up to date with the correct information.  Speaking with the manufacturer candidly to find out what their specific requirements are is the best way to understand what they need, this way there will not be any confusion.  This will also help eliminate any unnecessary mistakes that will inevitably cause delays in the manufacturing process.

Product Demand Information

Never wait until you are out of (or almost out of) your product.  This only increases stress, time, and cost.  The cost of shipping overnight is much higher than normal shipping methods.  Come up with a way to order your supplies before you run out to avoid additional cost, stress, and time.

Consider a Domestic Manufacturer

Although the cost may be less expensive, you may end up paying a higher cost in the end.  You want to consider the following;

  • Shipping prices will be higher with overseas manufacturers
  • Communication may become more difficult due to time differences
  • The difference in time may also result in the delay of delivery

Find a Manufacturer Who Can Handle the Entire

Manufacturing Process

A manufacturer who can provide their services from start to finish is the most beneficial option for your project.  This saves time because it cuts down on the amount of time it takes to get from one manufacturer to another, be worked on, and then shipped back to the original fabricator.  It makes smarter business sense to keep your product in one place from beginning to end so it can be shipped directly to you.  It also will stop the “blame game” if something is defective you know who is responsible.

Also Read: PCB Fabrication Making a World of Possibilities a Realty

 

 

PCB Fabrication Making a World of Possibilities a Realty

Written by Admin on . Posted in PCB, PCB Fabrication, PCB Manufacturing

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The fabrication or manufacturing of printed circuit boards are the backbone of every computer operated piece of machinery on the market today.  The importance of the PCB should not be overlooked, without it we would not be able to enjoy all of the gadgets that have become a part of our daily routine and important part of our lives.  Just as technology advances so does the fabrication/manufacturing of the printed circuit board.  Chances are that you have benefitted from a PCB in form or the other and may not even be aware it.

Printed Circuit Boards Then

When thinking about PCB’s you may tend to think of what they are today if you are a tech savvy individual.  However, you may be surprised to learn the history of printed circuit board;

  • 1920 they made their debut, they could be made of materials such as Bakelite, Masonite, and sometimes wood.  Holes were made and brass wires were riveted and there you have it!  They were most widely used in radios.
  • 1947 the first double sided PCB with plated through holes was created
  • 1950-60 Advancements in the types of materials that were used to make them although they could only be printed on one side.  In 1956 the U.S. Patent Office granted a patent to scientists.  There process
    • They would draw a wire pattern
    • Photograph it into a zinc plate (creating a plate for the printing process)
    • They would use the plate to print the wire in an acid resistant ink on the copper foil
    • That could be etched by an acid solution
    • 1957 The Institute of Printed Circuits was formed.
    • 1960 Multilayer PCB production began
    • 1960’s and 70’s designers that had good experience would be able to layout and tape boards at a rate of two hours per 14-pin IC on the board
    • 1970’s you began to see changes in the size of the boards which were getting smaller, hot air soldering methods were being used and the RS-274-D was introduced
    • 1980’s Surface mounts were beginning to be used (led to reducing the size further)
    • 1986 saw the release of RS-274X
    • 1995 began using micro-via technology in fabrication
    • 1997 the ODB+++ was released to the general public
    • 2010 the production of Every Layer Interconnect began.

Printed Circuit Boards Now

Today printed circuit boards have evolved and become a part of our modern day technology.  Whether you are wearing a fit-bit, watch, or using an iPhone, the list can go on and on, you are benefitting from there sophisticated, delicate design that keeps the gadgets we depend on running smoothly.  The most exciting part is that this industry shows no signs of slowing down and guarantees new ways that will continue to improve our quality of life and enjoyment of all those gadgets that we can longer live without!  Just imagine what’s to come in the future as we continue to explore the untapped potential of the worlds technology!

PCB Fabrication Processes

Written by Admin on . Posted in PCB Fabrication

pcb fabrication process

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PCBs have been developing since the 1950s. During the last sixty years, there have been ongoing changes in technology, and in the manufacturing of PCBs. Key changes in the fabrication of PCBs have included the development of double-sided boards, the ongoing miniaturization of the components, the establishment of standards for PCBs, and the use of surface mount technology.

 

Designers will want to maximize the potential of your PCB by maximizing the use of space and performance of your board. It may be worth consulting with a circuit board expert to ensure that your PCB design and resulting order are processed without unnecessary delays.

 

There are many steps involved in fabrication of PCBs. Once you’ve finalized your design, the PCBs are grouped onto a larger board (a panel) for bulk printing. The panel may include a single design of PBC, or multiple designs. Once the panel is prepared, the pattern of the board is replicated using a CAM system with copper foil PCB layers. Etching then removes unwanted copper. In this stage, silk screening, photoengraving or PCB milling is used to etch the board. The method of etching used will vary based on the number of boards to be produced, and the required resolution of the boards. The copper can be laid using subtractive, additive and semi-additive processes.

 

In a subtractive process, a complete film of copper is laid, and then the unwanted parts are stripped to leave the desired pattern. In an additive process, the required copper is electroplated onto the substrate. Additive processes use less material and generate less waste. Semi-additive processes are the most common. In this process, the board has an initial thin layer of copper. A reverse mask is then applied, which exposes the parts of the substrate that become traces. Other surface platings are then applied.

 

Following automated optical inspection, a lamination process is used to generate separated layers. The PCB is then drilled with small diameter tungsten-carbide drill bits, specially designed to ensure they don’t tear the traces. As an alternative, drilling may be completed using a laser to provide a very small vias.The holes may be conductive (by electroplating or using eyelets). Holes can be depth-controlled to allow conductivity to specific layers only.

 

The PCBs are then plated with solder to provide a resistant surface for etching. Areas that aren’t going to be soldered are covered with solder mask. The legend is silk-screened or photo imaged.  Before components are added, the boards are tested to ensure appropriate connectivity. Once the board is validated, the components are assembled for form a functional PCA (Printed Circuit Assembly).

 

The final stage of fabrication is applying a coat to prevent corrosion and leakage.

 

The fabrication process is undergoing change, as manufacturers seek to deliver their products in a manner that minimizes the potential risk for their production workers from the various chemicals used in the processes such as lead. Lead has been used in the fabrication of PCBs, but greater awareness of the health impacts has resulted in a change in fabrication technologies. Printed Circuit Design and FAB have highlighted health issues in a recent publication, noting that the drive for change in chemical processing is being driven by NGOs.