Posts Tagged ‘PCB Fab’

PCB Fabrication Processes

Written by Rush PCB Inc on . Posted in PCB Fabrication

pcb fabrication process

Image Source:
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.


Cost Saving Tips for PCB Fabrication

Written by Rush PCB Inc on . Posted in PCB Fabrication

Money is the most common problem in any type of business, and many American companies are looking for ways to cut costs, but still make sure they end up making a profit. They also want to ensure the quality of what they produce remains the same, or exceeds present quality, and in the electronics sector this is essential for staying in business. Therefore, it can be especially concerning.

One of the biggest issues many electronic companies face is that technological advances are occurring on a regular basis, with nothing ever staying the same for any length of time. To satisfy consumer demands electronics are becoming more and more complex, forcing companies to seek newer processes to meet that demand. The following tips can help you save money and still keep the quality of your merchandise high.

PCB Fabrication

Better Designs

You can scale back your spending by engineering boards more strategically, and using fewer parts and other components. This will enable your company to reduce the cost of each PCB, thus increasing the savings realized.This can be achieved by involving your manufacturing vendor right from the design stage for raw material availability, providing ease of manufacturing with expected or better yields.

Supplier Relationships

Find one or two parts suppliers that you can rely on, and develop a good working relationship with them. This often leads to discounted prices because they appreciate the business you bring them, and they may even offer lower prices if you buy in bulk, or pay in cash each time.

Keep Your Business Stateside

If you are thinking about going offshore in hopes of saving money, don’t. You are running the risk of ending up with poor quality workmanship that can affect your reputation considerably. You can also end up paying hefty fines if the parts used are not genuine or fail to comply with US standards.

Hire a Contract Manufacturer

While this may seem like an additional expense, partnering with a team of experts may be saving you a lot of money over time. These professionals have access to equipment and resources that you may not have, which would have otherwise made you to accrue unnecessary costs for added man power – and they can now work for you without you having to pay them a salary for their expertise!

There are many ways for you to save money on the PCB fabrication process, and the integrity of your product does not have to suffer. Learn how to cut your own costs without sacrificing quality, and still keep your customers happy with the products you supply.

The tips listed above are only a few ways for you to cut your costs without losing your profit margin. Work with members of your company to come up with other strategies to effectively reduce expenses, while at the same time developing and manufacturing a PCB that meets public expectations and demand.

For further information about PCB fabrication, contact the engineers at RUSH PCB .

PCB fabrication