In electronic devices, printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are utilized to mechanically support electronic parts which have their connection leads soldered onto copper pads in surface install applications or through rilled holes in the board and copper pads for soldering the component leads in thru-hole applications. A board design might have all thru-hole elements on the top or part side, a mix of thru-hole and surface mount on the top only, a mix of thru-hole and surface mount elements on the top side and surface install elements on the bottom or circuit side, or surface area mount components on the leading and bottom sides of the board.

The boards are likewise used to electrically link the required leads for each part utilizing conductive copper traces. The element pads and connection traces are engraved from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Printed circuit boards are created as single agreed copper pads and traces on one side of the board only, double sided with copper pads and traces on the leading and bottom sides of the board, or multilayer designs with copper pads and traces on the top and bottom of board with a variable number of internal copper layers with traces and connections.

Single or double sided boards consist of a core dielectric material, such as FR-4 epoxy fiberglass, with copper plating on one or both sides. This copper plating is etched away to form the real copper pads and connection traces on the board surfaces as part of the board production procedure. A multilayer board includes a number of layers of dielectric material that has been impregnated with adhesives, and these layers are used to separate the layers of copper plating. All these layers are aligned then bonded into a single board structure under heat and pressure. Multilayer boards with 48 or more layers can be produced with today's innovations.

In a normal four layer board design, the internal layers are typically utilized to provide power and ground connections, such as a +5 V plane layer and a Ground aircraft layer as the two internal layers, with all other circuit and element connections made on the top and bottom layers of the board. Extremely intricate board designs may have a large number of layers to make the different connections for different voltage levels, ground connections, or for connecting the lots of leads on ball grid range gadgets and other large integrated circuit plan formats.

There are typically 2 types of material used to build a multilayer board. Pre-preg material is thin layers of fiberglass pre-impregnated with an adhesive, and remains in sheet type, typically about.002 inches thick. Core material resembles an extremely thin double sided board in that it has a dielectric product, such as epoxy fiberglass, with a copper layer deposited on each side, typically.030 density dielectric material with 1 ounce copper layer on each side. In a multilayer board style, there are 2 approaches utilized to build up the wanted variety of layers. The core stack-up approach, which is an older innovation, utilizes a center layer of pre-preg product with a layer of core material above and another layer of core product listed below. This mix of one pre-preg layer and two core layers would make a 4 layer board.

The film stack-up approach, a newer innovation, would have core product as the center layer followed by layers of pre-preg and copper product built up above and below to form the last variety of layers required by the board design, sort of like Dagwood constructing a sandwich. This method enables the producer versatility in how the board layer densities are integrated to fulfill the ended up product thickness requirements by varying the variety of sheets of pre-preg in each layer. As soon as the product layers are completed, the entire stack is subjected to heat and pressure that triggers the adhesive in the pre-preg to bond the core and pre-preg layers together into a single entity.

The process of manufacturing printed circuit boards follows the steps listed below for the majority of applications.

The process of figuring out materials, procedures, and requirements to meet the consumer's requirements for the board style based on the Gerber file details offered with the order.

The procedure of moving the Gerber file data for a layer onto an etch resist movie that is placed on the conductive copper layer.

The standard process of exposing the copper and other locations unprotected by the etch resist movie to a chemical that eliminates the unprotected copper, leaving the secured copper pads and traces in place; newer processes use plasma/laser etching rather of chemicals to eliminate the copper product, permitting finer line definitions.

The process of lining up the conductive copper and insulating dielectric layers and pushing them under heat to activate the adhesive in the dielectric layers to form a solid board product.

The procedure of drilling all of the holes for plated More interesting details here through applications; a 2nd drilling process is utilized for holes that are not to be plated through. Details on hole place and size is included in the drill drawing file.

The procedure of using copper plating to the pads, traces, and drilled through holes that are to be plated through; boards are placed in an electrically charged bath of copper.

This is needed when holes are to be drilled through a copper location however the hole is not to be plated through. Avoid this procedure if possible due to the fact that it adds cost to the completed board.

The procedure of using a protective masking material, a solder mask, over the bare copper traces or over the copper that has actually had a thin layer of solder applied; the solder mask safeguards versus ecological damage, provides insulation, safeguards against solder shorts, and safeguards traces that run in between pads.

The procedure of finish the pad areas with a thin layer of solder to prepare the board for the eventual wave soldering or reflow soldering procedure that will occur at a later date after the components have been placed.

The process of applying the markings for component classifications and component outlines to the board. May be applied to simply the top side or to both sides if parts are installed on both top and bottom sides.

The procedure of separating numerous boards from a panel of identical boards; this procedure likewise enables cutting notches or slots into the board if required.

A visual evaluation of the boards; likewise can be the process of inspecting wall quality for plated through holes in multi-layer boards by cross-sectioning or other techniques.

The process of looking for continuity or shorted connections on the boards by methods applying a voltage in between different points on the board and identifying if an existing flow occurs. Depending upon the board intricacy, this process might require a specially developed test fixture and test program to integrate with the electrical test system utilized by the board manufacturer.