In today’s time of high technology, most of the devices we use every day – would not be able to function without printed circuit boards. Any electronic device, from a regular remote control, cell phone, computer, etc. – contains this component. A small but significant printed circuit board is made up of numerous elements.
What Are Printed Circuit Boards Used For?
Printed circuit boards are used to mount passive components on them. These can be resistors, capacitors, coils, diodes, active discrete components, integrated circuits – but also all other electronic components. PCBs are also used to electrically connect these components. The application of printed circuit boards in the production of electronic devices provides greater reliability of components and devices – improves technological feasibility, increases speed, and protection against interference. To make a PCB – you need a factory-prepared thin plate of some insulating material. This can be, for example, a plate made of fiberglass with epoxy resin. Then, a thin layer of copper should be applied to such a board – on one or both sides.
PCB Fabrication Process – The Easiest Steps To Understand It
It is quite clear that today without the existence of PCBs – there would not be all those electronic devices that make our life easier. Functional and practical electronics would not exist without a PCB – because this little board actually controls a lot of things. Its main role is to direct and control electricity. And how are PCBs made? In a few simple tips, we will try to help you understand their fabrication process.
1. Knowledge about the materials from which the boards are made
We said at the beginning that for making PCBs, we need a thin fabricated board – made of a material that’s a good insulator. We can use different materials for that purpose. However, the most commonly used material is fiberglass – on which a layer of copper is applied. Depending on whether it is a single-layer or two-layer printed circuit board – it also depends on whether the copper foil will coat one or both sides of the board. Copper is also usually coated with sheet metal, nickel or lead. The raw materials from which PCBs are made are not so diverse – but they should definitely be well known because the whole manufacturing process is not very simple.
2. You have to know the making process well
When we have a board that is covered with a layer of copper – the next step is to “print” it. This procedure is done with the help of a special printer, the so-called plotter – which is used by the PCB manufacturer in the production of printed circuit boards. When this part of the process is completed – the excess residual copper is removed from the board. That process takes the use of special chemicals. This way, we prepare the board for drilling holes – which are going to connect and fit the top and bottom prints of a PCB. The holes are metalized in the joints, but the entire board is covered with a protective insulating layer – to protect the board against short circuits.
3. PCB design
Depending on the needs and purpose of the device for which the PCB is used – an appropriate design will be developed. The need and goals dictate the design of the board – but also its functionality and stability. Some boards can be simple – while others are far more complex. Of course, the price of a certain PCB model also depends on this factor. The more complex the PCB is- the higher its price will be. But, what is actually a more complex PCB design? First of all, a more complex design always implies more components. Therefore, the more elements it has – the harder it is to assemble the PCB. Of course, you must also keep in mind the types of components – because their price also varies.
4. Consult your manufacturer
Although many today are engaged in DIY making of PCBs – we believe that this job is still better to leave to professionals. However, if you are interested in learning and understanding the production process in detail – then it is best to consult with your manufacturer. Then, you will be able to get advice or even perfect the whole process. If this is what you want – then we advise you to contact experienced and reliable manufacturers. Most of the manufacturers come from China, which is also known in this industry as the world’s largest PCB factory.
5. The time required for the production and delivery of PCBs
You have ordered a certain amount of PCBs that you need as components for the devices you are assembling – but you don’t know how long that can take? The answer is simple. It all depends on the complexity of the design and your needs – as well as the amount you need. 7 days is usually enough to produce PCBs. However, this is not the rule – because it all depends on the complexity of the component you need. Therefore, the most reliable way is to inquire about it with the manufacturer. The production process usually never lasts longer than a month. Deadlines can sometimes be extended due to other circumstances. For example, assembling and shipping products can steal your time – usually 1 to 2 weeks depending on the complexity of the component and the location. Also, today we must keep in mind that we are limited by some other factors such as Covid 19 – which is why other industries very often encounter delivery delays.
The PCB fabrication is essentially a very complex process – and therefore needs to be well understood. Although we gave you a few tips to help you better understand this process – you need to acquire some additional knowledge yourself. That is why the advice is to always direct your business towards cooperation with professionals – that is, with reliable companies that have many years of experience in this industry.