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

The boards are likewise utilized to electrically link the required leads for each part utilizing conductive copper traces. The part pads and connection traces are engraved from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Printed circuit boards are designed as single sided with copper pads and traces on one side of the board only, double sided with copper pads and traces on the top and bottom sides of the board, or multilayer styles with copper pads and traces on 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 product, such as FR-4 epoxy fiberglass, with copper plating on one or both sides. This copper plating is engraved away to form the real copper pads and connection traces on the board surfaces as part of the board production procedure. A multilayer board consists of a number of layers See more of dielectric product that has been fertilized 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 common 4 layer board design, the internal layers are frequently utilized to provide power and ground connections, such as a +5 V aircraft layer and a Ground aircraft layer as the 2 internal layers, with all other circuit and element connections made on the top and bottom layers of the board. Really complicated board designs may have a a great deal of layers to make the different connections for different voltage levels, ground connections, or for connecting the numerous leads on ball grid range devices and other large integrated circuit bundle formats.

There are usually two kinds of material utilized to build a multilayer board. Pre-preg product is thin layers of fiberglass pre-impregnated with an adhesive, and remains in sheet type, normally about.002 inches thick. Core product is similar to an extremely thin double sided board because it has a dielectric material, such as epoxy fiberglass, with a copper layer transferred on each side, typically.030 density dielectric product with 1 ounce copper layer on each side. In a multilayer board design, there are two techniques utilized to develop the wanted variety of layers. The core stack-up technique, which is an older innovation, utilizes a center layer of pre-preg product with a layer of core product above and another layer of core material below. This mix of one pre-preg layer and two core layers would make a 4 layer board.

The film stack-up method, a newer technology, would have core material as the center layer followed by layers of pre-preg and copper product developed above and listed below to form the last number of layers required by the board style, sort of like Dagwood constructing a sandwich. This technique enables the maker versatility in how the board layer densities are combined to meet the finished product thickness requirements by varying the number of sheets of pre-preg in each layer. As soon as the material layers are completed, the entire stack undergoes 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 procedure of manufacturing printed circuit boards follows the steps below for the majority of applications.

The process of determining products, processes, and requirements to fulfill the client's requirements for the board style based upon the Gerber file details supplied with the order.

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

The conventional process of exposing the copper and other locations unprotected by the etch withstand movie to a chemical that gets rid of the unprotected copper, leaving the safeguarded copper pads and traces in place; newer procedures use plasma/laser etching instead of chemicals to get rid of the copper product, enabling finer line definitions.

The procedure of aligning the conductive copper and insulating dielectric layers and pressing them under heat to activate the adhesive in the dielectric layers to form a solid board product.

The procedure of drilling all the holes for plated through applications; a second drilling procedure is utilized for holes that are not to be plated through. Details on hole area and size is consisted of in the drill drawing file.

The process of applying copper plating to the pads, traces, and drilled through holes that are to be plated through; boards are positioned 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 process if possible due to the fact that it includes expense to the finished board.

The process of applying a protective masking product, a solder mask, over the bare copper traces or over the copper that has had a thin layer of solder used; the solder mask secures versus environmental damage, offers insulation, protects against solder shorts, and safeguards traces that run in between pads.

The process 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 actually been put.

The procedure of applying the markings for element designations and part lays out to the board. Might be applied to simply the top or to both sides if components are mounted on both leading and bottom sides.

The procedure of separating numerous boards from a panel of identical boards; this procedure also allows cutting notches or slots into the board if needed.

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

The process of looking for continuity or shorted connections on the boards by means applying a voltage in between different points on the board and identifying if a present circulation happens. Depending upon the board complexity, this procedure may require a specifically created test component and test program to incorporate with the electrical test system used by the board producer.