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

The boards are also utilized to electrically connect the required leads for each element using conductive copper traces. The part pads and connection traces are engraved from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Printed circuit boards are created as single sided with copper pads and traces on one side of the board just, double agreed copper pads and traces on the top and bottom sides of the board, or multilayer styles with copper pads and traces on the top and bottom of board with a variable variety of internal copper layers with traces and connections.

Single or double sided boards consist of a core dielectric material, such as More interesting details here 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 surface areas as part of the board manufacturing process. A multilayer board consists of a variety of layers 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 lined up and after that 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 typical 4 layer board design, the internal layers are often utilized to provide power and ground connections, such as a +5 V aircraft layer and a Ground airplane layer as the two internal layers, with all other circuit and part connections made on the leading and bottom layers of the board. Very complicated board styles may have a a great deal of layers to make the numerous connections for various voltage levels, ground connections, or for connecting the lots of leads on ball grid array devices and other large integrated circuit bundle formats.

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

The film stack-up method, a more recent technology, would have core product as the center layer followed by layers of pre-preg and copper material built up above and listed below to form the last number of layers needed by the board style, sort of like Dagwood constructing a sandwich. This technique allows the producer flexibility in how the board layer densities are combined to fulfill the finished item density requirements by varying the variety of sheets of pre-preg in each layer. Once the product layers are finished, the whole 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 actions below for many applications.

The process of identifying materials, processes, and requirements to meet the customer's specifications for the board design based upon the Gerber file details offered with the order.

The procedure of moving the Gerber file information for a layer onto an etch withstand movie that is put on the conductive copper layer.

The conventional process of exposing the copper and other locations unprotected by the etch resist movie to a chemical that gets rid of the unguarded copper, leaving the secured copper pads and traces in place; newer processes use plasma/laser etching rather of chemicals to get rid of the copper product, enabling finer line meanings.

The process of aligning the conductive copper and insulating dielectric layers and pressing them under heat to trigger the adhesive in the dielectric layers to form a strong board product.

The process of drilling all of the holes for plated through applications; a 2nd drilling procedure is used for holes that are not to be plated through. Information on hole location and size is included 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 placed in an electrically charged bath of copper.

This is required when holes are to be drilled through a copper area however the hole is not to be plated through. Prevent this process if possible due to the fact that it includes cost to the completed board.

The process of applying 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 used; the solder mask safeguards versus ecological damage, provides insulation, protects against solder shorts, and protects traces that run in between pads.

The process of coating the pad locations 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 elements have been put.

The procedure of using the markings for part designations and part describes to the board. May be used 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 process likewise enables cutting notches or slots into the board if required.

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

The process of looking for connection or shorted connections on the boards by ways applying a voltage in between various points on the board and figuring out if a current flow happens. Relying on 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.