Understanding the Manufacturing Process of the PCB Design

Prototype pcbs

Printed circuit boards are an important part of our technological world today. They are used in the design and manufacturing of many of the products that we rely on every day, including computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and even video gaming systems. The design of these PCBs is extremely complex and is what makes every technological device completely unique. If you are interested in learning more about the printed circuit board prototype and the PCB design and layout process, this guide is your informative source.

What makes the designs so unique?
Think about how complex the designs of each PCB have to be. Even mobile phones differ significantly from one another. One device might allow you to utilize the internet, while another one does not. One device might let you take advanced photographs, while another has basic photography processes. All of these individual details lie in the specific PCB design. The PCB design and layout process can take many months, if not years, to develop the entire project. PCB designers work together to design, make changes, test, and make even more changes. Eventually, the final product is what you see on the shelf.

What materials are used in the design process?
The PCB assembly service is not always completed by the designer themselves. In fact, the PCB manufacturer is usually responsible for this part of the completed project. The designer may or may not be a part of the material selection though. In some cases, a planned PCB board will only effectively work with one type of material. There are, however, many different types of PCB materials to choose from. The most common is the glass epoxy.

FR4 glass epoxy is the primary insulating substrate upon which the majority of rigid PCBs are produced. It consists of a thin layer of copper foil that is laminated to one or both sides of the FR4 panel. Circuitry interconnections are etched into the copper layers to produce printed circuit boards. Complex circuits, like the computers and mobile phones, are produced in multiple layers. It is also possible that in multiple layer circuit projects that different PCBs are made out of different materials. It all depends on the PCB design and layout.

How exactly is the PCB processed?
As complex as the material choices are, there are also many different PCB manufacturing processes to choose from. Again, the PCB designer may or may not be a part of this decision. But, choosing a specific PCB manufacturer may also distinguish which process you choose, as the printer might only be set up for one or two of the different processes.

Currently, there are three methods to print the PCB legend, which contains the different component designators, switch settings, test points and other indications that are helpful in assembling, testing and servicing the circuit board. The different methods include silk screen printing, liquid photo imaging, and ink jet printing. While it is important to choose a manufacturing process that works for the final intended project, it is also necessary to choose one that can be later manipulated and repaired, as needed. The exact PCB design and layout is one of the most important parts of the entire process.

The printed circuit board industry is an important part of our world. In fact, the global printed circuit board market is projected to reach an estimated $72.6 billion by 2022. There are many components involved in the manufacturing of a single PCB. The process is involved, can be complex, and requires a specialized PCB design and layout skill.