PCB Fabrication

PCB Fabrication

It’s what is on the inside that counts, especially when it comes to circuit boards. If you work with lower-quality or poorly constructed boards, you’re more likely to deal with board failures and other problems. Electronic Manufacturing Services Group, Inc. specializes in printed circuit board (PCB) assembly. We don’t fabricate boards ourselves, but our team will help coordinate the fabrication process so you end up with the best PCBs possible. 

What Is the Printed Circuit Board Fabrication Process?

PCB fabrication turns a design into a physical structure — the shiny green board that serves as a base to attach components. Fabrication involves several steps, including imaging the layout on a laminate, etching copper and laminating materials at high temperatures. 

When you work with a PCB fabricator, they are responsible for producing a circuit board that matches your exact specifications. 

PCB Fabrication

Steps Involved in the Fabrication Process 

The fabrication process includes several techniques in the course of creating the panel:

  • Layout: You’ll present the fabricator with a copy of the design for the PCB. The first step is for the fabricator to lay out the design on the board, usually by using photo imaging. They’ll coat the board’s copper surface with a liquid resin, then expose that to UV light to cure it in the areas left exposed. 
  • Removing excess copper: The next step is to remove the copper, usually through etching, which exposes the excess copper to a solvent.
  • Lamination: PCBs consist of several layers of material, usually copper alternated with a nonconductive substrate. The layers are fused together with heat during the lamination process.
  • Drilling holes for mounting components: After lamination, PCB milling takes place. There are several ways to drill holes into the boards, including creating through-holes or vias or through panelizing. 
  • Plating pin holes: If you need to apply plating, such as gold plate, to the vias holes or through holes, several plating techniques exist. The fabricator may use electroplating, electroless plating or dry plating. Each option has its benefits depending on the type of metal being used.
  • Adding protective coatings: Once the boards are plated, the next step is to coat them with a protective material to minimize wear and tear.
  • Applying finishes: Some fabricators apply a finish to the fabricated board to protect the copper.
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How Fabrication Fits Into the Design Process

While PCB fabrication is a distinct process separate from the PCB design process, it’s still worth understanding how it works. PCB fabricators won’t necessarily know why you’re designing a circuit board or its intended use, but when you know how the boards are made, you can make the appropriate design specifications to ensure the highest-quality final product.

  • Yield: If the design’s parameters stretch the fabrication equipment’s tolerance boundaries, you may end up with boards that don’t work. That’s why it’s important for designers and fabricators to have a shared understanding of the intended application. 
  • Manufacturing: Your design influences whether your boards can even be produced. If there aren’t adequate clearances between the board’s edges and surface elements or if the material you choose doesn’t have a high enough coefficient of thermal expansion, it might be unproducible. 
  • Classification: Several classification levels exist based on the intended usage of a board. If you build a PCB to a lower classification than required, it can fail early.

PCB Fabrication

PCB Fabrication

Reach out to Us to Learn More

PCB design and fabrication should go hand in hand. EMSG has worked with companies in a wide range of industries since 1995, offering expert PCB assembly. We’ll work with your design team to ensure your finished circuit board meets your specifications. We have ties with PCB fabricators and can help coordinate fabrication as part of the overall process.

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We provide top notch customer satisfaction

We provide top notch customer satisfaction

We serve over a dozen industries

We serve over a dozen industries

We value quality on ever order filled

We value quality on ever order filled

We provide quick turnaround times

We provide quick turnaround times

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We Want to Work with you!

We make it a point to make sure that what we deliver is exactly what you want.