Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Manufacture

Steps in the Manufacture of PCBs

The following are the main operations involved in making printed circuit boards:

Plating
Conductive copper is first electroplated onto the substrate.

Etching
Unwanted copper is etched away from the substrate.

Lamination
Multiple-layer boards are made by adhering thin layers of substrate together.

Drilling
Holes for vias and through-hole components are drilled automatically by CNC equipment.

Solder Plating
The copper traces are coated to protect them and prevent oxidation. Some typical coatings are solder, gold plate, or OSP.

Solder Resist
The circuit board is coated with solder resist in places that are not to be soldered. The resist prevents traces from being shorted by solder.

Test
Circuit boards are tested by computerized equipment before mounting of components. The computer tests each contact for proper connection to other contacts.

Populating
Surface mount and through-hole components are placed and soldered onto the PCB. Mounted integrated circuits may be tested for proper connection by standard tests. Further tests may be run to the completed board to verify circuit integrity and proper functionality.