PCB Fabrication

What is PCB fabrication?

PCB fabrication is a way to print circuit boards so that electronic devices can use them. The goal of the process itself is to transform a specific circuit board design into a physical structure based on the given specifications in the design package. PCB boards feature in a variety of industries such as LED Lighting, the automotive industry, aerospace components and consumer electronics. For example, the consumer electronics industry is the most liked market for PCB manufacturers. Everything from your blender, to your smartphone that you use every day, to your TV, all run on PCBs.
Many different designs can be created depending on the client’s request.

A circuit board needs many different things, so make sure that you have the right specifications for your product. We have a range of materials we can use to create the circuit board fit for your specifications. Whether its prototype, low or high volume, single layer, multi-layer, rigid or flex fabrication, eci technology eci technology can meet demanding schedules.

What materials does eci technology use?

For our base, we use materials such as FR4, Rogers, Arlon, alumni substrate and other advanced materials to meet customer-specific requirements. We have used many industrial machines that can complete the process quickly. We also receive our PCB Fabrication devices from the best EMS Provider in Canada.

At eci technology, our goal is to utilize the best materials to create the best PCBs to serve our clients. We understand that the functionality of a PCB starts with its design and materials; this is why we place a priority on designing and manufacturing the best PCBs for a variety of industries.

How does PCB fabrication work?

A PCB helps an electronic device function. It is simply a board that connects all of the components of an electronic device. Through slots/ports on the board, components such as microchips and resistors are able to interact with each other so that the device can function. Without a PCB, these components cannot communicate with each other, making it difficult for a specific electronic device such as a computer to work effectively.

PCB Fabrication involves a long process with many machines and chemicals to make the circuit boards we need today. Before even starting to manufacture eci technology, we will always confirm with the client if the prepared design is acceptable.

How does the PCB Layout Process Work?

Before getting into specifics, we will illustrate the main stages of the PCB layout process, so that you will have a better idea of PCB. The stages of the process are:

  • PCB Development – Schematic Capture
    • This stage involves taking a circuit board design and turning it into production
    • A designer will use a schematic editor to determine the layout of the electronic circuit
      • This layout will be saved as a netlist file and used throughout the PCB process 
      • The file will displays inter-connectivity information about the component pins
    • The goal of this stage is to achieve the highest quality design within the given development time 
  • In this stage, a created PCB prototype will limit errors during the manufacturing of the PCB model
    • This prototype will have similar characteristics to the final model, but its primary goal is to build on the quality of the design
    • The prototype will be:
      • Mechanically assembled 
  • PCB Manufacturing – Component Footprint Creation 
    • This stage is where the physical construction of the board design takes place
    • This includes printing and implementing the planned design into a PCB
    • A created footprint pattern will determine the space for component placement
      • This footprint will demonstrate the pad arrangement in the surface-mount technology (SMT) and the through-hole technology (THT) which can electronically connect a component to a specific circuit board
      • The footprint can also determine the number of needed layers for the PCB (up to 30 layers)
    • Components on the board are connected to wires 
    • To achieve an adequate design, we take the following steps:
      • An image of the desired layout will be placed onto copper-clad laminates, 
        • E.g. By laminating (heating and pressing) the board’s materials at high temperatures
      • Holes are drilled into the board to allow hole pins and vias to connect to it
      • Excess copper is removed if the board does not require it
      • Pin and via holes are plated on the board
      • Silkscreen printing will indicate logos and other required markings on the PCBs surface
  • PCB Testing – Routing
    • This stage focus on how well the PCB performs in terms of its functionality
    • The design is corrected/improved by finding errors or improvement areas of the design 
    • Design wire routing of the PCB will route physical connection between components throughout the board
      • Physical connection between components are determined through the netlist file 
  • PCB Assembly – Verification and Analysis
    • This stage is when the PCB components will be placed on a board and are then soldered together
    • The design is reviewed to determine if it passes a manufacture rule check
    • Tests on routing, line length matching, test coverage, antenna design, clearance for assembly and evaluations to ensure that the PCB meets the given criteria are conducted
    • A 3D model can then be created to assess the layout of the final PCB model
    • When the layout is approved by the customer, a package of the PCB will be sent to the client

What are the more specific steps in PCB creation?

In more detail, here is the process that eci technology will use in PCB creation:

  1. Design – With clear discussions with companies to determine what the needed function is, eci technology will come up with a design that fits your company needs. To plan everything correctly, we use software for the original design of the PCB.
  2. Print – We use a special laser printer to make a film coating. Holes will then be put into the film coating to make layering easier in the future.
  3. Put on Copper – When the film is complete, it is then put on a copper board so the PCB can function. The board is then decontaminated.
  4. Chemical Bath – The board utilizes a light-sensitive chemical to ensure that it is clean. When exposed to radiation the design is embedded into the copper. The board is then put in an alkaline solution to get rid of anything unwanted on it. 
  5. Clean Up -The board is then left to dry. Any excess copper is gotten rid of with another chemical solution. 
  6. Compare – The design and the copper board are compared to make sure there aren’t any errors. 
  7. Align – When the copper board is dried it is taken to a machine that will align the layers in the board using the holes created. 
  8. Laminate – The layers are bonded together once everything is properly checked using heat and pressure.
  9. Drilling – The circuit board is drilled now using the holes. 
  10.  Plating – By plating, the layers are fused and everything is fitted correctly into the circuit board. 
  11. Chemical Bath – The board is put into a light-sensitive solution and a UV light is used to get rid of unwanted things on the outer layer. 
  12. Heat up – A solder mask film is put on the board and UV light is used to remove any film that isn’t needed. The copper board is then put into an oven. 
  13. Plating – The board is plated to protect the copper. Usually, gold or silver is used for the task. 
  14. Functionality Test – The circuit is tested to make sure that the pathways can properly connect the electricity. The strength of the board is also tested. 
  15. Cutting – Using the original, many printed circuit boards are created.

eci technology is both ISO 9001:2015 certified and Medical ISO 13485 certified. PCB Fabrication, PCB Assembly is from the best EMS services provider of Canada. It can offer full turn-key, complete end-to-end manufacturing services, spanning various sectors such as Consumer Electronics, Medical, Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, Wireless Communications and Green Energy.

What happens after the PCB fabrication process?

The boards are checked so that they are safe for use and presentable. Our team will check on the board’s corners to ensure that they are not too sharp and they reassess if there is any damage on the board. We then check to make sure that the PCB meets industry requirements and that the circuit board completes its assigned function. Contact us today for a PCB that will fit your company needs.

In compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA), our Accessible Customer Services Policy is available at your request. Simply make the request through our contact page.

© ECI Technology Group Inc. 2020