The manufacturing of a printed circuit board is a complex process that begins with a product concept and ends with a fully functional PCB assembly. Along the way a schematic is created to capture the net connectivity, the physical circuitry is laid out in a PCB design, and electronic components are ordered. After soldering the components onto the board and completing assembly testing and verification, the circuit board will be integrated into the full system.
Taking a circuit board from start to finish has many intricate details that must be completed for success. One area in this process that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves is the fabrication of the bare board. The design of a PCB receives a lot of attention due to the complex software tools used in its creation. Manufacturing will get equally lauded in the satisfaction of completing the final product. But somewhere in the middle of this lies the mysterious process of circuit board fabrication, often unknown outside of the design world.
To uncover the tenebrous origins of a raw circuit board, and how it’s prepared for electronic components to be assembled to it, we will answer the question: what is the PCB fabrication process? To get truly acquainted, we will scrutinize what it takes to construct a high-quality circuit board fab that can be easily assembled by a contract manufacturer.