A prototype PCB is one of the hidden gems of our modern society. It’s the heart of your computer. Your cell phone. Your tablet. Countless everyday tools rely on the function of a high-quality circuit board to deliver their best performance. Without good prototype PCB assembly? We would be much worse off. Staying keen on the root of the issue will mean a lot when you start looking into PCB manufacturing and conjuring up all the ways you can contribute to one of the fastest growing industries on the planet.
A prototype printed circuit board is achieved through a series of careful steps. The list below will walk you through them to give you a better idea of the process required.
Choose The Kind Of Board
Before a prototype PCB is crafted its function needs to be laid out plain. There are two different types of circuit assemblies related to the average PCB — you have the integrated circuit (sometimes referred to as a ‘microchip’) and the hybrid circuit. The type of circuit board you’ll need depends on the function and the longevity, among other factors.
A printed circuit board can come in a number of different designs to better meet the demand of various tools, industries and consumer bases. Framed stencils are designed with smooth aperture walls and are able to be used for 16 Mil pitch and below for the smaller circuit boards. FR-4 glass epoxy is the primary substrate upon which most rigid PCBs are produced. Once a design is drafted out and approved, the printing process can begin.
There are three available methods to print out the legend. These have all the information necessary for manufacturers to work off of, from the component designators to the switch settings and test joints. Additional printing services include silk screen printing, liquid photo imaging and ink jet printing. These help the assembling and testing aspects of the circuit board creation process.
Once the design and print processes are completed, laminates can be implemented to near the prototype PCB to its result. Laminates are manufactured by curing under both pressurized and hot layers of cloth or paper. The thermoset resin forms an integral final piece of uniform thickness, essential for maintaining the highest amount of quality possible. These can be as large as four by eight feet in width and length. Complex circuits are usually crafted with multiple layers.
Temperature is a vital part of the prototype PCB manufacturing process. The temperature marker material is initially opaque, but once it reaches over 400 degrees Fahrenheit it will liquefy and become shiny. All of these steps need to be followed closely to ensure customers are receiving the high quality circuit boards they’ve come to expect. As you can imagine, quick turn PCP prototypes have become the industry standard.
Creating The Ideal Circuit Board
Demand only gets higher by the day. A prototype PCB manufacturer should be up-to-date on the necessary shortcuts required to produce quick yet high quality circuit boards. A mixture of human ingenuity and machine efficiency has been proven to craft the best results — neither one is superior to the other, but rather, provide different skills for different purposes. PCB assembly services are an industry that will only see more growth from here. Make sure you’re prepared for the ride.