What are the Various Types of Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing

Designing, fabricating and creating a printed circuit board comes with several factors that need to be considered and the entire PCB manufacturing process is as critical as designing the main circuit itself. The process of printed circuit board manufacturing starts from drawing the diagram of the PCB layout, fabricating the printed circuit board by using the apt materials and bases, testing the functionality and finally assembling the PCB with the electronic devices.

Now the process and complexity of printed circuit board manufacturing depends on the type of PCB and more precisely on the number of layers it is made of. Printed circuit boards can be rigid, flexible or rigid-flexible, depending upon the process of its manufacturing and fabrication.

Let us know about the varied factors that govern the process of printed circuit board manufacturing. The ideal process of manufacturing a PCB involves certain steps that start from feeding the Gerber data in the CAM system (Computer Aided Manufacturing). The input of the Gerber data is then followed by verifying the data and checking whether they comply with the DFM (Design for Manufacturability) factor. Later on, deviations, developments and improvements are made to make sure the PCBs are aided with full functional value. The next procedure involves separating the individual PCBs from a larger board with the help of drilling and routing perforations and grooves. Nowadays this task is taken care of by laser cutters.

Factors Determining Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing Process

Besides, printed circuit board manufacturing also depends upon the types of PCBs involved in the process.

  • For manufacturing a basic PCB that involves a single layer or insulating board, it becomes easy to connect the electrical components with the copper traces with least complexity. This basic PCB is used for low level electrical activities.
  • A double-sided printed circuit board manufacturing is considered to be slightly more intricate than single-sided PCB, as both the sides of this board are used to connect electrical components. A double sided PCB comprises substrates and copper traces at both sides to facilitate close-knit electrical connection.
  • Multi-layered PCBs are another type that includes multiple sheets or bases of substrate with insulating layers between each sheet. The complexity of the printed circuit board manufacturing here would depend upon the number of layers used for the fabrication of this PCB, which can vary from 2 layers to 42 layers in highly sophisticated circuitry.

Apart from these above mentioned types of PCBs that decide about the manufacturing process, the rigidity or flexibility of a printed circuit board also determines the manufacturing process. Depending upon the kind of applications, a PCB can either be rigid or flexible. Rigid PCBs are most commonly used in daily use electronic items like computers, mobile phones, televisions and other electrical devices. Flexible PCBs on the other hand are used in medical equipment, flexible heaters, hearing aids etc. The third and more advanced kind of PCB is the rigid-flex PCBs that are made of multiple flexible layers and are used in military and aerospace applications and in electronic products that weight less and take less space.

To conclude with it becomes evident that the printed circuit board manufacturing process is determined the most by the type of PCBs and their varied applications in different industrial sectors.