PCB Fabrication Specifications and Requirements

The term printed circuit board or PCB is often heard in electronic manufacturing circles. Even if a person is not exposed to these terms, anyone with electronic equipment should know that without a PCB, our modern-day gadgets will not be able to run. PCBs are at the heart of electronic gadgets such as PCs, cellphones, Blu-ray players and television.They are even found in radar and computer systems. PCB is a term that is used for both assembled boards, or for bare boards.

The definition of a typical printed circuit board is it is a self-contained mechanical assembly that electrically and mechanically connects electronic mechanisms.It consists thin fiberglass layers. It is also laminated with etched copper patterns. Some people also refer to it as Printed Wiring Board (PWB).There are several steps involved in the process of manufacturing PCBs. One of the major steps is PCB fabrication.

There are various kinds of PCBs. The differences of these various types become especially evident during the PCB fabrication process. They can be single-sided (with a single copper layer), double-sided (has a pair of copper layers), or multi-layer (more than two inner or outer copper layers). A single-sided board usually has material made from some type of rigid laminate. It usually has a base made from woven glass, with copper of various thicknesses on one side. Since the components are mounted on only one side of the PCB, they are usually placed through holes, then soldered and clipped. Surface Mount Technology is also used, but usually for automated assembly.

Double-sided PCBs also have the same rigid laminate and woven glass material. They have copper of various thicknesses on both sides. Multi-layer boards on the other hand, are also made from similar materials, with copper foil on both top and bottom layers. It also has two or more layers. The number of layers corresponds to the number of copper foils.

Multi-layer PCBs are better because it has a much higher density when it comes to its components. The circuits found within a PCB are formed by a layer of conducting material placed on the surface of a substrate, and then attached to the interconnecting circuits. Some sophisticated PCB Assembly methods even include components such as resistors and capacitors that are embedded in the substrate. An assembled PCB may have circuits that have a singular function or even multiple, complicated functions. A PCB Laminate may be manufactured with more than two layers of copper tracks by using a sandwich construction. The cost of the laminate reflects the number of layers. The extra layers may be used to route more complicated circuitry, and/or distribute the power supply more effectively.

PCBThere are many companies that specialize in manufacturing PCBs. Clients should be guided with general specifications when they submit their work orders. In doing single-layer PCB fabrication, companies usually follow these specifications: first, the maximum size for circuits should be 8 inches by 8 inches and the minimum line width should be six millimeters. Second, each layer has to contain text with a minimum track width of eight millimeters and a minimum height of eighty millimeters. On the other hand, the single-layer drawing of an assembly box prototype should be in dxf file. Also, the position of hole on the drawing should be accurate and at scale. All information needed should be provided in the drawing, such as thickness and material type. For multi-layer PCB fabrication, a three-dimensional drawing is required from the client. The 3D drawing is to represent the entire circuit. The drawing should also indicate the top layer and the bottom layer.

In the year 2012, the world demand for bare PCBs reached at least $60 billion. PCB production sites in Asia account for 90% of PCB production all over the world. China is the leading producer of PCBs, with an estimated 40% of the pie belonging to them. Japan is second, and South Korea is in third place. The United States, on the other hand, is in fifth place.

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