Kejie Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing Process

The process of making a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) involves several steps, which can vary depending on the complexity of the design and the materials used. We evaluate the best manufacturing process for every project.

  1. Design Creation: The first step is to create a design using specialized software such as Altium, Eagle, or Cadence Allegro. The design includes the layout of the components, the traces, and the pads where the components will be soldered.
  2. Material Selection: The base material for the PCB is chosen, which typically consists of a substrate made of fiberglass-reinforced epoxy resin (FR-4) or other materials. The copper foil is applied to one or both sides of the substrate.
  3. Photo-Imaging (Photolithography): A photosensitive film is applied to the copper-clad substrate. The design is then transferred onto the film using a UV laser or an exposure tool. The areas where copper needs to be etched away are exposed to light, which hardens the film in those areas.
  4. Developing: The unexposed areas of the film are washed away, leaving a pattern that corresponds to the traces and pads of the PCB design.
  5. Etching: The exposed copper is then etched away, leaving only the copper traces and pads where the film remained.
  6. Drilling: Holes are drilled through the substrate at precise locations to allow for the passage of electrical current between layers or to accommodate components. The holes are then plated with copper to ensure a good electrical connection.
  7. Soldermask Application: A soldermask is applied to the surface of the PCB to prevent solder from sticking to areas where it is not wanted. The soldermask is then exposed and developed to create the desired pattern.
  8. Silk Screen Printing: A legend or reference designators can be silk-screened onto the PCB to indicate the location of components and their values.
  9. Final Inspection: The PCB is inspected for any defects or errors. This can be done manually or with the help of automated optical inspection (AOI) machines.
  10. Plating: If required, the edges of the PCB can be plated to prevent tarnishing and to ensure a good connection when the PCB is inserted into a socket.
  11. Final Cleansing: The PCB is cleaned to remove any residue from the manufacturing process.
  12. Quality Control: The finished PCBs are tested to ensure that they meet the specifications and that there are no defects.
  13. Assembly: If the PCBs are to be assembled, the components are soldered onto the board using surface-mount technology (SMT) or through-hole technology (THT).
  14. Final Testing: The assembled PCBs are tested to ensure that they function correctly.

This is a simplified overview of the PCB manufacturing process. The actual process can be much more complex, especially for high-density interconnect (HDI) PCBs or those with special features such as embedded components or active-matrix displays.

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