Electrical gadgets and appliances are primarily comprised of printed circuit boards (PCB). These boards give mechanical support to different parts of the gadgets. Conductive pathways are incorporated in these boards to supply electric current among the components.
PCB assembly involves a series of complex processes that must be employed properly to create cost-efficient and high-quality electronic designs.
Here are some tips on improving your PCB assembly process
• Prepare the board that will be converted into a PCB.
The designer must complement the board preparations and types of raw materials with the quality of the product he wants to attain. If the designer wants to create a low-priced gadget, then he must use cheap raw materials and employ a simple preparation. The first step in preparing the PCB is the construction of the laminate. This is done by putting pressure on the pieces of cloth or paper to be attached to the their most resin to construct an evenly thick panel.
The kind of material used in this process sets the specific laminate classification and function the product can perform. The things to be considered in determining a board’s classification are dielectric constant, shear strength, fire resistance, loss factor and tensile strength.
• Engraving the circuits on the board.
The approach for this step relies on the final product that the designer wants to achieve. Commonly, PCB assembly processes include wrapping the laminate on both faces with copper. Then, certain copper layers along the restricted areas will be removed. As a result, the board will have precise copper traces. This method is called the subtractive method. The cost of implementing this method is low, but it causes greater pollution to the environment.
Another method for etching copper traces is the additive method. In this method, copper traces will be electroplated on the laminate to create an accurate circuitry. Even if this method utilizes less copper and produces less residues, it is still considered as a complex process since it involves doing complicated steps.
• Different approaches to the printing procedure.
1. Large quantity approach
This printing approach utilizes silk-screens. This is considered to be the most profitable approach and photographic alternative when there is a need for accurate line widths.
2. Small quantity approach
This approach uses a see-through film and photo-mask together with a photo sensitized board. The copper traces will be etched on the board with the use of a laser ablation. You can also use a computer numerical control mill, which has a spade-shaped blade used for removing unwanted copper traces from the laminate.
3. Hobbyist approach
This approach utilizes a laser in printing copper traces on a transparent film before moving it to an iron or a laminator. The laminator will be in charge of the final etching process. This approach is not suitable for making mass products.
• Drill enough holes into the board and insert circuit constituents.
The next part of PCB assembly is drilling holes, where the components will be attached. This is done by using a small diameter drill bits, which are coated with tungsten carbide. In this process, you will need to utilize a fast-speed automatic drill to prevent damaging and ripping copper tracks. The holes and drill bits that will remain uncovered are usually coated with solder composite. This is to let the PCB conduct electric current without experiencing problems like copper oxidation.
• Resolve all kinds of disorder.
Since this process requires a large investment in hiring professional workers and renting a place where the operation will be done, you still have another option in case you do not have adequate resources. You can try outsourcing PCBs from other manufacturing company. In this way, the company’s expenses will be reduced.
Enhancing each stage of the PCB assembly will result to a more productive workflow and products.