PCB Fabrication 101

A comprehensive and thoroughly test process is the key to PCB fabrication success. Explore our process below:


Prepare both front end tooling traveler and production traveler detailing all instructions necessary to manufacture the board, using customer supplied data. Review all customer documents and resolve all manufacturing issues with customer.
Make photo masters and/or phototools from the plotted silver films. Punch tooling holes into the film and perform final inspection of all phototools.
Make photo masters and/or phototools from the plotted silver films. Punch tooling holes into the film and perform final inspection of all phototools.
Coat each innerlayer with a photoresist material and transfer the circuit board image using phototool artwork. D evelop the photo image. E tch the unwanted copper, leaving isolated conductors in the circuit pattern. S trip photo resist.
Inspect using A utomated O ptical I nspection system for quality and conformance to customer specifications.
Clean copper circuitry and apply an oxide treatment to enhance bonding during lamination process.
Assemble innerlayer details and press together to form one composite, multilayer panel.
Drill holes through board to establish a continuous path between layers and to provide holes for customers to mount their components.
Dip panel in a copper solution to deposit copper in the barrel of the drilled holes
Coat the panel with a photoresist material, transfer the outerlayer circuit board images to the panel using top & bottom phototool artwork. Develop the photo image.
Electroplate panels In a copper solution to form electrical conductors on circuits and in holes.
Remove photoresist to expose copper. Remove unwanted copper, leaving isolated conductors in the circuit pattern.
Electrically test the panel for opens and shorts, using a custom designed bed of nails to test conductivity. Or for smaller orders, a Moving Probe Tester can be utilized that is fixtureless and incorporates multiple probes to test the board by simultaneously probing a consolidation of nets predetermined by its software.
Coat the circuit pattern with a solder resist ink and print a legend onto the panel to identify various components.
The following four (4) processes, 15-15c, offer the customer a choice of surface finishes. The first is HASL, or Hot-Air-Solder- Level. This process involves dipping the panel in molten solder, then blasting with hot air to even out the solder coating on the board surface and within the plated through holes .
Immersion silver: Process panels through a series of successive baths first to preclean, then to activate the copper before applying an immersion silver surface finish that has become increasingly popular for today’s fine pitch SMT devices including BGA and uBGA’s. Surface coplanarity between the SMT devices and the PWB footprint is achieved to facilitate assembly.
Electroless Nickel/Immersion Gold: Process panels through a series of successive baths first to preclean, then to activate the copper before applying an ENIG surface finish that has become increasingly popular for today’s fine pitch SMT devices including BGA and uBGA’s. Surface coplanarity between the SMT devices and the PWB footprint is achieved to facilitate assembly.
Oganic Solderability Preservative: Process panels through a series of successive baths first to preclean, then to activate the copper before applying an OSP surface finish that has become increasingly popular for today’s fine pitch SMT devices including BGA and uBGA’s. Surface coplanarity between the SMT devices and the PWB footprint is achieved to facilitate assembly.
Microsections are taken from a coupon or board from each lot, then potted and polished before being examined for through hole integrity as it pertains to copper thickness and uniformity and interconnect integrity.
Cut the individual circuit boards out of the panel with a CNC machine. This process also includes the possibility of scoring the boards within an array for dismemberment after delivery and assembly.
Electrical test, dimension and visual inspection, and quality audit ensure compliance with customer requirements.
Package, label and ship the finished circuit boards according to the customer’s specifications.