PCB Prototype the Easy Way

Full feature custom PCB prototype service.

Production Process & Our Equipments

We specialise in providing prototype and small batch PCBs for designers, product development departments, niche market electronics companies, universities and research establishments

There is no such thing as a standard printed circuit board. Each PCB has a unique function for a particular product. Therefore, producing a PCB is a complex process of many steps. This overview covers the most important steps when producing a multilayer PCB.
When you order PCBs from the PCBWay, you are buying quality that pays for itself over time. This is guaranteed through a product specification and quality control that is far more stringent than other suppliers, and ensures that the product delivers what it promises. In the production flow below you can see where the PCBWay process is unique or goes beyond the IPC standard.

Making a PCB - PCB Manufacture step by step

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01.Pre Production Engineering 02.Preparing the phototools 03.Print inner layers 04.Etch inner layers 05.AOI
06.Lay-up and bond 07.Drilling the PCB 08.Electroless copper deposition 09.Image the outer layers 10.Plating
11.Etch outer layer 12.AOI 13.Soldermask 14.Surface finish 15.Profile
16.Electrical test 17.Final inspection 18.Packaging 19.Delivery 20.After-Sales Service
We know that state-of-the-art equipments are what make us the world’s leading manufacturer of PCB prototyping and low-volume production. Here are some of the machines and equipments. As we are constantly improving our machines to guarantee good quality, please check back for more.
  • PCB Material

    Base Copper & Base Material

  • PCB exposures

    Print inner layers & outer layers

  • AOI

    Register punch and Automatic Optical Inspection

  • Etch

    The chemical, or chemical and electrolytic, removal of unwanted portions of conductive or resistive material.

  • Brown oxide vs. black oxide

    Brown oxide vs. black oxide, immersion tin processes for PCBs / PWBs

  • Laminate

    A product made by bonding together two or more layers of materials.

  • Pre-clean

    cleaned and roughened prior to laminating the dry film.

  • Drilling the PCB

    a mechanical drilling process

  • Pre-clean

    cleaned and roughened prior to laminating the dry film.

  • Visual inspection

    Removal of unwanted copper foil from the surface is or not flawed

  • Image the outer layers

    make sure that no dust gets onto the panel surface where it could cause a short or open circuit on the finished PCB.

  • Electroless copper deposition

    The first step in the plating process is the chemical deposition of a very thin layer of copper on the hole walls.

  • Plating

    Next we electroplate the boards with copper.

  • Etch outer layers

    plated the panel with 25 microns of copper through the hole and an additional 25 – 30 microns on the tracks and pads

  • high temperature

    High temperature oven

  • Immersion Plating

    The chemical deposition of a thin metallic coating over certain basis metals that is achieved by a partial displacement of the basis metal.

  • V-cut scoring

    Each cuts a v-shaped groove about 1/3 of the thickness of the material, leaving a thin web holding the PCBs together

  • Drilling the PCB

    drill the holes for leaded components and the via holes that link the copper layers together.

  • Apply soldermask

    Most boards have a epoxy-ink soldermask printed onto each side to protect the copper surface and prevent solder shorting between components during assembly.

  • Electroplating

    the electro-deposition of a metal coating on a conductive object.

  • Electrical Test

    Learn how your printed circuit boards are tested to ensure their quality.

  • Final inspection

    In the last step of the process a team of sharp-eyed inspectors give each PCB a final careful check-over

  • Final inspection

    In the last step of the process a team of sharp-eyed inspectors give each PCB a final careful check-over

  • Packaging

    Vacuum packaging

Contact Us!

Our customer service
ready for your PCB

+86-571-85317532

quotesI am impressed with the quality of the boards, the delivery time and responce to all my questions. Best price excellent service and speedy delivery. When I need another board I will certainly use this supplier. "

-Bill Robinson Company

quotesспасибо за платы! платы очень хорошего качества. надежный продавец. оперативно отвечал на вопросы. заказ выполнили и отправили очень быстро.Заказываю платы не в первый раз - как всегда только лучшие впечатления. 5+++. 4 числа отправил файлы 26-го забрал на почте в Москве."

-FVL. SKU Company
Front-end data preparation

01.PPE - Pre Production Engineering

Customer supplied data (gerber) is used to produce the manufacturing data for the specific PCB (artworks for imaging processes and drill data for drilling programs). Engineers compare demands/specifications against capabilities to ensure compliance and also determine the process steps and associated checks. No changes are allowed without PCBWay Group permission.

Preparing

02.Preparing the phototools

Artwork Master is PCB production in the key steps, which directly affect the quality of the final product quality,An accurately scaled configuration of electronic data used to produce the artwork master or production master. Artwork Master – The photographic image of the PCB pattern on film used to produce the circuit board, usually on a 1:1 scale.In general, there are three types of Artwork Master:(1) Conductive Pattern  (2) solder mask (3) Silkscreen

print icon

03.Print inner layers

Stage 1 is to transfer the image using an artwork film to the board surface, using photosensitive dry-film and UV light, which will polymerise the dry film exposed by the artwork.
This step of the process is performed in a clean room.
Imaging – The process of transferring electronic data to the photo-plotter, which in turn uses light to transfer a negative image circuitry pattern onto the panel or film.

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04.Etch inner layers

Stage 2 is to remove the unwanted copper from the panel using etching. Once this copper has been removed, the remaining dry film is then removed leaving behind the copper circuitry that matches the design.
Etching – The chemical, or chemical and electrolytic, removal of unwanted portions of conductive or resistive material.

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05.Inner layer Automatic Optical Inspection(AOI)

Inspection of the circuitry against digital “images” to verify that the circuitry matches the design and that it is free from defects. Achieved through scanning of the board and then trained inspectors will verify any anomalies that the scanning process has highlighted. PCBWay Group allows no repair of open circuits.

Lamination icon

06.Lay-up and bond (Lamination)

The inner layers have an oxide layer applied and then “stacked” together with pre-preg providing insulation between layers and copper foil is added to the top and bottom of the stack. The lamination process consists of placing the internal layers under extreme temperature (375 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressure (275 to 400 psi) while laminating with a photosensitive dry resist. The PCB is allowed to cure at a high temperature, the pressure is slowly released and then the material is slowly cooled.

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07.Drilling the PCB

We now have to drill the holes that will subsequently create electrical connections within the multilayer PCB. This is a mechanical drilling process that must be optimised so that we can achieve registration to all of the the inner layer connections. The panels can be stacked at this process. The drilling can also be done by a laser drill

copper icon

08.Electroless copper deposition

The first step in the plating process is the chemical deposition of a very thin layer of copper on the hole walls.
PTH provides a very thin deposit of copper that covers the hole wall and the complete panel. A complex chemical process that must be strictly controlled to allow a reliable deposit of copper to be plated even onto the non-metallic hole wall. Whilst not a sufficient amount of copper on its own, we now have electrical continuity between layers and through the holes.Panel plating follows on from PTH to provide a thicker deposit of copper on top of the PTH deposit – typically 5 to 8 um. The combination is used to optimise the amount of copper that is to be plated and etched in order to achieve the track and gap demands.

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09.Image the outer layers

Similar to the inner layer process (image transfer using photosensitive dry film, exposure to UV light and etching), but with one main difference – we will remove the dry film where we want to keep the copper/define circuitry – so we can plate additional copper later in the process.
This step of the process is performed in a clean room.

Plating icon

10.Plating

Second electrolytic plating stage, where the additional plating is deposited in areas without dry film (circuitry). Once the copper has been plated, tin is applied to protect the plated copper.

etch icon

11.Etch outer layer

This is normally a three step process. The first step is to remove the blue dry film. The second step is to etch away the exposed/unwanted copper whilst the tin deposit acts an etch resist protecting the copper we need. The third and final step is to chemically remove the tin deposit leaving the circuitry.

AOI

12.Outer layer AOI

Just like with inner layer AOI the imaged and etched panel is scanned to make sure that the circuitry meets design and that it is free from defects. Again no repair of open circuits are allowed under PCBWay demands.

Soldermask

13.Soldermask

Soldermask ink is applied over the whole PCB surface. Using artworks and UV light we expose certain areas to the UV and those areas not exposed are removed during the chemical development process – typically the areas which are to be used as solderable surfaces. The remaining soldermask is then fully cured making it a resilient finish.
This step of the process is performed in a clean room.

Surface finish

14.Surface finish

Various finishes are then applied to the exposed copper areas. This is to enable protection of the surface and good solderability. The various finishes can include Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold, HASL, Immersion Silver etc. Thicknesses and solderability tests are always carried out.

Profile

15.Profile

This is the process of cutting the manufac-turing panels into specific sizes and shapes based upon the customer design as defined within the gerber data. There are 3 main options available when providing the array or selling panel – scoring, routing or punching. All dimensions are measured against the customer supplied drawing to ensure the panel is dimensionally correct.

Electrical test

16.Electrical test

Used for checking the integrity of the tracks and the through hole interconnections – checking to ensure there are no open circuits or no short circuits on the finished board. There are two test methods, flying probe for smaller volumes and fixture based for volumes.We electrically test every multilayer PCB against the original board data. Using a flying probe tester we check each net to ensure that it is complete (no open circuits) and does not short to any other net.

inspection

17.Final inspection

In the last step of the process a team of sharp-eyed inspectors give each PCB a final careful check-over.Visual checking the PCB against acceptance criteria and using PCBWay “approved” inspectors. Using manual visual inspection and AVI – compares PCB to gerber and has a faster checking speed that human eyes, but still requires human verification. All orders are also subjected to a full inspection including dimensional, solderability, etc.

Packaging

18.Packaging

Boards are wrapped using materials that comply with the PCBWay Packaging demands (ESD etcetera) and then boxed prior to be being shipped using the requested mode of transport.