Important Questions to Ask During the PCB Printing Process

Written by Fred on . Posted in Prototype circuit board, Prototype printed circuit boards

Printed circuit boards

A completed circuit board prototyping means little without production or manufacturing. Consumers are unable to utilize the benefits of a circuit board prototype if it is never printed. Some would even say that the printing process is the most important part of the project. After you have completed the initial design and are ready to print, you will have to answer a variety of questions. The answers to these questions will establish how your project is recreated in the future, how it is utilized, and how long the manufacturing process takes.

How many layers in the printed circuit board?

Layers were probably somewhat established during the design process. However, sometimes layers can be eliminated in the production process. The PCB manufacturing process can take longer and be costlier when there are multiple levels to the circuit board. Printed circuit boards with multiple layers, however, are often designed that way on purpose. FR4 glass epoxy is the primary insulating substrate upon which the vast majority of rigid PCBs are produced. A thin layer of copper foil is laminated to one or both sides of an FR4 panel. Circuitry interconnections are etched into copper layers to produce printed circuit boards. Complex circuits are produced in multiple layers.

How will the legend be printed?

There are a variety of ways that the legend can be printed. The three most common methods used to print the legend, which includes the component designators, switch setting, test points and other indications helpful in assembling, testing and servicing the circuit board, silk screen printing, liquid photo imagines, and ink jet printing. Many factors will affect the type of printing that is used, including the number of layers, the complexity of the prototype PCB, and your overall quick turn PCB manufacturing budget.

What size of circuit board is needed?

The layers are not the only important characteristic of the prototype PCB. You will also find different sizes. The more electronic capability that is needed of a design, then the larger that the circuit board is likely to be. When the PCB is larger, additional legends may need to be printed. You will want to find a quick turn PCB manufacturing company that has the capability of printing larger than average legends. You will also want to take time, price, and process into account when printing a larger than average circuit board legend.

How fast do you need the PCB printed?

Some projects are on sensitive timelines. If time spent manufacturing is an important component in your design and implementation process, you will want to choose a manufacturer with quick turn PCB manufacturing options. Although quick turn PCB prices might be a little higher than traditional speeds, they are able to print them in a much quicker method. Quick turn PCB manufacturing is sometimes important when you are attempting to beat a product to market, or when other parts of the design process fell behind the schedule plan.

How large is your printing budget?

Budget is usually a very important consideration factor. Newer designers may have smaller budgets and have to be more careful about the specific manufacturing processes they pick. Larger, more established companies with larger budgets, have less difficulty with quick turn PCB manufacturing services. Always consider your manufacturing budget and weigh the pros and cons to the budget when it comes to quick turn manufacturing processes.

A lot goes into the design and printing process of prototype circuit boards. The final process is the PCB manufacturing process. This step itself requires a lot of thought and consideration. You want to consider the printing method used, the specific manufacturer you will use, your overall printing budget, and the speed at which you need the circuit board to be printed. All of these factors should initially be a part of the overall design process.

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