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GESP Technology

15+Years Devoted to PCB Solutions & Manufacturing

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

PCB Production Process

Each circuit board is given a different mission by the design engineer. They carry these unique functions, so the process of producing a PCB that is sufficient to achieve this function is also complicated. 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 GESP Technology, 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.

Making a PCB - PCB Manufacture step by step

There are many detailed procedures in the PCB production process, and each step determines the quality of this PCB. Therefore, GESP Technology has established a complete Quality Control System for the production process, strictly controls every production step, and confirms that every PCB sold from GESP is a satisfactory PCB board that meets customer needs.

Front-end data preparation

01.Pre‑Production Engineering

Check the Gerber file provided by the customer and generate the layers of Conductive Pattern, Drilling, Solder Mask, Silkscreen's Artwork Master (The photographic image of the PCB pattern on film used to produce the circuit board, usually on a 1: 1 scale ), And design the jigsaw, manufacturing process and related testing parameters according to the customer's circuit board function and material requirements.

  • 1-Pre production Engineering
Preparing

02.Material Board Cutting

According to customer's requirements, the corresponding material of the copper‑clad PCB is cut to a size suitable for the PCB process.

  • 2-Material Board Cutting
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03.Inner Layer Printed

Transfer the image using an artwork film to the board surface, using photosensitive dry‑film and UV light, which will polymerize 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.

  • 3-Inner Printed
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04.Inner Layer Etching

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.

  • 4-Inner Layer Eching
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05.Inner Layer 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.

  • 5-Innner layer AOI
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06.Lamination & Bonding

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.

  • 6-Lay-up&bonding
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07.Drilling

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

  • 7-Drilling
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08.Electroless Copper Plating

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 optimize the amount of copper that is to be plated and etched in order to achieve the track and gap demands.

  • 8-Copper Plating
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09.Outer Layer Printed

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 cleanroom.

  • 9-Outer Layer Printed
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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

  • 10-Plating
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11.Outer Layer Etching

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

  • 11-outer layer etching
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.

  • 12-Outer Layer AOI
Soldermask

13.Solder Resist Layer

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 solder mask is then fully cured making it a resilient finish.This step of the process is performed in a cleanroom

  • 13-Solder Resist Layer
Surface finish

14.Surface Treatment

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.

  • 14-Surface Treatment
Profile

15.Contour & V‑Cut

This is the process of cutting the manufacturing 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.

  • 15-Contour & V-Cut
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 fixtures based on 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.

  • 16-Electrical Test
inspection

17.Visual Inspection

In the last step of the process, a team of sharp‑eyed inspectors gives each PCB a final careful check‑over. Visual checking the PCB against acceptance criteria and using GESP Technology “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.

  • 17-Visual Inspection
Packaging

18.Packaging

The PCB boards that pass the test will be plastic‑sealed with the desiccant. Then packed in the GESP Technology standard carton. Ship by DHL or the method requested by the customer

  • 18-Packaging
Capabilities
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