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How is an Electronic Plate Manufactured?

When we ask ourselves how a plate is made, different types of processes and steps come to mind. Therefore, we are going to briefly tell you how it’s industrial manufacturing process takes place. Although electronic boards or PCB s (Printed Circuit Board) are components implemented in virtually all our devices, not many people know the process of manufacturing, testing, and programming.

Many of you have manufactured in the institute or in the university an electronic plate in some practice, subject or final project of career, but the real process of manufacture in series is very different. In this first entry it is tried to explain easily and quickly how the majority of electronic plates of the market is manufactured, and if you are in need of a quickturn PCB, you can check out this link.

Once we have the electronic design of the board, we must create the track file using any of the existing software in the market (PCB Wizard, Eagle, Protel, KiCad). This file consists of the dimensions of the plate, the existing tracks and the pads of the components contained in our PCB, as well as the information for its assembly.

In a second moment, and always following the parameters specified in the Gerber, the screen is created. The screen, which will be used in the placement process, will allow the screen printing machine to deposit the solder paste at the points where the future components will be placed.

Once we have pasted in each of the desired positions on the plate, the pick and place machine will place the necessary components in each of the positions specified in our programming file.

Automatic Pick & Place Machine

The production process ends by increasing the temperature of the reflow furnace and soldering the PCB to its components. In this last step, the grades must be selected properly because:

  • If the temperature is low: The paste will not melt properly, and therefore the components will not be joined correctly.
  • If the temperature is too high: The components will be damaged, and the product will be unusable. In this case, when the customer’s application is going to be tested, the board will not work properly.

There is another welding technique different from the previous one and less precise, which is, however, suitable for double-sided PCBs; the wave machine method. If the electronic board has SMD (surface mounting) components on both sides, in this process, all the components of one side face are forcedly welded, and then those of the opposite side.