Copper Patterning For PCBs Explained

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A printed circuit board (PCB) is an item that helps electronically connect different electronic components using conductive tracks and other pieces that are etched from copper sheets. These copper sheets are laminated onto non-conductive substrate, and then different components, such as capacitors, are smoldered onto the PCB.

If you’re manufacturing items that need PCBs, such as transformers, voltage regulators, florescent light ballasts, and other electrical devices, you might want to know more about the different kinds of copper patterning PCBs can have. PCBs are have been used more and more over the past three decades for traffic lights in North America, as well.

Is PCB the way to go? In terms of the numbers, it definitely is, with the global printed circuit board market projected to reach an estimated $72.6 billion by 2022. This might make you want to look for a PCB manufacturer for your products.

Want to know more about PCB design? Here are the four different ways that copper patterns are etched into PCBs.

1. Silk screen printing

In this process, etch-resistant ink is used on the substrate to create a protective mask.

2. Photoengraving

This process uses a photo mask and developer to remove pieces of a UV-sensitive photo-resist coating.

3. PCB milling

If this process is used, a two or three-axis mechanical milling system mills away the copper foil from the substrate itself, and works in a fashion similar to that of a plotter. This PCB milling machine is known as a PCB prototyper and is used in PCB manufacturing.

4. Laser resistant ablation

This process is where black paint in sprayed onto copper clad laminate and then placed into a CNC laser plotter. This laser scans the PCB and vaporizes the paint, which signals that no resist is wanted in that area. This process is rarely used, however.

If you’re looking to understand circuit board prototyping and PCB design and layout in relation to how they can help your business, feel free to call a PCB manufacturer to better understand how it can help.

What products are you looking to make with the help of a PCB manufacturer? Let us know in the comment below and we can try and help.

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