What information is needed for PCB board production? What do customers need to prepare in advance? How does manufacturer make preparations, and summary of information required for PCB production. This article will show you the answer.

PCB board production information

As the most important step in production, what information is required to produce PCB boards? We need three very important factors, production files, specification of bare board and quantity.

Production filesPCB Production files

The production files should have complete dimensions, the locations of unique board features such as slots and holes, and layer stack-up information. The most commonly used are Gerber files, most widely used file format in PCB manufacturing. Gerber files know nothing about design rules, network connections, or component libraries. It is just a two-dimensional artwork that indicates where the manufacturing equipment will print copper, solder mask or screen printing. A Gerber file provides a layer of information about the capabilities of the previous PCB. So if you have a two-layer board with copper, solder mask and screen printing on each side, you will need six Gerber files. You may also need a separate Gerber file to identify the board outline. Generating Gerber files can be a bit complicated. The process involves a variety of configuration details, and different manufacturers have different requirements.

You also need a file here that indicates the location and size of each hole that will be drilled on your board, for mounting components and through holes. This is called an NC drill file.

All in all, the production files should have All copper layers, all solder mask, silkscreen, and paste layers, An accurate outline, with cutouts, slots, etc. represented if possible, One Excellon format ASCII drill file for each drill cycle (through, blind or buried, slotted, etc.) The drill file should include tool codes with diameter information, One or more fabrication drawings or similar documents.

Specification of bare board

While obtaining the production files, we also need the specification of the bare board. Including the Finished copper weights of both internal and external layers, Finished PCB thickness with tolerances, and measurement criteria, Surface finish preference, Solder mask requirements and Silkscreen requirements. And also including the special requirement impedance control, specific dielectric thicknesses, via plugging, etc.

Here is the normal specification, Base material, FR 4; board thickness,1.6mm; copper thickness,1oz copper; Finished surface, HASL lead free; green solder mask, white silkscreen.

panel sizeRequirement of quantity

The definition of this quantity is not only the quantity produced, but also the quantity of panel which is the piece of the panel. Determine the number of panel according to the size of the board. The biggest size of the panel is 1200*1200mm.

What do customers need to prepare in advance?

The customer’s preliminary preparation is mainly divided into three parts.

Step1. The customer needs to check the DFM. This step is a counter-check of the design. The customer needs to confirm whether there are any problems with the pads and silk screen.

Step 2. The customer needs to confirm the Gerber file. Every detail in the Gerber file needs to be checked, otherwise it will not only affect production, but also affect the engineer’s accounting price.

Step 3. Sending those file. This is a very important step. The customer needs to generate all the files into a ZIP file package and send it to the manufacturer. The most common way is to send an email.

gerber file

What preparations do manufacturer need to make?

When the customer sends the collated documents to the supplier. What do producers need these files for? The text that follows describes what these files do for manufacturers.

The layer Stack

The manufacturer performs the first set of data sets you send to them which is loaded into their cam system to reconstruct your PCB model. When the system converts image files, this model will actually drive the manufacturing process. That’s why your data must clearly specify the information that defines the function of each file on the stack, so it’s clear which is the top, which is the bottom, and so on.

The Drill Files

This file specifies geometric information, points out where hollowing is required during PCB production, and states where copper plating is required. The drilling machine must be able to read the geometric data, which should be standard and indicate the diameter of the board, the top and bottom layers, and whether they require copper plating.

The PCB Outline

Without the outline of the printed board, it is not known whether the PCB board is a rigid or flexible board, and the shape of the board is not known, then the board cannot be built at all. Your PCB layout should specify a closed solid outline. However, the information of holes cannot be included in the file, so as to avoid duplication with the drilling file, which brings difficulties to production.

Technical Drawing

CNC Rounting Machine

The files should also include actual technical drawings, such as mechanical drawings. Although these drawings are not a necessary condition for processing PCB images, they also play an important role in the inspection of engineers. Also, keep in mind that drawings are never used as a substitute for digital data, whether it’s copper layers, solder masks, legends, drilling patterns, or any other pattern your design includes. That is to say, the drawings can only be used as a reference and cannot be used as production documents.

Netlist

Netlist is a detection tool. Simply put, ensure to transfer the files to the CAM system. After inputting the processing data to the CAM system, it first generates a netlist from the image, called the reference netlist. The data is imported by the software or the operator. Because manual import will inevitably produce errors, this reference netlist is often compared with the CAM engineer’s job data to ensure that any possible errors are captured.

Summary of information required for PCB Fabrication

PCB AssemblyWhat information does the customer need to send to the manufacturer to get a quote? The following are specific information.

1.Gerber files.

Gerber files Gerber files which is must including all details. Like Top Silkscreen, Top Solder mask, Top Copper, Bottom Copper, Bottom Solder mask, Bottom Silkscreen, NC Drill, Board Outline. Besides, there also have some optional depending on the design, like Inner Layers, Fab Drawing, Read-me.

2.Specification of board

The specification of board including the finished copper, finished PCB thickness, Surface finish preference, Solder mask, silkscreen. Besides, any additional requirements like impedance control, specific dielectric thicknesses, via plugging, etc.

3.Quantity

The quantity including the PCB board you need and the quantity of piece on one panel.

JY has 14 years of production experience and is even more experienced in the production of prototypes. More than 130 small batch orders per year, customers from more than 80 different countries and regions. If you need prototype production, JY must be your best choice.

We have been in this industry for 14 years. Committed to becoming a respectable and new technology service provider that provides one-stop service for PCB small-scale electronics companies from PCB production design, component placement and assembly. We use our expertise to solve problems for customers, meet customer requirements, and enable customers to obtain the highest quality products.

Frances Fan
Frances FanSales
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