What Does It Take To Set Up A PCB Manufacturing Factory?

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PCB or Printed Circuit Boards set the base for our future. These are the innovations of technology present in almost every device that is present around us. From the phone in our hand to the computer on our desk and the watch on our wrist, everything has a PCB in it.

Moreover, this involvement of PCB is continuously increasing in our lives as we make more gadgets and tech products a part of our daily life. So, the PCB manufacturing needs in the world are also increasing.

What is a PCB, and what is a PCB factory?

Have you ever seen any laptop, computer, or mobile phone opened? There is a board with lots of things on it. Usually, it is in blue or green color, but there are different colors available. It is the board that holds all the circuits and their components. As the whole circuit is printed on a board, that is known as a printed circuit board.

A PCB factory is a factory where a PCB is made from raw materials. This process includes a lot of different professions, from getting raw boards to printing the circuit on them and then adding all the tiny components onto that board. This process is not as simple as it seems, and the whole thing is carried out in a factory that is known as a PCB factory.

PCB Manufacturing machinery is the first requirement

When it is about setting up a PCB manufacturing factory, the first thing that you will need is a large piece of land. PCB manufacturing is not a process that can be carried out in a small place because there are many different machines.

So, the best choice for you is to get land where you can easily manage all of your machines and the resources. Once you have managed the land, you can move on to the machinery. Below are different machines that you will need for manufacturing PCB.

PCB manufacturing

Photoimaging, Etching, and Stripping machines

The manufacturing process for every PCB starts with a file that contains all the circuit diagrams in a specific file. The electrical engineers and designers carefully design that file to achieve an efficient PCB. So, converting that image on a physical chip photo imaging, etching, and stripping machines are necessary.

The photo imaging machines print the image on the PCB by applying the photoresist and imaging resist. The next machine needed is the etching machine that etches the chip according to the requirements. The last type of machine is the stripping machine that meets its requirements.

Metal plating machines

As you know, a major part of the PCB comes from different metals. One is the copper that makes the printed wires on the board, while another part is made of copper or tin where the joints are soldered on.

So, to meet the requirements of this part of the process, metal plating machines are needed. These machines ensure that every part of the circuit print gets the best metal plating done on it.

Solder paste printing and inspection machines

The next part of the process is the solder printing part. Applying solder on PCB by hand is inefficient because the components and their soldering points are very close and small. So, a machine is needed that prints the solder paste on the PCB wherever it is needed. This machine works with the help of a stencil that is made exactly for the circuit design.

Once the solder printing is done, each PCB is sent to the solder inspection machines. So, these machines are also necessary because they identify some missing points or shorts in soldering paste.

Component placing machines

Once PCB passes through the solder printing and inspection machines, the nest machine necessary for the process is the component placing machine. As the components are tiny, placing them with hands will take forever. So, the component placing machines automatically take all the components and place them on their desired spot on the PCB.

Soldering machines

The second last machine that will be necessary for every PCB factory is the soldering machine. There are two different types of soldering machines named:

  • Heatwave soldering
  • Reflow soldering

These have different use cases, and you must have both because you never know when you will need which one.

Circuit testing machines

Up till now, every machine was related to making the PCB. However, this sector is all about testing the circuits that are made. While some factories have oscillators in this category that do manual testing, there are many advanced circuit testing machines available in the market that you will need.

With all these different types of machinery, you are done with setting your factory up. However, managing inventory is still necessary to run the factory, and that we will talk about in the next section.

Meeting all the inventory needs includes raw materials as well as other prerequisites.

Having all the machinery is not the only requirement as there are a few other important things that you will need. So, here is all about those important things that are inventory items, including raw materials and other prerequisites for manufacturing PCBs.

Substrate materials

So, the first thing that will be a part of your inventory for manufacturing PCBs will be the substrate. Silicon and Gallium Arsenide work for these needs where they become the base of every circuit in a sliced form.

These materials form laminates which are also known as the board themselves. However, these boards themselves do not possess any circuit property, so they need different work done on them to work like circuit boards.

pcb manufacturing

Copper

The next thing that will be necessary for you to manage in your inventory will be copper. Copper makes the most of any PCB because it creates the wire prints that will help the flow of electrons. No matter what type of PCB you are making, Copper will be an essential thing for your factory.

Solder mask

When copper successfully makes wires and soldering points on the PCB, there is a need to cover the wires as otherwise there are major chances of short circuits while soldering or usage. So, the solder mask is in the component that is applied on the PCB surface. It only leaves the soldering points uncovered, and all other parts of the circuit on the PCB are masked.

Silkscreen

Silkscreen is the last layer that goes on the PCB before any component is soldered on it. Having this final layer is necessary because it contains all the labeling. It is one of those requisites that are necessary for every PCB factory to have for PCB manufacturing. After this is applied, anyone can identify which component goes on which spot according to the Circuit diagram.

Solder

The next part is the solder itself. Most of the factories use solder paste because they work on complex and compact PCBs. As machines are doing most of the work regarding the manufacturing process, using solder paste makes things extremely efficient and productive. In other cases, solder wire can also be used as per requirements.

Components

Electrical components also make a huge part of your PCB factory because some are universal for every PCB. These include:

  • LEDs
  • Capacitors
  • Resistances
  • Inductors
  • Diodes
  • Transistors
  • ICs and much more

As most of these go universally on almost every circuit, it is better to have these in abundance in your inventory.

With all of these things, your inventory is almost complete for setting up your PCB factory. However, running that as a business can still be problematic for you. It is because you might be lacking the legal approvals from officials at your place. This is exactly what the next section is all about.

Certifications, licenses, and compliance are also important

When you manage everything that you need for the PCB manufacturing factory, the last thing that you will need to start your factory as a business is a set of legal documents. These include all the certificates and licenses from the officials of your locality that will allow your factory to operate.

While it has nothing to do directly with PCB manufacturing, you cannot start your factory because carrying things out will not be legal.

As soon as you manage all of the above-discussed machines, inventory, and legal approvals, you will not need anything else for your factory but employees.

Final Remarks:

If you were also thinking, what does it take to set up a PCB manufacturing factory, then we hope that you have got answers to all your questions. Setting up a PCB manufacturing factory has become one of the favorite businesses in this era because of the wide range of applications of PCBs.

So, if you are also planning to start a factory, then it will be better to do all the research and homework on this beforehand. In this way, you can start manufacturing with better results and have a good number of clients as well.

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