Batch PCB production and other electronics manufacturing processes

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There are myriad processes involved in the manufacturing of electronic products and batch PCB production. The designated manufacture process depends on both the volume of products being manufactured and the materials involved.

Most electronics, component and pcb manufacturers choose a production system based on  whether there are a number of identical products being made. Predominantly, there are three production systems:
•    prototype
•    batch
•    high volume

Prototype manufacture

This process is used when very small numbers of a product are being manufactured or in the production of specialised electronic items. One instance could be using photo-etching for the production of a printed circuit board (PCB) with a view to being able to test a design. The actual production of the PCB and the circuit soldering are often  carried out by hand.

Batch PCB and electronics production

This accounts for most of the production processes in the electronics manufacture industry. Basically, it refers to the production of a specific quantity of one particular product and then moving the production system across to facilitate the manufacture of the next product.

Electronics manufacturing is frequently divided into specific, separate stages within the volume production process. Each one involves the use of different machines, many of which can be computer-controlled. Taking batch PCB manufacture as an example, production stages could be:

1. creating the printed circuit board
2. drilling holes in the board
3. adding the PCB components
4. soldering these into place
5. final checking of the PCB and inserting it into the end product

High volume pcb manufacture

Volume manufacture is used when manufacturing big numbers of identical products e.g  PCBs in white goods, televisions, cars etc.

A volume manufacturing process is often split into a specific set of steps, sequentially carried out on the production line. More often than not, volume production will involve the use of computer-controlled machines and their tasks could include the loading of printed circuit boards into chemical etch tanks and the picking and placing of individual electronic components onto the circuit board.
Because volume production lines can be extraordinarily expensive to set up, volume PCB manufacture must involve enormous numbers in order to cover the equipment set up costs.

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