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Additive PCB manufacturing – should you outsource or make it in-house

Additive PCB manufacturing - should you outsource or make it in-house

What is the additive PCB manufacturing?

Additive PCB manufacturing is a process of creating three-dimensional objects by printing successive layers of materials. Additive PCB manufacturing is also known as 3D printing, sometimes called Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). It can be done on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, polymers and ceramic substrates. The technology behind this unique process includes multiple steps that include:

★  Gating & Extrusion – The first step in the fabrication process involves placing a liquid precursor material into a heated chamber where it begins to solidify into the desired shape. This solidification process creates what’s known as” architecture” for your circuit board design – which will then be used by other steps later during production.

★  The process is the latest development in PCB design and layout. It has been used by many companies and industries to save time, and cost and improve overall performance.

The benefits of additive PCB manufacturing

The benefits of additive PCB manufacturing are numerous and include:

● Reduced time to market.
● Reduced development cost.
● Increased product performance (e.g., reliability, functionality, design complexity).
● Increased product quality by reducing defects in the printed circuit board manufacturing process or at the end of production. This can be achieved through better CNC machines that can produce more parts per hour or higher-quality materials such as gold plating on copper traces to reduce EMI/RFI interference between components on your board’s surface area—a common cause for shorting out a board when used in high-frequency environments like medical equipment or aerospace systems that require high speed PCB due to their sensitive nature!

The process of additive PCB manufacturing

In additive PCB manufacturing, the process begins with a 3D CAD file that is used to generate a tool path for the machine. This tool path defines how each layer of conductive ink will be deposited on top of the previous layers. The tools used, are different from those used in subtractive PCB production because they do not create holes or cuts directly into the board but rather deposit conductive material on top of existing layers by spraying them with droplets of melted plastic or ink. The individual drops are then cured into solid structures at high temperatures (typically around 150 degrees Celsius).

Why additive PCB manufacturing has been used?

Additive PCB manufacturing is an innovative technology that can be used to replace the traditional PCB manufacturing process. The traditional manufacturing process is time-consuming and costly, while it can reduce the cost of PCB design, PCB layout and PCB fabrication.

It is also known as additive manufacturing (AM), sometimes referred to as 3D printing or digital fabrication. It involves building up layers of material to create solid objects from a digital file or computer model; additive PCB manufacturing does not involve the use of lasers or other high-power tools.

Rather than using traditional machining methods like milling or drilling into moulds made from waxes/resins etc., AM uses high-heat ‘printing’ extruders which apply melted plastic onto PCB substrate under pressure so that they harden into solid parts after cooling down again at room temperature


The development trend of additive PCB manufacturing

The development trend of additive PCB manufacturing is still in its infancy, but it’s expected to continue for the next few years. This will be a great opportunity for small companies and individuals to participate in this industry, as well as large companies who want to use AI technologies like 3D printing or laser cutting machines instead of buying expensive equipment from overseas manufacturers with limited experience working with plastics or other materials used by PCB makers today such as copper foil (CIF), copper wire (CCW), SMT solder paste (SnPb) etc.

Additive PCB manufacturing is a great way to save time and cost, but it also poses challenges in overall performance. It’s important to understand how the process works before you decide if it’s right for your company.

Also, it uses photolithography techniques to create circuits on circuit boards using inkjet printing or laser cutting machines. The process allows for complex designs without having to manually cut out each part of the circuit board by hand. This makes it an ideal solution for companies who want their products manufactured quickly and efficiently—but there are some downsides too!

☆ One downside of using additive PCB manufacturing methods like silk screening or CNC machining (e-beam) is that they take more time than other methods because they require more steps during production:
☆ First: inkjet printing onto sheets of paper, then placing those sheets into metal dies.
☆ Finally: remove those sheets one by one from between dies so they can be transferred onto another substrate with fine detail printed onto them again by another method such as e-beam machining.

Additive PCB manufacturing VS traditional PCB design and layout

Additive PCB manufacturing, it’s a term used to describe the process of printing circuits using ultraviolet light and its derivatives. The advantages of this method are that it’s faster than traditional PCB design and layout. It can be automated and allow for more complex designs.

However, there are also disadvantages: since everything is printed on-demand rather than being sent from a manufacturer or found in stock like pre-made PCBs (which often come with their problems), there aren’t any standardized materials or methods for assembly—each customer gets what they need when they need it (and sometimes not at all).

This means that if something goes wrong during production one time out of ten thousand units made then you could potentially end up paying twice as much as if you’d gone through ancillary services like BGA PCB assembly service providers who specialize in assembling printed circuits onto other components such as LEDs or resistors/capacitors so that they’re ready for use right away!


How to choose ideal materials for additive PCB manufacturing?

The material selection process is an important part of the manufacturing process, as it involves choosing the right materials for additive PCB manufacturing.

     ■  The material selection criteria include:

●   Compatibility with the printing process. For example, if you want to print inks on your board or use conductive ink, then you will need to choose a material that can withstand the heat and pressure of this kind of printing method. This means that there should be no melting or burning when using them in your supply chain.

●   Ability to handle large amounts of pressure during production runs at low temperatures (below 100 degrees Celsius). If you’re going through high-temperature processes such as solder reflow soldering or plating then these materials must have enough strength so they don’t break apart due to stress while being exposed at high temperatures during production runs at low temperatures (below 100 degrees Celsius).


The benefits of additive PCB manufacturing are many and far-reaching. It’s faster, more cost-effective, and it can be done in-house by your team. However, an in-house process also requires a lot of work to be done properly. If you decide to go this route then make sure that your resources are well-equipped with knowledge about the process so they can help out with any issues that may arise during production or delivery timeframes before the delivery date to start this process.

Since the benefits are many and far-reaching. It’s faster, more cost-effective, and it can be done in-house by your team to go into production. Additive PCB manufacturing is a great way to save money and create high-quality PCBs quickly.



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