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Stage 1: PCB Frontend Data Checking and Validation

So now we have received your design data what's next?

We need to check and make sure that the information you have supplied does not contain design specifications we would not recommend. Using bespoke software and verification routines, your data is compared against a fixed set of manufacturing rules and tolerances tailored specifically around the technical capabilities of Cleveland Circuits PCB manufacturing facility. This verification process is known as Design Rule Checking (DRC). Any violations reported by the DRC are analysed and where necessary we'll contact you for clarification or amendment.

When DRC is complete, the tooling process can begin. We place multiple images of the same circuit (step and repeating) within a batch size optimised panel for maximum yield efficiency. Additionally all NC drilling and routing files will be generated as part of this procedure. When this element is complete a photographic master (photo-tool) of each layer is produced on our photo-plotter and these highly accurate film templates are used to image the Printed Circuit Board layout during our production process. We also add key information text to the photo-tool to aid identification and process requirements whilst the board is in manufacture.

All manufacturing data, including NC files, is given a unique internal reference number and placed on our internal server for use in relevant departments across the shop floor. Once the PCB is complete the data remains archived for retrieval and re-use where necessary on repeat orders.

Glossary

Gerber File - An industrial standard file format for PCB manufacturing.

NC file - Numeric Control file. A file containing x/y co-ordinates and diameters of all holes in the PCB design.

DRC - Design Rule Checking. The process for verifying PCB design data is suitable for manufacture.

CAM - Computer Aided Manufacture.

CAD - Computer Aided Design.

Photo-tool - A photographic master used to image the PCB design.

Photo-plotter - High resolution equipment used to produce the photographic master