IEEE Transaction on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 97-110, April 1998

Material-Centric modeling of PWB Fabrication: An Economic and Environmental Comparison of Conventional and Photovia Board Fabrication Processes

P. Sandborn and C. Murphy


This paper presents an activity-based cost model for Printed Wiring Board (PWB) fabrication in which the process steps are defined by material processing activities.  The model is designed to be used during system planning and tradeoff analysis prior to physical design.  In traditional activity-based manufacturing cost models, activities are based on equipment and facilities (“equipment-centric?.  In the present model the process steps are based on material processing activities (“material-centric?.  Equipment-centric models are appropriate for IC manufacture where the processing cost is driven by facilities and equipment, however, in PWB manufacturing, where a significantly large portion of the cost is materials, it is more appropriate to focus the process modeling around material activities.

The models presented in this paper focus on computing the volume of materials, used and wasted by the activities associated with the fabrication of PWBs.  Activities included in the model are open and closed system plating, coating, etching, stripping, and desmearing; plasma etching, lamination, drilling, filling, singulation, and scrapping.  Additionally, waste disposition activities that operate on the waste inventory are included.  The models presented here have been integrated into a software tradeoff environment that concurrently performs system cost and performance analysis.

A tradeoff study is presented that compares the cost and waste associated with fabricating traditional mechanically drilled PWBs with alternative resists and several variations of a semi-additive photovia fabrication process.

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