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How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour

How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour - PCSTATS
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Abstract: PCSTATS takes you on a guided tour of Gigabyte's Motherboard Factory in Taiwan. There's a lot to producing and testing a single motherboard; a mind-boggling host of automated machines, people and processes. Gigabyte has several other factories in Taiwan and mainland China that each manufacture motherboards, videocards, and other products.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Aug 28 2008   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > Gigabyte

First steps in Motherboard Manufacturing

Gigabyte out sources the PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) it uses for its motherboards to a PCB manufacturer. These arrive already etched with the necessary circuit traces, pre-coloured and pre-drilled with the holes that are needed to insert components like the CPU socket and PCI slots. Other than this though, they are completely bare, containing no components or solder.

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
Weekly production sheet identifying the motherboard models

These bare PCB boards are stored on racks and loaded into the automated feeder for the DEK Infinity solder paste printer to start their journey towards becoming completed motherboards.

Solder Paste Screen Printing

Before being sent to the SMT (Surface Mount Technology) machines that will mount chips and resistors onto the PCB, each motherboard must be prepared by solder paste printing, a technique which involves spreading solder paste over a nickel sheet, laser cut to correspond to the motherboard being assembled. This nickel sheet 'screen' is then moved into the printer and the motherboard positioned precisely under it. The paste is distributed over the screen by the printer so it is squeezed through the holes in the nickel sheet to adhere to the motherboard underneath in precise areas.

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
The DEK Infinity solder paste screen printer (left)

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
Mixing and applying the solder paste to the nickel screen

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
The solder paste: particles of solder suspended in flux

After having the solder paste applied, the bare PCB boards are stacked into an automated vertical storage rack called a PCB Buffer Loader, until ready to be passed through to the SMT assembly machine.

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
Solder printed motherboards awaiting the SMT process

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte
 Pg 1.  How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour
 Pg 2.  Entering the Motherboard Factory
 Pg 3.  — First steps in Motherboard Manufacturing
 Pg 4.  SMT Assembly Line
 Pg 5.  SMT Process Continues
 Pg 6.  Pick and Place Chipsets
 Pg 7.  Convection Ovens for PCB
 Pg 8.  In-Circuit Testing and Visual Inspection
 Pg 9.  Gigabyte's Enormous Automated Warehouse
 Pg 10.  SMT Automated Reel Storage
 Pg 11.  The Expensive Goods
 Pg 12.  Manual Assembly (DIP) Line
 Pg 13.  Installing Sockets and Ports
 Pg 14.  Wave Soldering
 Pg 15.  Flowing Over The Molton Solder
 Pg 16.  Buffing and Cleaning
 Pg 17.  Testing Stage 2: Full Hardware Tests
 Pg 18.  Automated Testing Platforms
 Pg 19.  Testing Stage 3: Burn In
 Pg 20.  Final Motherboard Packaging

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