The printed circuit board combines the mechanical and electrical aspects in an electronic system. Designing this connection is a much complex process. PCB artwork in the circuit design process refers to the planning and placement of electrical traces and via holes to connect every component mounted on the board with each other. Before the creation of computer-aided design, early PCB traces were drawn by hand with the help of an artist named artwork.
PCB artwork rules are used as a basis for circuit design to facilitate standard design and manufacturing procedures. Each manufacturer and designer are in accordance with the rule they needed according to its manufacturing capacity and purposes. IPC sets the standard for global PCB artwork and fabrication which ensures the consumer safety and environmental protection.
The design begins with the schematics involving component selection and wiring completion. The schematic also describes the properties and functions of components. PCB artwork is finished based on the connection shown by the schematic. Most CAD design software can automatically generate artwork from the schematic.
When a component is selected and wired, a PCB netlist or design file is generated. Design files can be adapted to select component packages and footprints. These footprints are connected by copper traces to conform to the schematic. This stage is often referred to as PCB artwork routing which is the most important task in the artwork. Most CAD software provides automated routing service that uses a clever algorithm to map the shortest intersection-less path between to pads.
To test wiring and check for misaligned and incorrect connections, most design kits have design rule check options which effectively check for potential short circuits and misalignment. Gerber or build files are generated after testing to manufacture the PCB artwork.