The tour started in the drilling station, which is where large copper sheets (motherboards)have all their mounting holes drilled out. Since ECS makes motherboards for various companies and markets they have dozens of these machines running at the same time. The Hitachi PCB Drilling Machines that ECS was using are recent ND-Ne models that are equipped with full range spindles that can operate between 125,000 and 200,000 revolutions per minute. Each one of these drilling machines can drill ten sheets of PCB at once! Let’s take a look inside a couple of these machines.
Looking inside an empty Hitachi drilling machine one finds a series of drill spindles and drill bits and a large drilling surface for the PCB to be placed. Let’s take a look at one with a PCB ready to be drilled!
Here is a shot with a PCB being drilled when the picture was taken. The Copper PCB sheets are are covered by a metal sheet during the entire drilling process that will become part of the inner layers of the PCB once the lamination process is complete. Don’t let this picture fool you though. The sheet in the picture above has thousands of holes in it!
Since not all holes are the same size on a motherboard numerous drill bits are needed to drill just a single motherboard model, so the drilling machine changes out bits as needed all by itself. In just a couple minutes one of these machines can drill hundreds of various size holes with amazing precision! The drilling process was by far the most fun process to watch.
Here is a close up of the metal sheets to give you an idea of just how many holes are being drilled in such a small area.
ECS had dozens of these late model Hitachi PCB Drilling Machines (Model #ND-6L210E) running at the same time and it was an impressive and loud area to be observing.