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Circuit Board Fabrication of Metal Core PCB’s

Circuit Board Fabrication of Metal Core PCB’s

The circuits boards composed of metallic cores is known as a metals PCB’s, and it is commonly utilized in LED devices. Metal Core PCB is harder to manufacture than FR-4 and can be more costly. Metal Core PCB (MCPCB) or Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS PCB) would be a technique created to address the FR4 substance’s thermodynamic constraints. If your boards must operate in a high-temperature condition, Metallic Core is a stronger option than FR4. Insulation Metal Substrate uses a unique insulator with a higher thermally conductance to offer electrically isolated among the copper and the metals cores.

Metal Core PCB Manufacturing is the process of designing and fabricating printed circuit boards (PCBs) with a metals core to be used with LED-based Solid States Illumination as well as other technologies that requires energy dispersion. Because adaptive elements could cause hotspots on an FR4 Printed Circuit Board, another type of cooling is required to ensure acceptable working conditions. Thermal vias underlying heat-generating elements (energy sources) can be used to transmit heat from the element (upper surface) to the base PCB layer, where it could be dissipated by a heat sink.

Manufacturing of Metal Core PCBs

Metal Core PCB Manufacturing offers a slew of advantages for a wide range of purposes. Because MCPCBs feature dielectric polymers layers as well as higher thermally conductance levels, they could attain a low heat resistance. Metal Core PCB Manufacture results in a solution that can transmit heat 9 times faster than a standard FR4 PCB. The laminates of MCPCBs disperse heat, ensuring that heat-generating aspects stay cooler. As a result, such elements have a longer working life and better efficiency.

The metal cores must first be drilled to enable layers transitions avoiding causing a short circuit in multilayered dielectric stacks. To begin, slightly larger holes are drilled into the metallic surface, which are then filled with insulation gel. The gel will be cured and solidified, allowing it to be plated with copper in the same way as a normal via can. The remainder of the stack is compressed and joined to the metallic surface, and then through-holes are machined in the stack up, which is then plated and cleaned.

Due to the existence of a metallic surface in the stack-up, metal-core PCBs should follow a specific method. If the circuit is a single-layer board with no layers transitioning back to a metal frame, the normal FR4 Circuit board fabrication procedure of pressing and bonding the insulating surface to the metal cores could be employed.

Purposes of Manufacturing of Metal Core PCBs

Metal Core PCB Manufacturing has a plethora of new uses as a result of the acceptance of new technology. This technique is effective for situations in which elements create a lot of heat and can’t be chilled utilizing traditional fans or other cooling techniques. MCPCBs are used in Solid States Lighting to assist achieve a higher level of luminosity with few LEDs.

Despite the numerous benefits of LED-based Solid State Lighting technology, they emit considerable quantities of heat. As a result, Metal Core PCB Manufacturing is beneficial for purposes such as:
● Automobiles Lights Fixtures in Basic
● Converters of energy (mechanical, telecom, energy accumulations, and great charge controls)
● Photovoltaic
● Security on the Street (brightness, streetlights, etc.)

Advantages of Metal Core Printed Circuits Boards

Metal cores PCBs have several capabilities over ordinary core components, including the capability to use a dielectric polymer with a high thermally conductance for decreased thermally impedance. A metal core PC Board can transport sound up to 9 times quicker than a normal FR4 lamination. The core materials used by MCPBC are great at dissipating heat and preserving essential heat-generating equipment cold, which can improve effectiveness, productivity, and lifespan. Benefits of Backlighting, the insulating impact of an iron core metal PCB, the brittle ceramic substance is replaced, suitable for putting on the wall, decreases labor and operational costs, and enhances product high thermal stability and structural qualities by replacing elements such as the heat sink all are the benefits of using Metal Core Printed Circuits Boards.

Whenever the energy from an LED was never adequately dissipated, problems happen; an LED’s lighting production is diminished, as well as degeneration when the heating stays stagnant in the LED packages. The goal of an MCPCB would be to effectively evacuate energy from across all current integrated circuits (not just LEDs). Among the ICs and the heating element, the aluminum bottom and thermal conducting insulating layers operate as bridging. Numerous heat sinks on top of surface-mounted equipment are eliminated since one singular heat sink was installed immediately to the metal foundation.

The fundamental feature of the materials is thermally expansions and contracting; nevertheless, various CTEs have varying thermal expansions. Aluminum and copper offer distinct advantages over standard FR4 in terms of thermal conductance, which can be as high as 0.83.0 W/c. The dimensions of a metal-based PCB are steadier than insulator substances in terms of directional durability. When aluminum PCB and aluminum sandwiches boards were heated from 30 °C to 140 °C, the size changed by 2.5 to 3.0%.

Thermal transmission is ten times faster than with a traditional stiff FR4 PCB. Heat dispersion is far preferable to that of ordinary FR4 structures. Increase power density could be achieved whereas equipment remains cool, extending element life and resilience. Dielectrics can be customized to meet your thermally and insulating needs. Systems with efficient cooling qualities can be driven harsher or de-rated for lower-cost materials.

It is possible to obtain the simplicity of both a heating sink and a PCB. That ensures you have not only the thermal properties of a heating element but also a PCB layout that is both cost-effective and small. This always allows for quick heat clearance from Led technology to avoid burns. By combining a dielectric polymeric covering with high thermal conductance levels, a decreased thermally resistivity could be achieved. The heat is dissipated by the laminates in the MCPCB, providing optimal heat managing and, as a result, longer operational life and improved productivity.

Metals PCB Layout and Variations

Aluminum cores PCBs, Copper cores PCBs, and Iron cores PCBs were the 3 types of metals PCBs now available on the marketplace, with Aluminium core PCBs being the most useful. The following is a common metal pcb fabrication.

1. Metallic Base

A metal-based PCB (MPCB) is made up of metallic substrates (such as aluminum, copper, or stainless), thermally conductive insulating, and copper circuits. MPCBs were employed in a wide range of industries because of their exceptional heat dispersion. They’re commonly found in power supplies, LED lights, and other places where heat is a significant problem.

2. Dielectric

The dielectric overlay is laminated along with a copper layer on the surfaces on an anodized, protected metals foundation. It is normally 50-200um thick and serves as an insulated covering. This could work as an insulating to avoid short-circuiting with the basis of the metal if it is too thick, and that will reduce heat dispersion. This could disperse heat efficiently if it is too thin, but it is simple to short-circuit.

3. Copper

To boost peeling resistance, the backside of the copper foil is chemically oxidized, and the surfaces were galvanized and brass plating. Copper was generally 0.5/1.0oz-in mass.

Why is it necessary to utilize a metals PCB?

Dissipation of Energy

Most double-sided and multi-layer PCBs were currently high-density, high-power boards with poor heat dissipation. Conventional platforms, including FR4 and CEM3, have poor heating conductivity because they are enclosed among levels, and heat could not be dispersed, resulting in a high-temperature breakdown of the components. Protected metals substances, which have a heat dispersion capability 5-10 times that of FR4, could address this issue.

Expansion Due to Heat

Resin, reinforcement materials (such as glass fiber), and copper foil make up traditional printable circuits boards. In the Z-axis dimension, the thermal expansion coefficient (CTE) of the substrates, whereas the CTE of copper, implying that the CTE of the metalized hole walls and the insulation ceiling of a typical Printed Circuit Board are vastly different. If the produced energy is not removed promptly, thermally expansions and contractions would shatter the metalized holes, resulting in faulty electronic devices.

That issue is exacerbated by SMT (Interface Mounting Technologies). Because the contact is made by solder directly across the metallic pads and the SMD, the CTE differential among the ceramics chips and the FR4 substrates was likely to induce connections fracturing over time. The metals PCB could efficiently control the thermal transfer issue, reducing thermal expansions and contracting and enhancing the electronics equipment’s lifetime and dependability.

Stabilization in Dimensions

In terms of dimensions, a metal PCB is far more dependable than a regular PCB. For instance, the dimension variation of an aluminum core metals PCB heated from 30°C to 140°C is 2.53%. High heat dissipating substances protect parts from overheating and damages, and a metals cores PCB or an aluminum cores PCB may be the best option because it effectively works as one giant heat sink.

Interested to know more about Metal Core PCB boards, or PC Board Assembly contact us at sales@pnconline.com.

How To Choose High-Frequency PCB Board Material For Your RF Microwave Project

How To Choose High-Frequency PC Board Materials For Your RF Microwave Project?

The high-frequency PCB material is based on using a synthetic thermoplastic fluoropolymer which has an excellent dielectric property at different smaller microwave frequencies.

For the design of PCB circuits with microwave frequencies, important characterizations that determine laminate circuit performance include dielectric constant (DK), dissipation factor (Df), thermal expansion coefficient (CTE), thermal dielectric constant coefficient (TCDk), and thermal conductivity. The most known high-frequency material for users of PCB laminates may be polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a synthetic thermoplastic fluoropolymer with outstanding dielectric characteristics at microwave frequencies. PCB applications include RF antenna, WiFi (Carrier-Green and Licensed Access), IP infrastructure, power amplifiers, diplexers/multiplexers, testing, measurement, etc.
It is essential to have considerable expertise in manufacturing PCBs with these materials using PCBs produced from these goods.

Different High-Frequency PCB Materials and their Characteristics:

Choosing a circuit material for a PCB is usually a compromise, frequently between price and performance. However, Printed Circuit Board materials are also chosen by two important factors: how well they suit the requirements of a final application and what work is needed to build the desired circuit with a certain material. These two variables may not mesh: one material may be suitable for a specific application but may provide difficulties in producing a circuit and vice versa.

However, by relying on concrete criteria intended to assess the appropriateness of the material for circuit manufacturing and to satisfy the requirements of an application, the process of choosing a PCB may be simplified for a specific application. The method will be illustrated using some of the most common high-frequency PCB materials, each of which reflects manufacturing characteristics and end-use compatibility.

For various applications, it is advisable to use FR4 material with defined layer buildup as required during the design. Additionally, the processing is faster with such material having improved dielectric properties. These also have lower dielectric constant, frequency, and temperature-independent along with lower loss-factor. There are high glass transition temperature, lower hydrophilic rate, and excellent thermal durability are considered as additional favorable properties.

The PTFE and Rogers materials are typically used for impedance-controlled higher frequency circuit boards. There is also the possibility of executing the design with the material combinations sandwich buildups. For achieving the higher frequency provided from the desired PCB type, there are special materials required and there are numerous substrate materials present which particularly support the design and could differ relying on signal speeds needed along with the circuit board application/environment.

The FR4 is the least expensive when comparing it with other high-speed dedicated materials in terms of pricing and Teflon is the most expensive. However, in recent times, it was noted that the FR-4 started to drop off in performance as soon as the signal speed edged higher than 1.6GHz. When it comes to Df, Dk, survivability in the environment, and water absorption, the newer generation substrates are the best choice.

There are newer generation substrates that can typically be used when the printed circuit board requires frequency above 10GHz. These substrates include Flex and Teflon as the best option since these have higher superior properties when comparing it with the traditional FR-4 material.

The high-speed substrates common supplies included Isola, Taconic, Dupont, Rogers, and Megatron materials. These materials typically have a lower loss and lower DK.

How to Choose High-Frequency Material to Solve Fabrication Issues?

A variety of mechanical procedures are necessary for the production of high-frequency PCB materials. In general, plated-through-hole (PTH), multi-layer coating, and pcb assembly were the most important. The drilling procedure usually involves creating clean holes that are metalized subsequently to create troughs for the electrical connections from one conducting layer to another. Some issues related to the drilling process include smear, burring, and fracturing. Smearing may be fatal to PCB manufacturing using a PTFE-based material because the smear cannot be removed. Fracture of certain nonwoven glass hydrocarbon materials may be deadly.

However, this is not the case for most woven glass hydrocarbon materials. The PTH preparatory procedure is reasonably easy to specify for most non-PTFE materials, but PTHs for PTFE-based materials need specific processing. Ceramic-filled PTFE-based materials provide more forgiving PTH preparation choices. Non-ceramic PTFE materials need a specific procedure that may restrict final circuit outputs. Manufacturing multi-layer PCBs is challenging. One is that different materials frequently are linked together, and these different materials may have characteristics that hinder the operations of drilling and PTH preparation.

In addition, a discrepancy between certain material characteristics, such as the CTE thermal expansion coefficient, may cause dependability issues when the circuit is heat strained during assembly. The material selection procedure aims to identify a suitable mix of circuit materials for multi-layer PCBs that allow practical manufacturing and fulfill end-use criteria. Designers and manufacturers are provided with a wide range of materials to join the copper laminates that eventually form a multi-layer Printed Circuit Board.

The materials vary in dielectric constant, dissipation, and processing temperatures, as shown in Table 2. Lower lamination temperatures should generally be chosen. However, when a PCB is soldered or any other kind of heat exposure, it is required to employ a high-reflow (re-melt) bonding material that is thermal resistant and does not reflow at high processing temperatures.

HF Materials to Match CTE, DK, and DF Properties:

Di-Electric Co-efficient (DK)

Make sure the substratum is composed of DK-like friendly materials.

Thermal expansion coefficient (CTE):

For materials, CTE is perhaps the most critical thermal feature. If the substrates contain distinct CTE elements, they may grow at various rates throughout the manufacturing process.

How to Choose High-Frequency Materials on Product Needs?

Many best practices are available in selecting the appropriate substrate and foil for your application in high frequency.
• Match Dielectric Constants – If you want a personality match, you want a Dk match on PCBs. If your PCB substratum is composed of resin and woven material, various Dks may exist. Non-uniform Dks will create issues in your substratum. You must verify with your manufacturer to ensure that you obtain as near as possible to all of your substrate Dks.
• Match Thermal Expansion Coefficient (CTE) – There are many temperature-related substrates properties. The CTE of your substratum component may influence your Dk. If your substratum components have varying CTEs, they may expand at various rates throughout the production or operation of the circuit. It may lead to problems in the manufacture of PCBs. During operation, the physical shape of the substratum may be changed and Dks not uniform. It leads to a broken connection in love.
• Tight Substrate Weave —The woven portion of your substratum must likewise be narrowly meshed. A loosely woven substratum causes different Dks to be killed.
• Don’t use FR4 —It would help if you also utilized a low-loss substratum. Some individuals still use FR4 for their high-frequency circuits, though. FR4 is not a suitable material for applications with high frequency; use anything else.
• Use the beauty of a smooth foil, and it is seemingly just skin-deep. A smooth copper foil ensures reduced resistive losses at the highest frequencies.
• Use a Conductive Foil – If your skin depth is low, make sure you’re not using weak conductors to complete copper. The current passes through these weak drivers and creates a poor circuit.

Final Thoughts

Various RF PCBs and microwave PCB applications are multi-layer businesses. By combining various materials, board characteristics may be fine-tuned to enhance electrical performance, thermal qualities, and cost balance. Composite boards, commonly referred to as multi-layer hybrid PCBs, may be challenging to compile since various PCBs’ production stages have to take care of many layer-to-layer interactions.

There are also other difficulties, like the PC Board mixed-signal design, which mixes analog and digital components, creating many variables. The future is certainly bright, with so many present uses and new markets for RF PCB’s and microwave PCBs. However, RF boards are complicated and must include numerous variables and show unique behaviors that are not communicated with their lower frequency relatives. It’s not “dark magic,” but it may be difficult.

Interested to know more about High-Frequency PCBs? Just write us at sales@pnconline.com

What is a Gerber Viewer in PCB Design

What is a Gerber Viewer in PCB Design?

Gerber Viewer

A Gerber viewer is any software application that enables you to examine the contents of a Gerber file. While some of these applications need installation, others are available online and do not require downloading or installation. All you have to do to see your Gerber files online is upload them.

Gerber files

Before the establishment of Gerber files, there were no industry-standard guidelines for manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCB). The papers that included the Printed Circuit Board requirements contained a diverse range of information. There have been many instances of miscommunication and misunderstanding between consumers and manufacturing firms. Finally, universal interoperability across PCB designers and manufacturers has been achieved with the introduction of the Gerber format. In order to work with a file format independent of the CAE/CAD program being utilized, it allows the latter.

After the project has been finished and adequately monitored, it should be sent to the manufacturer. The designer may transmit securely, with prior permission with the business, any Gerber files generated by the export feature. Even though many applications automatically export to this kind of archive, all documents may be compressed in one zipped file. Many firms accept just one compressed file. Testing and checking your files with various Gerber viewers is usually intelligent practice before sending them to the producer. It is a great technique to be followed by all designers.

The Gerber format

These are vector documents consisting of a series of instructions that create a visual object flow. The directions for making the hole on the PC Board are also included. Nowadays, businesses that manufacture printed circuit boards need clients, nothing else. The essential program for electronic design contains and allows the export of the whole work to this format. It is thus the first thing an electrical designer should look for in his CAE program.

pc board

The standard format now used is RS-274X. It’s an extreme version in the same document as it contains:
• the draw and flash commands
• the XY coordinates
• the openings
• the configuration parameters

Versions of Gerber Files

Nobody needs to order a delayed printed circuit board (PCB). Ideally, you submit your design file to the PCB maker, and then the manufacturer organizes the manufacturing of the board based on your file and sends goods to you. However, the actual issue is not so easy. It typically takes such a long time since you submit your designed file to the final arrival of your board. Your discontent with your PC Board manufacturer will grow with increasing turn-time.

You may do a lot to reduce this time from your viewpoint throughout the whole process. After all, efficiency and efficiency are your responsibility. As connectors and translators for PCB engineers and PCB manufacturers, German files serve a crucial role in allowing manufacturers to understand design engineers’ thoughts and ideas. Excellent and dependable products may be produced successfully and efficiently. There are now three Gerber format versions available:
• Gerber X2 – the latest Gerber format, including stack data and characteristics
• RS-274-X – an extended Gerber format version and extensively used.
• RS-274-D – Gerber’s oldest version, progressively replacing RS-274-X.

Over the years, the Gerber file format has seen numerous modifications and upgrades. Thus Gerber files have been updated in many versions. The earliest version, also known as RS-274-D, is Standard Gerber. It is mainly out of usage today, and standard Gerber files are not acceptable on the official website of Gerber. Gerber is extended to include RS-274-X, commonly known as X-Gerber. Extended Gerber was introduced in 1998 and is a human-readable ASCII format. The previous format has been enhanced by incorporating information in graphics and pictures. Gerber’s latest version is Gerber-X2, an expansion of Gerber-X. It is compatible with most CAM programs and enables the user to add file characteristics.

These characteristics are like labels that offer picture file information and features. It also simplifies the transition of PCB designs from CAD to manufacturing. UCAMCO has just launched another version named Gerber X3. While not extensively utilized, UCAMCO believes that its interoperability with other applications and simplicity of installation will become the new norm.

Gerber Files Generation

PCB engineers should never be too indolent to create their Gerber files for the following two reasons. You cannot be sure that the PCB software you use is the same as the software used by your PCB Manufacturer. You must create Gerber files yourself if your PCB producer utilizes various PCB software, and additional discussion and validation will certainly cause extra time and delay the manufacturing process.

Although PCB manufacturer utilizes the same PCB design tools, it is still advisable to create Gerber files yourself since differences in software applications may also lead to potential mistakes. PCB design engineers should thus learn to create Gerber files themselves in order to guarantee delivery speed and reliability of end products.

Gerber files typically include driver layer, solder mask layer, and silkscreen layer design data. In addition, Gerber files should still be produced to prevent potential misunderstandings in two levels with the same design data. Distinct PCB design software has different Gerber file generating operation procedures.

Converting Gerber Files

Depending on the circuit design software you choose, you can generate Gerber files. There are many of these applications. However, some of them are popular with Proteus, Altium Designer, and CircuitMaker. Eagle is also one of the simplest to use. You will have to change your approach to various programs, but here are basic principles. Created by a firm called Gerber, Gerber’s format now includes standard PCB software that is generally recognized, capable of defining board imaging conditions, such as driver layers, solder mask layers, and legendary layers. The printed circuit boards are intended to produce additional board manufacture information based on which board production is started, using a specialist EDA system (Electronic Design Automation) or a CAD system (Computer-Aided Design).

PCB producers will not completely grasp all PCB design file specifics unless it includes the Gerber file as reference and guidance. For each picture of a circuit board, the Gerber format file is applied and may be used for both manufacture of bare boards and the assembly of PCB. For bare-board production, Gerber format is required by conventional photoplotters and other factories that want image data such as legendary printers, direct images or AOI devices, etc.

Simply stated, Gerber files format must be dependent from the beginning to the conclusion of the PCB manufacturing process. In connection with PC Board assembly, a stencil layer is included in the Gerber size, and component positions are controlled, which is also considered as important reference data for the assembly, assembly, and combinations of SMT (Surface Mount Technology).

You need to load your board to the design programme of your circuit. Sometimes this process is easy, but sometimes certain export parameters need to be adjusted. You must next utilize the CAM processor to convert your data to Gerber files. The duration of this procedure varies significantly depending on the size and complexity of the board.

Once you have completed your CAM processor, you will have a set of files labeled with the name of your board but various extensions. You must compress and submit your layer files, drawings, box guidelines, and inside layers to the PCB maker. In order to generate the required Excellon files, you must typically return to the CAM procedure.

Now that you have your Gerber file, maybe your question is how to convert a Gerber to PDF? You will need to locate an online service or application to convert Gerber files to PDF files. Many of these applications are online and do not need your computer to be downloaded or installed. Just upload and wait for the software to convert your files.

Example circuit diagram

The figure below, along with the 3D construction, illustrates the transistor amplifier wiring schematic. It is a promiscuous project, some of them in SMT with discreet components. The project contains elements, words, images, components, and more.

Example circuit diagram

Final Thoughts

Gerber Viewer Software for Windows is a software program that allows you to read and examine Gerber files (GRB files) using its comprehensive toolkit. Some of these applications are also the software for the Gerber editor so that you may examine and modify Gerber PCB designs. The program may export the file viewer in different formats, such as SVG, PDF, PNG, PDF, JPEG, etc. If you wish, you may also print out the design.

PNCONLINE equipped with big and sophisticated machinery, are used CNCs may accomplish the more advanced versions are devoted to a particular operation or all jobs simultaneously. These machines start producing PCBs instantly without being linked to a computer and also can interpret Gerber client files directly thus equipped with processors. Other kinds of equipment, always in accordance with the Gerber requirements, can conduct circuit controls and automated optical inspections (AOI).

Interested in getting your PCB design done on an urgent basis in New Jersey? Get it done at PNCONLINE.

Contact us at sales@pnconline.com

Flexible Printed Circuit Board Overview

Flexible Printed Circuit Board Overview


On a slightly less romantic level, it would not be feasible to have such a standard laptop or mobile phone without flexible print circuit technology, which enables components to be linked electrically, in a dynamic, three-dimensional fashion. Flexible circuit technology has a long history that dates back over 100 years. The early patent activity emphasizes the fact that inventions such as Thomas Edison, Frank Sprague, and others in the early twentieth century experimented on ideas for flexible circuit materials and designs that were only used on a commercial basis in recent decades.


Flexible printed circuits (FPCs) are the heart and soul of flexible films and thin layers of conducting traces. These typically represent the flexible circuit laminate base that can be used to connect electronic equipment – such as the LCD screen or a laptop’s keyboard – as a reliable cable replacement, or electronic components can be directly fitted to it through solder or conductive adhesive to form a completed, flexible printed circuit board.

Flexible printed circuits
Flexible printed circuits

Flexible PCB advantages

Flexible, FPCs may be bent and curved to provide more flexibility of application design and operation. Flexible circuits may also be adapted to tiny or inappropriately shaped areas, which cannot be supported by conventional rigid circuits. There is another benefit of flexible PC Board is that to reduce the weight of the motherboard of the application, they need less space. The effective utilization of existing areas also helps to improve thermal management and reduce the dissipation of heat.

Flexible PCBs may also be more dependable and longer-lasting compared to stiff PCBs, particularly in situations where constant vibration and mechanical stress are experienced. Based on soldered wires and hand-connected connector models, standard connecting methods are replaced by flexible printed circuits, with exceptional weight and thickness, and with strong mechanical resistance.

Think for example of connecting numerous electronic equipment, such as dashboards, display, and man-machine interfaces, in the automobile industry (rotary controls, buttons, etc.). All these gadgets are exposed to constant mechanical strains and vibrations and need a stable connection in all vehicle operating circumstances. Flexible printed circuits ensure zero reliability, durability, and maintenance in the automobile industry.

Flexible PCBs
Flexible PCBs

Flexible printed circuit boards provide a variety of possible advantages including:

  • Flexible PCBs provide cost-effective benefits that include decreased requirements for materials and packaging, reduced component replacement costs, and assembly mistakes that may lead to repair requirements.
  • These advantages make flex PCBs suitable for a broad variety of sectors, including consumer electronics, transport, medical, communications, military, automotive, industrial applications, and aerospace.

Missing Dielectric Material Callouts

Flexible and stiff flexible circuits are made utilizing a variety of material types to satisfy a broad range of physical and electrical costs and performance criteria. Because of this variation, the designer must give comprehensive information on the dielectric materials to be utilized about the potential problems associated with each choice. It is suggested that designers learn about the cost and performance options available. The Internet is filled with information about flexible circuit materials and how they may be utilized. This issue may also be helped by the PCB manufacturer. The fundamental kinds of flex materials are:

  • Adhesive materials without acrylic binding the copper to dielectric polyimide
  • Adhesive materials with acrylic copper bonding with dielectric polyimide
  • Flammable and non-flammable laminates, covers, and bonding flakes.

Incomplete or Insufficient Rigid-Flex Base Material Type Definition

The selected base material determines the rigid-flex circuit’s performance limitations in-process and field operation in many applications. For most solders devoid of plumage, the highest temperature requirements for soldering may be as high as 260°C, which usually requires the use of polyimide laminates. The choice of material and its electrical characteristics may, however, influence other performance problems.

One important issue is to control the characteristic impedance of the system and guarantee signal integrity with increasingly prevalent designs of higher-frequency circuits (these latter subjects will be given more attention later). The requirements for the temperature range of the stiff laminates used in rigid-flex structures must also be taken into account and handled. The stiff material should be capable of high temperatures. Polyimide laminate is a frequent callout, although epoxy resins are often appropriate for better applications.

Copper Type and Thickness Callout

Whilst many metal foils are available for flexible circuits, copper is the most frequently utilized metal for electronic interconnections. It is extremely conductive, mixable (making it flexible and foldable), reasonably easy to manufacture via graving and placing, and relatively cheap. The copper type most often used for flexible circuits is roll and copper (RA copper) with the greatest characteristics for dynamic flex applications.

The choice of type and thickness for the copper design should correspond to the electrical and mechanical requirements for use. Thicker copper is usually utilized for greater energy and thinner copper for circuits requiring repetitive bending (dynamic flexing). The options of thickness are many, but at present, one ounce (17μm or 0.7mils) and one ounce (35μm or 1 mil) are the most utilized for creating flexible circuit laminates. Additional copper may often be placed on the circuit, and this should also be taken into account in the specification. If the designer is unsure, he should seek the assistance of engineers for advice.

Flex Circuits
Flex Circuits

Cover layer or Solder Mask Over Flex Circuits

Covers are polymer materials used for the covering and protection of the copper traces of the flex circuit product. As is indicated, many solutions for the protection of the circuits are accessible and they meet various design criteria in terms of cost, performance, and flexural durability optimization. It is essential to describe the choice not only of the kind of cover material but also of the thickness required. This may be extremely significant for certain building types, especially when a flex circuit experiences dynamic flexing during usage.

As far as costs are concerned, a flexible solder mask is usually the cheapest. Someone or two-layer flexible circuits, which are not subjected to repeated flex cycles or severe radius curves, may be covered with a solder mask epoxy-based to flex without breaking. However, this is not advised if the design needs severe or dynamic flexing.

The second choice is the laminated cover. These materials are usually identical to the flexible core materials and are best suited for flexible dynamic circuit applications. The cover is a polyimide sheet with one side acrylic adhesive. It is usually pre-machined to open the sheet where the final finish is needed.

The cover sheets are typically coated with specific pads in a laminating machine to ensure that the copper characteristics of the flex layer are conformed. For rigid-flex circuits, the overlayer is usually reduced to not exceed 50 miles in the rigid part. The aim is to ensure that all the plated holes in the stiff-flex are empty of any acrylic adhesive, since they may influence the integrity of the hole wall plating.

Flexible Printed Circuit Board disadvantages

Although there are many significant benefits, the FPC technology also has several inconveniences or downsides. First and foremost, FPCs have significant one-time startup costs compared to conventional rigid PCBs. The initial expenses associated with the circuit and prototype design are greater than for rigid PCBs because flexible systems are developed for highly particular purposes. If the cost is a deciding factor in the choice of the kind of PCB, the use of FPC technology is preferable only for not too low manufacturing quantities.

The difficulty of fixing or changing the PCB when it is rebuilt is another drawback. In this situation, in reality, the protection film that covers the circuit must first be removed, the procedure carried out and protection restored. In order to provide their clients with this kind of product, flexible PCBs are quite a new technology and not all manufacturers are prepared. Moreover, considerable care must be exercised during the assembling stage, because the circuit may be easily destroyed by improper handling or by unauthorized people.


The historical electric connection methods have been revolutionized, typically for connecting various portions of the same circuit or different electronic devices by introducing flexible PCBs. The flexible PCB-based solution enables significant space, weight, and costs to be reduced compared to an equivalent solution using rigid PCBs due to its flexibility and compactness as well as the high density of electrical connections available. Many kinds of cable systems, frequently manual in multiple applications, have been replaced with flexible printed circuits which reduce overall electrical cable costs by up to 70%.

Interested in getting your Flexible PCB design ready at economical rates in USA? Get it done at PCNONLINE.

Final Thoughts

In the last few years, the FPC business has expanded significantly led by the development of wearable and electromedical devices that are increasingly tiny and light. Flexible PCBs may remove connector and cable requirements in many applications, enhance connection reliability and reduce assembly time, assembly cost, and total device sizes. We can state that flexible PCBs have enabled new in conclusion, fascinating applications to be implemented that are not possible with conventional rigid PCBs.

Flexible printed circuits, from cars, VCRs, camcorders, cell phones, and SLR cameras up to the complex military and aviation systems, are present in all areas. There are numerous high-profile uses of flexible circuits. One example is the employment of flexible-circuit technology in the Sojourner, a robot that explored the Mars surface and collected data in the summer of 1997, in the stiff flexible wire harnesses employed.

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Lead Vs lead-free soldering for PCB assembly

Lead Vs lead-free soldering for PCB assembly

What is soldering?

Solder is the name for bonding metals. Soldering is a crucial aspect of the electronics industry, as it is the basic method of connecting electrical equipment to a PC Board. You have to heat the metal at a high temperature and join the parts, and then it will create a perfect electric connection between them when it cools.


Differences of leaded and lead-free soldering

Another distinguishing feature is the difference in moisture content. Wetting refers to how well-molten solder paste adheres to the board’s components on the Printed Circuit Board. Solder that has been improperly wetted appears grainy and dull. When using lead-free solder, wetting takes longer and results look dull. Traditional lead solder connections, on the other hand, are usually gleaming and spotless. Inadequate wettability is hazardous to a PCB’s joints. It causes poor joint performance and high circuit board rejects rates.

Changes in melting point:

Lead and lead-free solder perform differently in terms of performance. The melting point difference is the first distinction. Lead-free solder necessitates the use of some of the most extreme iron temperatures. It would be best if you were prepared to wait extended dwell periods due to the high melting points.

Various ranges of temperature:

There is a performance difference between the two due to the differing relevant temperature. High soldering iron temperatures are required for lead-free solder. When it comes to lead solder, however, this is not the case. In comparison to lead solder, lead-free solder requires somewhat higher remelting temperatures.

Raw material:

The raw materials are the essential distinction between lead and lead-free soldering. Flux is used in the creation of both of these items. The addition of lead solder paste is referred to as a lead change. However, when lead-free solder paste is added, it is referred to as lead-free flux.

Uses are different:

The difference in usage is the next distinguishing feature. Lead solder is frequently used in hobbyist projects. These projects are exempt from the RoHS regulations. On the other hand, lead-free soldering is required for major projects that must adhere to RoHS regulations.

Different appearance:

The look of lead-free solder junctions is grey, harsh, and uneven. The majority of leaded solder junctions, on the other hand, are bright and neat. They have a refined and gentler appearance. Lead solder is also somewhat heavier than lead-free solder in terms of density. Lead-based solder weighs 8.5 gm per square meter, while lead-free solder weighs 3.5 gm per square meter.

Advantages of lead-free solder

Due to the dangers of lead, lead-free solder has become common in electronic businesses and manufacturers. In the electronics sector, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive (RoHS) went into force, banning lead in consumer devices manufactured in the E.U. Manufacturers in the United States may be eligible for tax breaks if they reduce their usage of lead-based solder. The use of lead-free solder was generally accepted before lead-free solder being common in consumer-produced products. Almost all electronic assemblies were built to survive the usage of lead-free solder and the temperatures needed for manufacture.

Many users were fearful that lead-free solder would not last besides lead-based solder and those goods would fail. Because its characteristics are less well understood, lead-free solder might be not so much attractive for sensitive programs like aerospace and innovations in the field of medicine. We’ll see whether lead-free solder stands the test of time as it becomes increasingly popular and needed.

The decision of lead-free materials for wave soldering or through-hole soldering is based on the final completed PCB assembly unique design specifications and product demands. Even though lead-free soldering requires extreme temperatures, careful board architecture and material selection will be critical to avoid metal decomposing or harm critical electrical parts. This is particularly true throughout reflow when heat waves exist for long periods.

Disadvantages of lead-free soldering

Compared to leaded soldering, it needs low temperature to melt. Lead-free soldering requires high temperature. It needs around about 217°C/422°F temperature to melt. Electrical devices and PCB materials must be able to endure extreme heat.

Hard to handle:
Though lead-free solder operates perfectly there are several instances when lead solder beats lead-free solder. To begin with, lead solder is quite simple to work with. Even if a child ingests or consumes it, the poisonous substance is absorbed by the body.

Surface energy:
The absence of surface energy is perhaps the most significant disadvantage of lead-free solder. External pressures cannot be resisted by lead-free solder. The components may easily fall off if exposed to severe conditions.

Soldering irons with high wattage:
When lead solder is used, there are fewer quality issues with the head Soldering irons with high power are required for lead-free soldering. You may injure your head as a result of this. Again, this may lead to problems with your board’s quality. When you select lead solder, however, this is not the case. You may need to remove the head fast because of the high soldering temperature needed for lead-free soldering. When the use of lead soldering, however, you can prevent such a situation. This is something that many circuit designers are aware of.

Pcb Assembly
Pcb Assembly


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