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Printed Circuit Board

Printed Circuit Board Surface Finishes and Their Effects on Solderability and Reliability

When designing a printed circuit board, selecting the right PCB surface finish is essential to ensure the reliable soldering of components. Different types of PCB surface finishes have different effects on solderability and reliability. The PCB designer and manufacturer should understand the different finishes available and how to use them to maximize the performance of the PCB. We will discuss here the different types of PCB surface finishes available, their effects on solderability and reliability, and tips for selecting the best finish for your project.

Choosing the best surface finish for your application requires careful consideration of several factors. By understanding the properties and benefits of different surface finishes and how they align with your specific needs, you can make a good decision.

The Different Types of PCB Surface Finishes

There are several types of surface finishes to choose from, each with its unique characteristics and benefits.

  1. HASL (Hot Air Solder Leveling): This is one of the oldest and most commonly used surface finishes. It involves applying a layer of molten solder to the surface of the PCB and then flattening it using a hot air leveling process. HASL provides a durable and cost-effective surface finish, but it may not be suitable for fine-pitch components. It has some disadvantages such as the formation of solder balls and their thickness, which can cause issues with fine-pitch components.
  2. ENIG (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold): ENIG is a popular surface finish for high-density PCBs with fine-pitch components. It involves depositing a thin layer of nickel on the surface of the PCB, followed by a layer of gold. ENIG offers excellent corrosion resistance and solderability, but it is more expensive than other surface finishes.
  1. OSP (Organic Solderability Preservatives): OSP is a thin organic coating applied to the surface of the PCB to protect it from oxidation and other environmental factors. OSP is a cost-effective option in this case, but it may not be as durable as other surface finishes.
  2. Immersion Tin: This surface finish involves depositing a thin layer of tin onto the surface of the PCB. Immersion tin offers good solderability and can be an affordable option for certain applications. However, it may not be suitable for PCBs with high-temperature requirements.
  3. Immersion Silver: This surface finish involves depositing a thin layer of silver onto the surface of the PCB. Immersion silver offers excellent solderability and is a popular option for high-speed PCB designs. However, it can be more expensive than other surface finishes and may not be as durable in harsh environments.

Each type of PCB surface finish has its unique advantages and disadvantages. When selecting a surface finish for your PCB design, consider factors such as the type of PCB components, the operating environment, and the cost.

The Effect of Surface Finish on Solderability

The surface finish of a PCB can have a significant impact on the solderability of the components and the overall reliability of the board. In this section, we will take a closer look at how different surface finishes can affect the solderability of PCBs.

First, you must understand that the surface finish of a PCB refers to the thin layer of material that is applied to the copper pads on the board’s surface. This layer is essential because it protects the copper from oxidation, corrosion, and other forms of damage.

You would see that HASL leaves behind a thick layer of solder on the surface, which can be difficult for small components to bond with and can also lead to uneven solder joints. Moreover, the excess solder can also create short circuits and reduce the board’s overall reliability.

In contrast, the electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG) surface finish has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to provide excellent solderability and reliability. ENIG provides a flat surface for components to bond with. The gold layer is also non-corrosive and has a high resistance to wear and tear.

On the other hand, immersion silver offers good solderability and a relatively low cost compared to ENIG. However, silver is more prone to tarnishing and can cause problems with the board’s reliability over time.

The Effect of Surface Finish on Reliability

The choice of surface finish can significantly impact the longevity and overall performance of the PCB. The surface finish of a PC Board can affect its ability to resist corrosion. Certain surface finishes, such as gold or silver, provide excellent corrosion resistance, ensuring that the PCB remains protected even in harsh environments. On the other hand, some finishes like HASL are prone to corrosion, which can lead to the failure of the circuit board.

The surface finish can impact the electrical performance of the PCB. Some surface finishes have low electrical resistance, which can help to minim ize signal loss. Conversely, finishes that have higher electrical resistance can lead to signal distortion and reduced performance. So, you should consider the electrical requirements of your PCB when selecting a surface finish.

The surface finish can also impact the mechanical durability of the PCB. Certain finishes, such as immersion gold, provide a thin and uniform layer that is less likely to crack or peel during thermal cycling. Other finishes, like OSP, are more susceptible to wear and tear, which can lead to damage to the circuit board.

Overall, the choice of surface finish for your PCB can have a significant impact on its reliability and performance. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each type of finish, you can choose the right finish for your specific application and maximize the longevity and reliability of your circuit board.

How to Choose the Best Surface Finish for Your Application

Now that we have covered the different types of surface finishes and their properties, it’s time to discuss how to choose the best surface finish for your specific PCB application. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Environment: The first thing to consider is the environment in which the PCB will be operating. If it has to work in a harsh or high-temperature environment, you may want to choose a surface finish that is more durable and resistant to corrosion, such as ENIG or OSP.
  2. 2. Cost: Different surface finishes have different costs, so you need to consider your budget in this case. HASL is the most affordable option, while gold finishes tend to be more expensive.
  3. Solderability: As discussed earlier, you should consider the solderability of the surface finish. Some finishes, such as OSP, require a longer preheat time, while others may require the use of special solder pastes or fluxes. Make sure the surface finish you choose is compatible with your soldering process.
  4. Compatibility with other materials: If you have to assemble the PCB with other components or materials, make sure that the surface finish is compatible with them. For example, some finishes may react negatively with certain solders or coatings.
  5. Electrical properties: Finally, you need to consider the electrical properties of the surface finish. Some finishes, such as gold or silver, offer better conductivity, while others may cause increased resistance.

Ultimately, the choice of surface finish will depend on your specific requirements. If you are unsure which finish is best for your project, you can consult with a professional PCB manufacturer who can guide you through his expert advice.


What are Common PCB Surface Finishes?

Some popular surface finishes of printed circuit boards include HSL (Hot Air Solder Leveling), OSP (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold), ENIG (Organic Solderability Preservatives), immersion silver, and immersion tin.

What Is The Benefit Of HASL?

HASL is one of the most popular surface finishes due to its versatility. HASL provides good solderability and is suitable for most applications.

What Is The Benefit Of Using ENIG For PCB?

ENIG is corrosion-resistant and provides a flat surface that is perfect for fine-pitch components.

What Is The Benefit Of Using Immersion Silver For PCB?

Immersion silver offers excellent conductivity and is ideal for RF applications.

Which PCB Surface Finish Is Cost-Effective?

HASL is the most affordable surface finish for printed circuit boards.

Final Thoughts

When designing a printed circuit board, one of the most important factors to consider is the selection of the right surface finish. This is because different surface finishes can significantly affect the solderability and reliability of the finished PCB.

Choosing the right surface finish for your PCB can have a significant impact on its solderability and function.  Some finishes, like ENIG, provide excellent solderability and are preferred for applications that require a high degree of reliability. Other finishes, like OSP, can be more difficult to solder and may require extra steps to ensure proper adhesion.

While there are several options available, ENIG has become a popular choice due to its excellent performance and long-term durability. Ultimately, it’s essential to consider your application’s specific requirements and choose a surface finish that meets those needs.

Would like to know more about the PCB surface finishes or pcb assembly? Write us at sales@pnconline.com

Best Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices

Auto routing is an incredible tool for PCB design. It can save time and money, as well as reduce the risk of errors in the design. But, after completing the auto-routing process, you must remember that some manual routing is still necessary to ensure the best performance and reliability for your circuit board. In this article, we will explore the best practices for Printed Circuit Board routing after auto routing goes the distance. We will see what kind of manual routing is necessary, how to go about it, and why it’s important.

Assess the Quality of Your Auto-Router’s Work

Before you begin the process of editing or manually routing your design, you must assess the quality of the work completed by your auto-router. If your design has a lot of violations or errors, then it’s likely that manual routing is going to be necessary. To assess the quality of your auto-routed design, start by checking for errors. Make sure you properly connected all the tracks and that there are no shorts or open circuits.

Also, check the placement of the routes to ensure that they have the right width and direction. You must make sure that there are no sharp corners in the traces, as these can create stress points and reduce the reliability of your circuit. After completing this assessment, you’ll have a better idea of how much manual routing you need to complete your design.

Edit Your Design to Clean Up the Auto-Router’s Mistakes

When you auto-route your PC Board, it is important to review and clean up the results before sending it off for manufacturing. This is especially true if the auto-routing process got off center, leaving you with an excessively long or inefficient route. Before doing any manual routing, take some time to examine the auto-router’s work and make any necessary corrections.

First, check for violations of routing rules like clearance, width, and length rules. Make sure that the auto-router didn’t miss any components or create any neglected sections of traces. Then, look for any vias that you can replace with direct routing or traces that are easy to shorten to increase efficiency. You should also visually inspect the entire board layout to ensure everything looks reasonable and follows good design principles.

After editing your design to fix any errors, it is time to move on to the manual routing process. Be sure to take your time and double-check all your work before sending it off to a manufacturer. This extra effort can save you time and money down the road.

Manually Route Any Difficult or Important Signals

Manually routing signals is always the best way to ensure that you’re PCB will function correctly. Even though auto-routing can help complete most of the work, it’s important to manually route certain signals to achieve a high-quality design. This includes difficult or important signals such as the clock or power signals which require special attention.

When manually routing a signal, you must make sure that there is enough spacing between the tracks to ensure that the signals won’t be interfered with by any other nearby signals. Moreover, if you are routing high-frequency signals, you should ensure that the impedance of the track is correct for those frequencies.

Make sure that the routing of the signal is in the most direct manner possible. This minimizes the amount of noise picked up by the signal and helps reduce crosstalk between other traces on the board. Routing the high-speed signals manually also helps minimize trace inductance, which can cause ringing on the signals and increase noise levels.

By taking the time to manually route certain signals, you can ensure that your design will be reliable and high quality. Moreover, you can use techniques such as differential pairs and impedance matching to further enhance the performance of these sensory signals. You may want to consider setting aside some extra budget when designing your PCB with manual routing. As the process can be more costly than auto-routing.

Moreover, before going into production, you must double-check that all the signal routes are correct. Using software tools such as DRC (Design Rule Checking) can help identify any errors to fix them before the board goes into production. Doing this will help ensure that your final product is of the highest quality and able to meet your performance requirements.

 Check Your Work For Errors Before Sending It To Fabrication

Making sure your design is free of errors before sending it to fabrication is essential for the success of your PCB. During the auto-routing process, small errors can occur and the manufacturer would reject your design. To avoid this, you should double-check your design for any errors before sending it to the manufacturer.

To check for errors, you should use a combination of inspection tools, such as visual inspections and electronic rule-checking (ERC) software. Visual inspections involve examining the traces and components on the board. Whereas the ERC software checks your design against a set of rules defined by the manufacturer.

Inspecting your board manually can help you identify issues with the routing that an auto-router could not detect. For example, if two traces cross without via, you should add one to prevent shorts and crosstalk. If you notice any errors, such as incorrect trace widths or spacing, make sure to adjust them accordingly before sending your design to the manufacturer.

Also, ensure that your design meets the manufacturer’s requirements before sending it out for fabrication. The design should be compliant with their minimum trace widths, spacing, drill sizes, and more. If the design is not compatible with manufacturing parameters, it can result in costly delays and rejections, which could easily have been avoided.

 How to find that PCB design is according to the manufacturer’s requirements

You can do it by checking the size of your design. Make sure that all components fit within the PCB dimensions and have the right placement. Then, make sure that any traces or vias are wide enough for your manufacturer’s specifications. In the case of auto-routing, you must check for any clearance issues between traces. This can help you spot any potential problems before sending your board off for fabrication.

You should also review the data sheets to make sure that no noise or interference could affect the operation of your board.

By taking the time to ensure your design is compliant with the manufacturer’s requirements, you can help ensure a successful Circuit board fabrication process and save yourself from potentially costly delays down the line.

After confirming compliance, consider running some simulations to test your board’s performance under various conditions. This will allow you to see if there are any areas with crosstalk or power integrity issues. Moreover, if your board has high-speed signals on it, you may want to simulate its performance at various temperatures or levels of humidity.

Some Other Rules To Follow

You have to follow certain rules while making PCB layout as it will bring good results. So, let’s explore it further.

  • The traces should have as much direct and short routing, as you can do without affecting the design.
  • Try to route similar signals together, as the routing of RF and RF signals should be together. Similarly, two digital signals should also have the same route.
  • Try to route vias as simply as possible, such as BGAs, ball grid arrays, or some other types of vias.
  • Make sure to work according to the DFM guidelines to have perfect manufacturing.
  • In the case of high-power signals, you consider impedance and choose high-quality material while routing traces or determining the length.

    Design Principles

The design standards of printed circuit boards keep on changing due to changing technologies. But, you can’t compromise on safety and quality in this regard. The design of the PCB involves certain principles that you have to follow to have an effective product. Let’s look at those principles.

  • The grid spacing should be precise
  • The traces should be direct and shortest possible.
  • You should be careful about power distribution
  • Try not to have multiple grids
  • The placement of the components should be wise as it will make design and PCB inspection easy.
  • Make use of silkscreens in the best way to have more benefits.
  • Always try to follow the DRC (design rule check)
  • Try to avoid auto routers and go for manual work as much as possible if the budget allows you.

Wrap Up

When you auto-route the PCB, it is important to review and clean up the results before sending it off for manufacturing. This is especially true if the auto-routing process got off center, leaving you with an excessively long or inefficient route. Before doing any manual routing, take some time to examine the auto-router’s work and make any necessary corrections.

By taking the time to manually route certain signals, you can ensure that your PCB design will be reliable and high quality. Moreover, you can use techniques such as differential pairs and impedance matching to further enhance the performance of these signals.

Would like to know more about the PCB routing practices or PC Board assembly after auto routing? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

Printed Circuit Board

Printed Circuit Board Backplane

Backplane PCBs are an essential component of many electrical systems, providing a convenient and efficient way to connect multiple printed circuit boards. We’ll explore the basics of backplane PCBs and discuss the process of fabricating them. Backplane PCBs vary in terms of types, construction materials, and the key steps in the fabrication process. After understanding all essentials, you can create a reliable, high-quality backplane Printed Circuit Board that meets your needs.

What is a Backplane PCB?

A backplane PCB, also known as a printed circuit board, is an interconnecting circuit board that helps support and provide electrical connections for multiple electronic components. The backplane PC Board provides a platform for connecting the individual PCBs that make up a larger electronic system. You can find the backplane PCBs in computers, servers, network switches, and routers.

The construction of backplane PCBs involves several layers of copper foil laminated together with an insulating material, such as glass-reinforced epoxy or polyimide. This combination of materials allows the backplane to be very durable and reliable. The copper traces that make up the interconnections are placed in specific patterns to create a flexible platform that can support various types of components.

Engineers use a backplane PCB to mount other types of PCBs, such as memory boards, processor boards, graphics cards, and storage devices. It also serves as a high-speed data bus between these components, providing faster communication and data transmission.

The Various Types of Backplane PCBs

Backplane PCBs come in a variety of shapes and sizes to meet the requirements of any design. These include double-sided, multilayer, surface mount, and rigid-flex backplanes. Each of these types offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on the application.

Double-sided Backplane: This type of backplane has two layers of PCB material being connected by an array of holes drilled through the board. The application of this type of board is popular for low-cost, high-volume products such as consumer electronics.

Multilayer Backplane: This type of backplane has multiple layers of printed circuit board material being connected by various types of wiring. You will see its application in complex designs where routing or high density is essential.

Surface Mount Backplane: This type of backplane consists of one or more printed circuit boards with direct mounting onto the outside of another board. This type of board is suitable for high-speed applications, such as communication systems or computer networks.

Rigid-Flex Backplane: This type of backplane consists of two different printed circuit board materials. One layer is rigid and the other is flexible, allowing for greater flexibility in design. The board is ideal for applications with a large number of connections or tight spaces.

By understanding the different types of backplane PCBs, designers can choose the right type for their application and ensure that their product has the best performance possible.

Backplane PCB Fabrication
The fabrication of backplane PCBs involves a subtractive process, such as the removal of unwanted material from a starting substrate to create the desired traces and connections on the board. The most common method of fabrication is a chemical etching process, where manufacturers bond the copper foil onto the substrate, exposing it to a photoresist to create a pattern. The resist protects the copper during an acid etching step that removes the unwanted copper, leaving only the desired traces and connections. You can do it either manually or with an automated machine.

The complexity of the design and the number of layers will determine the board layout. The design is usually laid out in multiple layers, with each layer representing a different circuit or electrical signal. All the layers are then bonded together, creating the complete backplane PCB. The bonding of the layers involves either a chemical or thermal process, depending on the application.

After bonding the layers together, you may need to attach additional components to the board. This can include mounting holes for screws, heat sinks for components, and connectors for external devices. Then comes the typical process of components soldering onto the board, while keeping some in place with other methods such as rivets or adhesives.

In the end, you have to test it to make sure it works correctly. This includes electrical tests such as continuity tests and power tests to ensure that all the connections are working correctly. After thorough testing, the board is ready to use in its intended application.

The Advantages of Using a Backplane PCB

Backplane PCBs offer many advantages over traditional printed circuit boards They provide greater flexibility in terms of design and layout, as well as the ability to support larger numbers of components. This makes them ideal for high-density applications such as telecommunications, medical, industrial automation, and computing.

Using backplane PCBs also offers several other benefits. You can use them to reduce wiring complexity and cost since they allow for fewer wires in an interconnected system. Moreover, they make it easier to route signals and power within a device, allowing for more efficient communication between components. Besides, they help have the simultaneous operation of multiple cards or modules, which is beneficial in applications that require multiple functions.

Moreover, backplane PCB can also help reduce the size and weight of the final product. This is especially beneficial in applications that require a small form factor, such as portable electronics or embedded systems. Moreover, you can improve the overall reliability of the system due to the added strength of the backplane substrate.

The Disadvantages of Using a Backplane PCB

The main disadvantage of using a backplane PCB is its limited flexibility. Since all of the components are directly connected to the backplane, it can be difficult to modify or add new components to the board. This makes them less suitable for applications that require frequent changes or upgrades. Besides, they are more complex and costly to manufacture than other types of PCBs.

Another downside is that they take up a lot of space. Since they involve multiple layers, they require more physical area than simpler boards. This makes them less suitable for applications where size is an important factor. Besides, the wiring and component placement on a backplane PCB is quite challenging, since there are several connections to consider.

Moreover, backplane PCBs can also suffer from signal interference. This occurs when the signals from one component interfere with those from another component, leading to system errors or data corruption. This is especially true in the case of adjacent components with poor shielding.

Development Trend of Backplane

As technology advances, the need for higher performance and better reliability of backplane PCBs is on the rise. As a result, manufacturers are continuously developing new designs, materials, and components for backplane PCBs to ensure that they can keep up with the changing needs of the industry. The main trends in the development of backplane PCBs include miniaturization, increased functionality, improved signal integrity, and increased thermal efficiency.

Miniaturization: One of the main trends in the development of backplane PCBs is miniaturization. As more and more electronics are packed into smaller and smaller spaces, backplane PCBs should keep up with the trend. By reducing the size of the components used in the backplane, engineers can reduce the board area, allowing more components to fit into a smaller space.

Increased Functionality: As devices become increasingly complex, backplane PCBs must also provide more functionalities. By increasing the number of pins and features, engineers can provide more features in a single device. This helps engineers to design and develop more sophisticated products that can meet the needs of the market.

Improved Signal Integrity: To ensure reliable signal transmission, engineers must ensure that their backplane PCBs have good signal integrity. This involves optimizing the board layout, as well as using proper signal routing techniques. By improving signal integrity, engineers can reduce noise and the risk of data loss or interference from other signals.

Increased Thermal Efficiency: Heat management is essential for any electronic device, especially those containing multiple components. To ensure that the system is not facing high heat, backplane PCBs should be designed with thermal management in mind. By optimizing board layout and component placement, engineers can ensure a quick and effective dissipation of heat.

These are just some of the trends that are impacting backplane PCB design and development today. By incorporating these trends into their designs, engineers can create products to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry.

Final Thoughts

A backplane PCB, also known as a printed circuit board, is an interconnecting circuit board that helps support and provide electrical connections for multiple electronic components. The backplane PCB provides a platform for connecting the individual PCBs that make up a larger electronic system. You can find the backplane PCBs in computers, servers, network switches, and routers.

Engineers use a backplane PCB to mount other types of PCBs, such as memory boards, processor boards, graphics cards, and storage devices. It also serves as a high-speed data bus between these components, providing faster communication and data transmission. Certain development trends can help engineers create products to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry.

Would like to know more about the backplane PCBs or prototype pcb manufacturer? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

Flexible Circuit PCB Assembly

Flexible Circuit PCB Assembly

It can be tricky to figure out what you need to know about flexible circuits assembly, especially since it’s not something many people are familiar with or have experience with. Flexible electronic assembly is one of the most innovative and useful circuit boards in the electronics world since it allows you to make low-profile electronic devices with multiple electronic components.
The Circuit board has different types, including a standard or rigid PCB, a flex PCB, and a flex-rigid PCB. Besides, these circuit boards are further divided into single-layer PCBs, double-layer PCBs, and multilayer PCBs.
A flexible circuit board has a flexible base, but the components are just like a rigid circuit board. However, you can turn a flex PCB into any shape while using it which means it is easy to bend.The following article will help you learn everything you need to know about flexible smt assembly so that you can get started working on your designs right away.
Before we move to the assembly of a flex PCB, we want to discuss its applications.

FPCB Applications

The FPCB is a vital part of electronic products that we use daily, such as desktop printers, hard disks, and several other devices. You would see the use of a flex circuit board in the below industries.

  • Medical industry
  • Consumer electronics
  • Communications industry
  • Military
  • Automotive industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Transportation

Engineers use it in the transportation industry because flex PCBs are vibration-resistant and constant movement for several hours can’t damage them.

Choosing The Right Material And Processes

When it comes to choosing the right materials and processes for your flexible circuit board assembly, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First, consider the environment in which the board will be used. Will it be exposed to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures?
Second, think about the amount of flexibility you need. The more flexible the circuit, the more expensive it will be. Finally, consider the size and weight of the finished product.

What Are The Uses Of The Flex PCBs?

Every kind of circuit board has specific uses because it is an important part of different products, especially electronics. Designers preferflexible circuit boards for computers, mobile phones, and servers to make them more effective, less heavy, and more flexible. Though different devices have different shapes, functions, and sizes, they all include flexible circuit boards.
Let’s look at the main uses of flexible Printed Circuit Board
1-FPCB is Flexible

  • The flex circuit board is an elastic board that helps in placing it near folds or edges.
  • It is suitable for 3-axis connections due to its elasticity.
  • FPCB involves minimum wiring, whereas some applications don’t require any wiring at all. So, there are no wiring issues that make a device more reliable.

2-Flex PCB Reduces Weight and Space
Unlike rigid circuit boards, a flex PCB needs less space. According to engineers, it can save 60 percent of space, hence, its weight also decreases.
3-Flex PCB Reduces Connectors
If you use a flex PCB in a 3D design, it will eliminate or reduce connectors. Whereas the bending cycles go up to 200 000.
4-FPCB Eliminates Vibration
A flex PCB is very light which helps it absorb movements or vibrations. So, the vibrations can’t damage an FPCB. Moreover, the solder joints also stay safe.
5-Compatible With Tough Environments
You can use a flex circuit board in tougher environments due to its material. Its main materials are water-resistant, shock-resistant, heat-resistant, as well as corrosion, and oil-proof.
6-Thin layers
Flex PCB has thin layers on the inside which reduce its weight. The copper layers in an FPCB are heavy which if combined with thin layers becomes useful for high-power applications.

Types of Flex Circuit Board

A flex PC Board has different types, including single-sided, double-sided, multilayer flex, and rigid-flex circuit boards. Let’s look at their pros one by one.
Single-sided F PCB: It is economical, flexible, and has many bending cycles.
Double-sided F PCB: Its design is more flexible than others. Moreover, it saves space and provides dual-sided soldering.
Multilayer F PCB: It is lightweight and compact and its flexibility is more in a 3D design. It is compatible with blind and buried vias.
Rigid-flex circuit board: It helps have a long-lasting 3D application having stable parts, pins, heat streaks, etc. It reduces noise and enhances signal integrity.Besides, it is more reliable and offers better impedance.
It helps have minimum mechanical space and reduces the weight of the device. It is compatible with the HDI micro-via. It is economical and offers a flexible pcb design.
Some More Advantages
A flex PCB can give you many benefits, but mainly it enhances flexibility and saves space. Its assembly involves a few items that reduce its cost and manufacturing time.

  • A flex circuit board offers a high-heat dissipation.
  • It enhances the inner airflow.
  • It reduces the size and weight of the package.
  • It involves minimum assembly errors.
  • It reduces the inductance of wires.
  • A flex circuit board enhances the product’s looks.
  • The assembly time and cost of the FPCB are less in some cases.
Flexible Circuit PCB Assembly
Flexible Circuit PCB Assembly

Flexible Printed Circuit Board Assembly

The assembly of a flex PCB is the same as a rigid board except for a few changes due to certain technical needs. The assembly of a single-layer flex PCB consists of the following steps

  • BOM
  • Electrical testing
  • Punching process
  • FPCB baking process
  • Optical inspection
  • FQC process
  • Silkscreen printing process
  • Reflow soldering
  • Packaging process
  • Mounting process
  • Deep inspection

Flex To Rigid Surface
Since flex PCB is soft and gets deformed, it is hard to assemble it directly on SMT. So, engineers fix it on a hard surface such as a tray for the assembly process. The tray or a hard carrier should be well-intact to make assembly smooth.
Low-Density Assembly
Flex PCBs aremore costly than the rigid circuit board, so most of them are used for connecting different modules having different functions. So, the FPCB assembly involves fewer components in the case of low-density assembly. The quantity of the components ranges from 2 to 50 in this case.
Increased Panels
Manufacturers use many planes during FPCB assembly to enhance the process. A flexible circuit board is used in smart products, such as digital cameras and mobile phones, so a single board is too small. As it involves a few components, manufacturers use panels which are then removed through punching.
Use of Auxiliary Fixtures
Flexible PCB assembly involves auxiliary fixtures as it deforms easily. These fixtures include:

  • Baking fixture
  • Carrying tray for FPCB
  • Electrical and function test fixtures
  • Cutting Fixtures

High Demand for Quality
The devices with FPCB are used in an environment where the accuracy of control has to be high. So, the board components should be well-positioned to get compatible with a particular environment.One must focus on certain factors, such as anti-static precautions, cleanliness, and reliable soldering. It also involves several technical issues.
Increased Assembly Cost
A flex circuit board has a costly assembly compared to a rigid circuit board. It involves many fixtures which also increases its cost.Theassembly process takes more time than a rigid PCB. Moreover, the assembly involves lots of accessories and working labor because less equipment is used. Besides, the increased demand for high quality and flawless manufacturing environment also is the reason for the high cost.
However, as the flex circuit board’s application is increasing, so new technology and assembly methods emerge. Eventually, the assembly cost decreases due to less time and tools involved.
Choosing A Supplier
When it comes to choosing a supplier for your flexible circuits PCB assembly, there are a few things you need to take into account. First, you need to make sure that the supplier is reputable and has a good track record.
Second, you need to make sure that they have the necessary experience and expertise.
Third, you should ensure that they are able to meet your specific needs and requirements.
Fourth, you should see if they are able to provide you with a competitive price. Finally, you need to ensure that they can produce high-quality products at an efficient rate.
For example, some of the key considerations when selecting a supplier are quality control measures in place and their ability to adapt to changes in demand. To put this another way, if a company’s success relies on being able to keep up with production rates, it will be easier for them to fulfill orders if they’re accustomed to adjusting according to supply and demand than if they’re not. The same thing goes for quality control, as companies without established procedures may not be as adept at preventing defective products from reaching customers.

Final Words

Flexible circuits are used in a variety of products, from hearing aids to sports-related items like fitness trackers and smartwatches. They allow you to connect electronics into your home, and even onto your body, giving you easy access to valuable data and features. However, with all this flexibility comes the need for greater care in assembly than typical PCBs require. The designer must know about flexible circuits and PCB assembly to ensure the end product works correctly and lasts as long as possible.
Would like to know more about Flexible Circuit assembly or pcb assembly services? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

How To Design A Signal Amplification PC Board

How To Design A Signal Amplification PC Board

Various kinds of circuit boards are essential for electronic devicesand the amplifier PCB is one of them. You need amplifiers to reproduce sounds, so the amplifier circuit board is vital for sound-generating devices, such as loudspeakers.

Understanding An Amplifier PCB

A PCB with an amplifier produces enhanced signals that input terminals require. Such a circuit board consists of electronic components to transfer signals. The components also increase the power of the amplifier by transferring signals through specific transistors. A substrate is an essential part of an amplifier circuit board like it’s a surface with components and it is composed of resin and fiberglass.

Though the amplifier is an independent component, it has several parts in it. An amplifier circuit board has many resistors and capacitors to perform various functions. Moreover, it has input and output terminals for both original and amplified signals.

Such a PCB can be small or large, depending on the device and its application. Generally, the headphones amplifiers are small, whereas the professional sound system has a large amplifier that singers and musicians often use. The size of a large amplifier Printed Circuit Board goes beyond 100 square inches.

The small amplifiers often depend on an external source for power supply whereas the battery-driven amplifiers are different.  Such PCBs are either power amplifiers or audio amplifiers.

How To Differentiate The Normal And Amplifier PCB

A normal PCB uses through-hole technology that helps drill holes and install PCB components. Surface mount technology is also another way of constructing a normal PCB.

On the other hand, the construction of an amplifier circuit board involves a schematic design. Certain design software helps place the components, whereasthe nature of the board determines its physical properties.

You need to consider the thermal and geometry factors while placing the components in an amplifier PCB. Likewise, in such a PCB, the power input and output work with respect to transistors’ resistance.

The amplifier circuit board has a better dielectric constant than a normal circuit board. But, the design of both kinds of PCBs needs a schematic diagram. You can also design a normal PCB manually like through Photomask.

How To Design A Signal Amplification PC Board
How To Design A Signal Amplification PC Board

What Are Heat Sinks In Amplifier PCB design?

There are heat sinks in the amplifier circuit boards which dissipate the heat caused during a PCB function. Engineers use aluminum to make heat sinks because it is highly conducive compared to other materials. Besides, aluminum resists corrosion and abrasion better than other metals.

The function of the heat sinks depends on two elements, including copper coins and thermovia.You need specific components to mount the heat sinks on the amplifier circuit board.Moreover, you also need solder pins and lock tabs during mounting. Heat sinks help a circuit board to manage its thermal propertywhich is the key element of the board.

Applications of Amplifier PCB

There are many applications of amplifier PCBs but their main function is to transform analog signals into digital ones.So, the amplification of the signals is the main thing in this case. Let’s see its applications one by one.

The amplifier PCB increases the amplitude signals, maintaining the frequency and several other elements.
This kind of PCB is able to transfer analog signals to square waves through the input saturation of a much high level.
The output resistance and voltage are also high in an amplifier PCB which helps it to produce enough output for the loudspeakers’ function.
It helps figure out the metal fatigue, ultrasonic cleaning, and ultrasound scanning.
The amplifier circuit board having a constant increase in the DC and AC is ideal for oscilloscope.
However, it has a low input resistance, and it works as a barrier between the circuitry and the receiver.Besides, it eliminates the signals it does not need.

Main Elements of An Amplifier Circuit Board

The board has certain characteristics as described below:

High Input Impedance: The high-input impedance is essential because it causes the voltage drop only on an amplifier, which is not possible in the low-input impedance. So, the amplifier PCBs need materials with a low-input impedance. You can eliminate the loading through a high-input impedance. The amplifier absorbs more current if its input impedance is low.

Enough Bandwidth: The bandwidth should be well-balanced in an amplifier circuit board to get compatible with the frequency being amplified. There will be no signal frequency if the bandwidth is narrow. Likewise, the wider bandwidth causes a lot of noise, so the bandwidth has to be undercontrol.

Increased Open Loop Signals: The amplifier increases signals’ power that you can evaluate between the input and output channels when the circuit board gets no feedback. The board might get feedback when the open-loop gains are high.

Stability of An Amplifier

You have to consider the amplifier’s stability while designing it. Signal distortions often happen when the amplifier is not stable. Many instabilities happen in the function of an amplifier PCB which can be controlled by considering certain factors while making its layout. By considering these factors, you can eliminate the board- spin failure, power strength, and signal integrity issues during its function.

The amplifier gets unstable if there are changes in the input signals. Some common issues with the amplifier stability are as below.

Ringing issues

In this case, the output can create a damped oscillation, reaching a stable output. It might involve undershooting and overshooting the output.

Oscillation Issues

It happens because of the load input and the impedance of the amplifier output. Such an issue affects the transfer ability of the amplifier by creating a pole.

Various Parasitic Feedbacks

It involves parasitic coupling which causes negative or positive feedback to the input terminal. This is a very unstable behavior of an amplifier that you can identify through an on-amp circuit.

Why Is Amplifier Stability Important?

When it comes to the RF systems, the amplifier stability becomes evident, like in telecom systems that involve the RF frequencies. Such systems useRF power amplifiers having high-signal power and frequencies, so you have to be careful while placing them in the signal chain.

When the layout has errors due to unnecessary parasitics, the output signals would become unstable. So, you must test the RF power to check the unstable behavior of the amplifier circuit board. Such management ensures that the RF system will function correctly.

Types of Amplifier PCBs

The amplifier PCBs have different categories, depending on their nature. In general, the number of power and audio amplifier circuit board designs is above 108. Engineers also classify them as A, B,C, and going up to G.

Group AAmplifier

You will see the gain and high linearity in this amplifier PCB layout. Besides, it has a 360-degree conduction angle. It remains functional during the entire signal’s input. Moreover, it includes an always-ON transistor.

Group B Amplifier

It involves two active devices and users can bias the amplifiers step-wise during the positive and negative cycles of the signals.

Group AB Amplifier

You can have the AB amplifier to eliminate the cross-over distortion of the signals.

Group C Amplifier

It is also known as a tuned amplifier that works through two modes, such as turned and unturned mode. Such a layout’s conduction angle is lower than 180 degrees and it is 60 to 70 percent effective.

Group D Amplifier

Such a layout involves the Pulse Width that changes its input signals.However, there is no role of conduction angle in this case. Besides, it does not need a linear gain.

Group E Amplifier

It is the most effective power amplifier that involves switching topology and radio frequencies as well.

Group F Amplifier

Such an amplifier comes up with high impedance like in harmonics. It includes the square and sine waves.

Group G Amplifier

It enhances a circuit board’s function using less power. Such amplifiers depend on the systems known as rail switching.


What Is An Amplifier Circuit Board?

The construction of an amplifier circuit board involves a schematic design. You need to consider the thermal and geometry factors while placing the components in an amplifier PCB. Besides, the power input and output work with respect to transistors’ resistance.

What Is A Normal PCB?

A normal PCB uses through-hole technology that helps drill holes and install PCB components. Whereas surface mount technology is also another way of constructing a normal PCB.

What Are Heat Sinks In An Amplifier PCB?

Heat sinks in an amplifier PCB dissipate the heat caused during a PCB function. The function of the heat sinks depends on two elements, including copper coins and thermovia. You need specific components to mount the heat sinks on the amplifier circuit board.


The amplifier PCB has many uses as discussed above. You have to consider several factors while designing it. You can get the desired layout by controlling certain issues while creating the layout of an amplifier circuit board. You should also plan the type of amplifier PCB your device requires.

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