Single-Layer vs Multilayer Printed Circuit Boards: Who Wins the Ultimate Battle?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: February 14, 2022
multilayer-printed-circuit-boards

When it comes to choosing the right PCB for your project the one question that you need to deal with at the outset includes whether to go for a single-layer or multilayer printed circuit boards. How do you decide whether your project require single-layer or multilayer printed circuit boards? To be able to answer this question, it is important to get into a detailed understanding of both.

Single-layer or single sided PCBs

A single-sided board, as its name suggests has the components on one side of the board and the conductor pattern on the other. Typically, such boards are used for simpler devices.

Single-Layer PCB Advantages

The many advantages that single-layer printed circuit boards offer, include:

  • Low Cost
    The simpler nature of these boards translates into the fact that they need fewer resources, less time as also lesser expertise to design as well as fabricate the boards. All of this translates into low costs of single-sided boards rendering your project, efficient.
  • Easy to design and produce
    Because of their simplicity, it is easy to design these boards as also for manufacturers to produce them without any issues. Additionally, it is easy for manufacturers to cater to high volumes. In fact, with rising quantities, the price of the board will be even lower, making the boards even more efficient.
  • Quick turnaround times
    Once again the simplicity of the boards lend themselves to quick turnaround times even at high volumes. This can prove to be a significant source of competitive advantage as your go-to-market plan can be expedited.

Despite the many advantages that they offer, single-layer PCBs also run into several limitations, important among them being:

  • Limitations of design
    While the simplicity of their design is an advantage in several terms, it can also turn out to be their limitation. For complex devices where there are many components, the space offered by a single-layer printed circuit board does not prove to be enough.
  • Power and Speed
    With limited number of connections, the power and speed of the board is significantly impacted. This makes single-sided PCBs not too usable when it comes to complex devices where power and speed is of essence.

Single-Layer PCB Applications

Because of their low cost and ease of production, single-layer PCBs find a place in several devices were storing of a large amount of data is not a prerequisite. Some of the devices where single-layer PCBs find wide-spread application include:

  • Radios
  • Printers
  • LED lights
  • Calculators
  • Coffee makers
  • Sensors, and more

Multilayer Printed Circuit Boards

Multilayer PCBs are made up of three or more double-sided boards stacked together. With multiple conductors patterns the area available for wiring significantly increases. Typically, an even number of layers are preferred as odd number of layers can lead to issues such as warping and twisting once the soldering process is done.

Multilayer PCB Advantages

The many advantages that multilayer PCBs offer, include:

  • Useful for complex designs
    Complex devices that have a high number of components and circuits benefit from the use of multilayer PCB. Devices with several uses as well as advanced capabilities need this kind of complexity. With the miniaturization of devices becoming a growing trend, the use cases of multilayered PCBs are only rising. Many of the multilayered boards also come with features such as impedance control and electromagnetic interference shielding, further improving the quality of the board and of the device.
  • High on Power
    Because of their high circuit density, the boards are also more powerful. What this means is that they offer high operating capacity as well as speed, making them especially useful for advanced devices.
  • Highly Durable
    With an increased number of layers, the thicker board is also more durable. It is far more capable, therefore, of withstanding harsher conditions.
  • Size
    Small size and lightweight are added features of a multilayer board. This makes them ideal for the miniaturization of devices.
  • Single connection point
    The fact that they work with a single connection point is an added advantage in terms of simplicity of design and weight.

Limitations of Multilayer PCBs

Despite the many advantages that multilayer boards offer, the limitations that they present include:

  • Increased manufacturing costs
    As opposed to single-layer PCBs they come with a higher manufacturing cost.
  • Potentially longer manufacturing time
    Because of the complexity of design and high component density, typically they come with a longer Manufacturing time.
  • More complex repairs
    In terms of repairs too, the process is more complex as well as time consuming.

Common applications of Multilayer PCBs include:

  • Computer components
  • Mobile phones
  • GPS devices
  • Heart monitors
  • X ray equipment
  • GPS technology
  • Automotive industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Military applications, and more.

Single-Layer vs Multilayer PCBs, who wins the ultimate battle?

The answer to that lies in your requirements. It is the project that will determine the type of board that works well. To come to the right conclusion on what kind of board will work well for you, you need to consider the following aspects:

  • The level of functionality required- More complex functions require multi layered boards.
  • The acceptable size- If your requirement is that of a smaller space, multilayer boards are likely to work better.
  • The need for durability- Typically multilayer PCBs are more durable.
  • Your budget- If your budgets are low, single-layer PCBs are likely to make a better fit.
  • Timelines- Single-layer boards have faster turnaround times.

So go ahead and make the right choice!

At Technotronix, our highly qualified and experienced multilayer PCB manufacturer ensure that all the layers are correctly registered. Adhering to high quality multilayer PCB manufacturing practices, we are equipped to handle complex boards with up to 24 layers, which are laminated to insulate them. Whether it is sticking to the product specifications or stringent quality controls, there is no stone that we leave unturned in our quest to deliver the best.

Get a Quick PCB Fabrication Quote

The Essential Guide on PCB Fabrication Techniques!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 8, 2022
PCB Fabrication Techniques

Before delving into the PCB Fabrication techniques, it will be worthwhile to understand what exactly PCB Fabrication means. Simply put, PCB Fabrication refers to the process that transforms a PCB board design into a physical structure. This structure, of course, is built on the exact specifications provided in the design package. If you are a designer, an overview of PCB Fabrication Techniques can go a long way in helping you design the PCB in a manner that manufacturability is not compromised.

Here are the techniques involved in the process of PCB Fabrication:

Imaging

This is the stage where your digital PCB design translates into the physical board. Here are the steps involved in the process:

  • The image of the PCB layout and design
  • The board is coated with liquid photoresist.
  • While the exposed areas of the photoresist harden the remaining is removed.

PCB Etching

This process essentially involves removing the excess metal from the PCB by way of an industrial solvent. Popular etching chemicals include:

  • Ferric Chloride
  • Cupric Chloride
  • Alkaline Ammonia
  • Ammonium persulfate

PCB Lamination

More often than not, a PCB comprises of multiple layers of copper which are interspersed with non-conductive substrate. In the process of PCB lamination, heat and pressure are applied to the various layers.

Machining

Machining takes place a number of times in the PCB manufacturing process, largely at the following stages:

  • Through-holes and vias: Stacking multiple boards together, securing them in place and drilling through holes, can go a long way in saving time and money. Ideally the non-plated holes are drilled after the photoresist is applied.
  • Panelization: The process of panelization ensures that multiple boards can be fabricated and tested in one go. V Scores or breakaways can facilitate removal of the board once the process of manufacturing gets over.

When it comes to manufacturability of the boards there are a number of factors that need to be kept into account. Some of these include:

  • Thickness of the PCB
  • Choice of material
  • Type of drilling

Plating

Depending on the environment in which the PCB has to function, there can be a wide variety of plating that can be done. Some of the common plating techniques include:

  • Electrolytic Plating: This kind of plating works well for high volume projects. A concentrated solution of the plating metal is used to dip the boards. A process of electrolysis follows that plates the exposed metal surfaces.
  • Electroless Plating: As the name suggests, this does not involve the use of electric current. Instead self-reducing agents are used. The big advantage that this offers is that the coating turns out to be uniform and anomalies are minimized
  • Dry Plating: Also referred to as Plasma Plating, this works well for fine line circuit plating. This involves the use of an inert gas. The metal particles from a charged target is removed and re-deposited on the target under a vacuum.

The importance of understanding the PCB Fabrication Process

It is imperative to understand the PCB Fabrication process to be able to make a tangible difference to the following areas:

PCB Manufacturability

A comprehensive understanding of the above processes can go a long way for PCB designers as minimum manufacturability issues are faced. The designers are also sensitized to the impact that aspects such as:

  • Line width
  • Spacing
  • Number of holes etc., on the cost of the PCB.

The added advantage is that designing the board with these aspects in mind leads to ensuring that there are no costly errors at a later date which call for resigns and delay your project. In a milieu where quick go-to-market is a major source of competitive advantage, these delays can prove to be quite detrimental.

Reliability & Yield Rate

Inaccurate fabrication of boards can have a major impact on the yield rate of the board, so you may land up with many unusable boards. Also for your board to meet the classification standards it needs to meet some specified levels of reliability. If the board does not meet the classification standards, it could result in premature board failure.

Clearly then, the design choices made, have a far-reaching impact on all the subsequent stages of the PCB. Incorporating knowledge of PCB Fabrication at the design stage, can go a long way in improving the manufacturability and hence the efficiency of the PCB.

Technotronix can adopt advanced methods of PCB fabrication, which can give you the finest PCB fabrication services in the world. The PCB fab services from our experts will take it to the next level by accepting every type of latest technologies. They understand every needs of the clients and offer smart & multi-layer PCBs.

Get a quick PCB Fabrication quote!

Top trends and techniques for sequential lamination PCB

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 8, 2022
sequential-lamination-pcb

The trend of utilizing electronic products is the motivation to produce more technical creations. As the ages become advanced, electronic innovation also gets smarter with time. From households to rockets technology in every possible field, electronic devices are spreading their demands.

And as the demand graph is getting peak, competition in the market is getting neck to neck. Any traditional mass production cannot be enough to beat the opponent. Highly skillful, advanced-level service only has to provide room for your company in this market.

This is not an easy operation to become outstanding in the market. From material selection to design in every aspect, you have to put extra care to make it unique from the market. Great quality of PCB manufacturing techniques is the heart of your best PCB Assembly foundation.

What is sequential lamination PCB?

Production fabrication is the process of rearranging a circuit board to a bodily configuration of PCB based on how the client demand. Sequential lamination is one of the steps of technical lamination.

Sequential is the method of adding a copper or some specific metal layer. For the best results, every PCB board is going through a minimum of two lamination processes or more than that.

Traditional circuit board sequential lamination

Nowadays, multilayer PCB used most of the time. This type of board is tinier in size. The component also used in the time of manufacturing concise the density of the product. In a simple word, multiple layers of circuit boards make Assembly manageable to use flexibly.

Simultaneously, PCB’s stuck-up design is a single-layer circuit board that needed some convenient fabrication. By knowing the manufacturing competence well, it will be easy to do that.

Sequential lamination is a common step in the PCB fabrication process. The process is described below –

Sequential lamination’s success rate in multiple-layer boards is very high. Especially in high-density electronic technology, it is more fruitful. Here it’s the main function to maintain high signal messages like communication.

Some challenges sequential lamination has to face

The whole process of lamination is not that easy, and it seems it has to phase multiple challenges in its procedure. Like –

Limitations in the number of cycles

As said previously, for the favorable results of lamination, more than two cycling required. But that doesn’t mean it accomplished in whatever times you want. Cycling has to be restricted two-four times to prevent defect to the Assembly.

Aspect ratio

For the drill holes equipment, other factors that have to be concerned with are the aspect ratios. Aspects ratio is the measurement of depth in the aspect of the diameter of the drill hole.

Based on what type of equipment is used in bore vias to like – beams drill or drill press, the ratio is varied, and according to it, the calculations are done. The aspect ratio limited the layer used in multiple layers circuits for different calculations.

Drill hole alignment in case of Gerber file

Gerber is a 2D file commonly used in PCB designing. Designers like the Gerber file because of its generating power of software in PCB Circuit.

But there are some problems during the Gerber file’s lamination, as there is a huge chance of mistake in the fabrication of the circuit board. That causes misalignment of the circuit. This type of error increases the overall cost of the circuit and the time of reversal.

Cost

Sequential lamination is a spontaneous building process that requires several days to build the desired board. So, the more time it consumes to develop the circuit, the more expenses gradually increase with it.

Despite all these limitations, it is one of the best processes of fabrication in PCB circuit boards. It is very useful because it minimizes the circuit’s layer and can maintain the temperature with environmental changes. Not only that, it reduces the weight of the copper layer. Sequential lamination cut down the need for buried vias or blind via which is also one of the plus points of this lamination.

So, if it is possible to neglect the shortcomings of this lamination, it will be a blessing to the technology of PCB.

Trends for sequential lamination:

  • Number of layers reduce in a noticeable extent by using sequential lamination.
  • Make the PCB so that it can handle easily.
  • The structure of the board gets simplified.

Technique for sequential Lamination PCB:

The above mentioned are some weaknesses of lamination techniques. Now in this passage, we discussed the technique we have to use for the best results of sequential lamination.

  • The cause of all this deformity is the many layers used in PCB. Big numbers of layers reduce the potential of the PCB. So, if the number of layers used is decreased, it will be a fair solution to the problems.
  • To minimize the number of layers, some embedded elements can be put in to layers. By this method, apart from the top and bottom layers, only a few layers are required.
  • Proper alignment of the components used in the board, which is connected by each. Passive components need to use more in number to delete the drawback. And the active components are used to try to embed them in between layers of the circuit.
  • Another solution is using a 3D device instead of 2D. The more advanced technology of 3D helps to cope with the consequences of lamination.
  • Turnkey PCB assembly is an incredible remedy to all problems. Turnkey PCB Assembly will handle every problem by its organized management.
  • From manufacturing, maintaining, stoking to delivering every aspect are rectified by Turnkey’s advanced technology. And Turnkey PCB is also very reliable and safe. You can trust on its work efficiency.

Conclusion
The commitment of the sequential lamination is very straightforward. It furnishes PCB multiple-layer stack up, which gives security to your precious documents. PCB Lamination techniques will be a good option for circuit designing. So, if you want an up-to-date, ready to use, modern PCB assembly circuit, definitely go for sequential Lamination PCB.

At Technotronix, we have over 4 decades of experience in PCB fabrication. You can rely on our PCB design and fabrication process that, in turn, lead to that perfect PCB fabrication. An improper design can lead to a wide variety of issues such as imbalance. We provide you products at an affordable price, including testing services. If you require any kind of printed circuit board fabrication, conformal coating, NPI, circuit board prototype services, you can drop an email to sales@technotronix.us or give us a call at 714/630-9200.

Get a Quick Quote PCB Fabrication!

What’s the difference between Rigid PCB and Flexible PCB?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 8, 2022
rigid-flexible-pcb

Printed Circuit Board (PCB) forms the core of many electronic devices today. The strength and durability of these devices depend on how strong the PCB is. One can also custom-tailor their PCBs based on the specifications. We have numerous types of PCBs based on their uses and construction like single-layer PCB, double-layer PCB, and multilayer PCB. The other two most commonly used PCBs are rigid and flex PCBs.

In this article, we tell you what are the differences between Rigid and Flex PCBs.

Rigid PCB vs Flexible PCB

As the name itself conveys, rigid PCBs are inflexible while flex PCBs can be bent and shaped to fit on the system in any way.

Flexible PCBs consist of a thin insulating polymer film with conductive circuit patterns and a thin polymer coating for protecting the conductor circuits. Flex PCBs have been used in the manufacture of many advanced electronic products. If designed correctly, flex PCBs are not only versatile but also record no failures. They are of great use in limited space requirements like medical devices, aerospace appliances, automotive applications, and consumer electronics.

Rigid PCBs are also popular owing to their lower cost. In consumer electronics where there is a large space availability, you can use rigid circuit boards. You can rely on the following tenets to understand the differences between rigid PCB and flex PCB.

Design

Rigid PCBs are used in some consumer electronics like desktops, laptops, music keyboards, toys, TVs, etc. If you need more sophisticated designs or meet high-performance standards, your choice should be flex PCBs. Flexible printed circuit boards are also used in low-technology applications like LED lighting and also in bendable applications like kitchen cabinets. Whichever you are using, ensure you are maximizing design and avoid any layout flaws.

Baselayer

The base layer of a PCB tends to be rigid and this contains glass reinforcement. The material used is FR4 that gives excellent stability, mechanical strength, thermal resistance. But the ability to bend is minimal. Flexible circuit base materials are made of polyamide that has excellent flexibility properties but does not have the same mechanical properties as that of rigid PCB materials like FR4.

Copper Layer

Electro Deposited (ED) and Rolled Annealed (RA) are the two types of the copper film. RA is flexible than ED and hence used in flex PCBs. ED is mostly used in rigid PCBs. Of course, it does have certain flexible properties. You can also go for high ductility electro deposited copper used in flex PCBs which is equivalent to RA.

Adhesive Layer

A rigid PCB doesn’t bend and hence the adhesive layer requirements are limited to thermal and chemical properties. The flex PCBs on the other hand has additional requirements that allow bending. The adhesive that is used on rigid board would crack in a flex application. Hence you need to go for something that has stretching properties. For this, make sure to go for an adhesive that has different thermal, mechanical, and chemical properties than the ones used in rigid boards.

Durability

Any electronic device demands high durable designs. Flexible PCBs are more durable because of the low weight of the board. This also reduces the risk of damage caused by high vibrations. Flex PCBs are built using polyamide that makes them well-suitable for extreme heat conditions. If you want your electronic products to bend without any breaking, flexible PCBs are your go-to solutions.

Bend Ratio

Across the route corners of a PCB, electromagnetic interference (EMI) is a possibility and cannot be ignored. You may see it being generated at right angles. If you have chosen a rigid PCB substrate, make sure to have soft corners instead of sharper corners that are often seen in rigid PCBs.

Bend Ratio is the ratio of the thickness of a flex PCB vs the bend radius. If you have chosen a flex PCB, you should think of the bend ratio. Going below the bend ratio results in mechanical failure.

Flex circuit overlay

The manufacturing process of both rigid and flex PCBs is the same. The drilling and plating of holes and vias, photo imaging, etching of copper traces, outlines, and planes, the heating of PCBs for removing moisture are all same. Post this step, rigid PCBs move to the solder mask station and flex circuits go to the circuit overlay station. The difference between circuit overlay and rigid PCB’s solder mask is that the circuit overlay film is flexible.

The film is made of polyimide film coated with a thermoset adhesive that is laminated using pressure and heat for easy flow and to fill in the gaps between pads and traces. This helps in preventing the trapping of air between layers. The adhesive oozes called adhesive squeeze out. Once you finish the lamination process, any component or features cannot be used anymore.

Budget

Usually, rigid printed circuit boards are less costly than flexible PCBs. The rigid circuit boards reduce the weight and size of your design. But that doesn’t mean flex PCBs are too expensive. You can see what you can eliminate in the flex board design to reduce the cost. You can get rid of unnecessary connectors, wire harnesses, etc. So, if you consider this, you may find even the flex PCBs as cost-effective.

Similarities

  • Flex PCBs and rigid PCBs are similar in certain aspects.
  • End-goal remains the same – connecting components
  • Design Standards are similar in terms of hole size and thickness
  • Identical manufacturing process

Wind up

Rigid and flex PCBs find their use in different products like rigid PCBs find their way in larger products like TVs, desktops, etc. while flex PCBs are more for compact products like smartphones, and wearable technology. You can choose either of them considering your application’s demands, industry preferences, and impact.

Whether you choose rigid PCB or flex PCB, make sure to follow the rigorous inspection and testing processes to make sure there are no design flaws. Evaluate the PCB types and plan your project milestones. There are manual and automated inspection methods that ease the process of inspection. Make sure you have a fully functional PCB irrespective of what type of PCB you choose.

You can also choose the right Rigid flex PCB manufacturer who can review the PCB layout designs. Check out how Technotronix has been leading the way for over 4 decades in both rigid as well as flex PCBs across multiple industries.