How do plated through holes improve the performance of PCBs?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 28, 2023
PCB Plated Through Hole

When it comes to PCB board design, the use of through hole technology is extremely important. With multi board layers, these holes ensure connection between components and conductors. In turn, through hole may be plated or non-plated.

As their name suggests, plated through holes come with a metal coating inside. They are highly in use where electrical connections cannot be compromised and need to have a high degree of reliability. Some applications where plated through holes find application include connectors, switches and ICs.

Non-plated through holes on the other hand, do not have a metal coating on the inside. In such cases the electrical reliability isn’t as high as that of plated through holes. Non plated through holes are known to work well for passive components such as capacitors and resistors.

Improved performance with plated through holes

The big advantages that plated through holes offer, include:

  • They enable the flow of current via the PCB’s non-conductive substrate. Hence the current can flow through the components on the other side of the board.
  • The added advantage that plated through holes offer is that the hold the components firmly.
  • They also ensure that space available is maximized. In fact, plated through holes allow for vertically stacking the custom printed circuit boards. They therefore lend themselves to high component density & hence to miniaturization.
  • They offer high amount of electrical conductivity.
  • They lend themselves to quicker prototyping as it is easy to solder components on the circuit board.
  • They ensure higher power tolerances as well as durability of components.

By contrast, a non-plated through hole, since it doesn’t have conductive plating, does not allow the flow of current through it. It is, however, the design specification of the board that determines whether a plated or a non-plated through hole will be used. If a plated through hole is put in a scenario where a non-plated one should have been put, it will lead to the charge spreading as also weakening of charge. This could even lead to situations such as a short circuit.

It is therefore important to choose the right PCB contract manufacturer as issues related to plated through holes can impact the functionality of the board. An experienced PCB contract manufacturer will be able to offer right solutions. Some of the problems & likely solutions include:

  • Blistering & lamination – This occurs on account of poor joint adhesion and can be avoided by maintaining cleanliness. Choosing a conformal coating that is less permeable is also an important solution.
  • Roughening of the copper surface – This could lead to blistering. The solution to this lies in checking the humidity in the micro etching machine.
  • Insufficient Copper – This leads to plating voids. It therefore needs to be ensured that the quantity of copper is sufficient.
  • Long storage times – It is imperative that the boards aren’t stored for long after PTH. It fact after PTH the boards should ideally be finished within 8 hours.
  • Plugholes – It is important that the plugholes be done right so that the circuit is not damaged. Aspects to be taken care of include checking the filtering system as also ensuring that there is no panel copper residue or any foreign material on the panel.

To sum up

Plated through holes find extensive application when it comes to multi-layer PCBs. In addition, they are useful in applications where strength of physical connections is key. It is therefore common to witness the use of PTH in aerospace and military applications where durability is a key factor. Plated Through holes also work well for prototyping & testing & therefore goes a long way in ensuring the success of your project.

Non plated through hole (NPTH), on the other hand, works well when it comes to single layer boards.

It is important to make the choice of the right PCB contract manufacturer who is experienced and can ensure that the common issues related to PTH are avoided & the functionality of the board is not compromised. It is important to remember that the design of PTH PCB needs a lot of skill and dexterity. The choice of the right partner can therefore make all the difference.

At Technotronix, we offer comprehensive PCB manufacturing services that come with specialized assistance, dependable testing, and versatile capabilities. If you have any inquiries, do not hesitate to get in touch with us through email at or by calling 714/630-9200. We are always happy to help.

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Is ITAR compliance required for printed circuit boards manufacturing?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 26, 2023
ITAR PCB Manufacturing

ITAR compliance refers to a regulatory system aimed at controlling the export of military and defense technology. The US Government, therefore, requires all manufacturers and exporters of defense articles to be compliant with ITAR or International Traffic in Arms Regulation. In turn this means a number of companies need to have their supply chains to be ITAR complaint based on the use the end product is being put to. If the product is included in the United States Munitions List, ITAR compliance is required.

It was in 2008 that these contractual limitations were reinforced on federal contractors. Since then, it is imperative that not just companies that provide goods to defense agencies, but also suppliers and other related parties abide by international trade laws such as ITAR

When is ITAR compliance required for PCB?

PCBs fall under Item 14 – Category II of the United States Munitions List. In manufacturing ITAR-compliant printed circuit boards, you need to ensure that access to any unauthorized source is prevented.

Under the following scenarios ITAR Compliance is mandatory:

  • If the product that you are creating with the PCB is in the United States Munitions List.
  • If the PCB is to be used with an item which is on the USML.
  • If you are a buyer, whole seller or exporter of an item that is in the USML.

Some of the additional questions to answer for yourself to determine whether or not you need to be ITAR compliant, include:

  • Is your client a defense contractor?
  • Will the product be used in military or aerospace operations?
  • Is your design or a part thereof, classified?
  • Is your product going to be exported?
  • Is the product listed on USML?

You must include your ITAR compliance in POs, contracts, and information requests. It is also important to remember that since ITAR regulation falls under the Directorate of Defense Trade controls, you need to be registered with DDTC.

How does ITAR compliance affect PCB?

With an ITAR compliance, it is made sure that the technical data for building the printed circuit board is restricted & that it cannot be shared with anyone from any other country. The information & material related to defense & military related technologies can only be shared with US organizations or people unless there is an authorization from the department of State or a special exemption.

The data typically includes the following:

  • Technical Drawing
  • Artwork
  • CNC Data
  • Netlist Information
  • Manufacturing Specification
  • ODB++ data

It is also important to remember that ITAR compliance is restricted not only to PCB manufacturing but also extends to PCB Assemblers. Essentially with an ITAR compliance, you make it clear that that you are aware of the law regarding the manufacture & distribution of PCB & agree to abide by it. With an ITAR certification you can sell your product as well as export it.

How to maintain ITAR compliance?

To maintain ITAR compliance, it is imperative that access to information given by the client is protected. Similarly, the electronic product should not be accessible for evaluation by any unauthorized party.

Importance of ITAR PCB Manufacturing in PCB Industry

To sum up, since PCBs find use in military application, aircraft, spacecrafts and more, an ITAR compliance becomes necessary. It ensures that you work within the law of the land. Additionally, it also makes sure that you protect your Intellectual Property.

To put it succinctly, the compliance of ITAR is needed for the following reasons:

1. Being on the right side of law

You are bound by law to comply. If you produce PCBs without compliance, you face the risk of extremely harsh consequences. In fact, it could even mean shutting down your business while the government investigates the violations. Needless to say, it can severely impact your business and the reputation you have built.

2. Security information

By ensuring compliance you protect your intellectual property and therefore have no fear as the capabilities clearly belong to you.

3. Peace of mind

That it offers complete peace of mind is a given. Being on the right side of the law you can focus on the core area of your business with peace.

Overall, ITAR compliance is necessary to work within the law and protect intellectual property in the PCB industry. At Technotronix, we have over 4 decades of experience in providing PCB industrial solutions. With over four decades of experience in delivering high-quality, on-time, competitive price products, you can bank on us for your PCB requirements.

For any kind of requirements, feel free to contact us or drop an email to us at or call us on 714/630-9200.

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Aluminum PCB Boards: A complete guide to understand its properties and applications!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 25, 2023
Aluminum PCB Board

Speak of aluminum PCB board and you are sure to speak of their electrical performance as also their thermal dissipation as well as their high dielectric strength. In use since the 1970s, they have in the recent years seen wide spread application.

These PCBs particularly come in extremely handy where high power and tight tolerances are required. The three major layers of an aluminum PCB board include:

  • Circuit Layer – This essentially consists of a copper foil that could vary in weight from 1 to 10 ounce.
  • Thermal Insulation Layer – This is made up of ceramic polymer. The layer is extremely important as it offers both thermal resistance as well as protects the board from mechanical stress.
  • Base Layer – This is made up of aluminum alloy substrate & find wide use where through-hole technology is used.

Classification of Aluminum PCBs

Typically, Aluminum PCB board can be classified into 3 types basis the composition of the dielectric layer. These are:

  • Universal Aluminum PCB – In such PCBs the dielectric layer is composed of epoxy glass fiber prepreg.
  • High Thermal-Conductive Aluminum PCB – Here the dielectric layer is composed of epoxy resin.
  • High-Frequency and Microwave Aluminum PCB – Here the dielectric layer is composed of either polyolefin resin or polyimide resin glass fiber prepreg.

Aluminum PCB boards can also be classified basis their application into:

Flexible Aluminum PCB

With miniaturization becoming increasingly prevalent, the need for flexible PCBs is only growing. Aluminum being naturally flexible, such PCBs are being increasingly used as they can fit smaller spaces.

Hybrid Aluminum PCB

Such PCBs use a combination of different materials for enhanced performance. For example, aluminum added to a FR-4 PCB result in improved heat dissipation abilities.

Through-Hole Aluminum PCB

Aluminum being a good conductor of electricity, it is important that the through-hole aluminum laminates be filled with a dielectric material so that the aluminum layer is isolated. Post filling of the dielectric material, aluminum is stacked & cured. The PCB is next electroplated with a conducting material.

Multi-Layer Aluminum PCB

In such PCBs multiple insulating layers are used. In fact, there can be more than one layer of aluminum as the core. The different layers are then connected through vias.

Properties of Aluminum PCB Board

  • The most important property on account of which Aluminum PCBs find wide spread application is their ability to dissipate heat quickly.
  • The advantage with Aluminum PCBs is also that there is minimal expansion & contraction of components on the board surface.
  • They are also known for their dimensional stability. In fact, when heated upto 150 degrees Celsius they only show a 2.5%-3% change in dimensions.
  • It is also known for its light-weight, strength, and mechanical endurance.
  • Aluminum is known for its durability. With its use the risks of accidental breakage are greatly reduced.
  • It is environment friendly as it is non-toxic as well as recyclable.
  • With aluminum being easy to mine & refine, it is known to be economical.

Application of Aluminum PCB Board

The use of aluminum PCBs is becoming quite ubiquitous on account of their properties. Some of the areas where they find application include:

  • Power transmission systems
  • Power converters
  • Different kinds of lighting
  • Tail light assemblies
  • Scanners
  • Signal beacons
  • Amplifiers & other audio equipment
  • Computer Elements, and more.

To sum up

Aluminum PCB boards are widely in use on account of the fact that they withstand stress, have a high coefficient of thermal expansion, and more. Increasingly with the demand for high current handling, the use of aluminum PCBs is only growing. Coupled with edge plating & surface finishes aluminum PCBs are also known to work well in tough environmental conditions.

While there are various types of aluminum PCBs that come with their distinct advantages, it is important to go with a trusted electronics contract manufacturer whose expertise can improve the performance of PCBs. For example, an experienced manufacturer can make sure that if you need controlled impedance, modeling is undertaken. Similarly, tailoring signal reflections can go a long way in improving signal integrity. Manufacturer experience will also ensure that thorough Design Rule Checks are undertaken for designing such PCBs so that the manufacturing process is optimized.

If you have any questions or any requirements related to PCB manufacturing service, please feel free to contact us via email at or call 714/630-9200.

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Understanding the PCB Burn-in Testing Process in PCB Manufacturing!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: April 14, 2023
PCB Burn-in Testing

Given the crucial role that printed circuit boards play in the working of appliances, many of them mission-critical, robust testing of PCBs is a key pre-requisite. One such testing method is the PCB burn-in testing also known as stress test, that checks for potential defects early as also helps establish load capacity. The objective of this test is to identify & replace any failed components, early.

In common parlance, burn-in testing detects “infant mortality” or early failure under load. It is thus an integral testing mechanism that helps test load capacity. It also assesses product performance under real world conditions. Its importance particularly in industries such as military, medical, aerospace and more, cannot be overstated.

Broadly burn-in testing involves running the products at elevated voltage and temperature levels as also under power cycling conditions. It could involve:

  • An operating electrical cycle over a time period of 48-168 hours.
  • Thermal cycle with temperatures of 125 degree Celsius for 160 hours.
  • Environmental stress screening.

With Burn-in testing you can:

  • Detect potential failures. The testing therefore plays a huge role in ensuring product reliability.
  • Find out the time to failure. Essentially the testing helps you determine how long a component will last.
  • Measure the mean time between failures.
  • It helps identify defects including but not limited to metallization failures, dielectric failures, conductor failures and electro migration.
  • With manufacturers being able to reduce their returns having found the defects early, it goes a long way in saving time, money & effort.
  • It reduces the huge cost associated with post-production failures including the cost involved with the loss of reputation.

How is Burn-in Testing done?

While the advantages of burn-in testing are immense, how exactly is it done? Essentially, burn-in testing involves operating the product under extremes of temperature & high voltage range for several days so as to detect any defects. During the process, the PCB undergoes electrical as well as thermal testing. Firstly, electric current is passed through the board from between 40-160 hours. The boards are also exposed to temperatures of upto 125 degrees Celsius for 160 hours or longer.

The board that is used for the burn-in test is made out of FR4 flame retardant material. However, when the temperature of the board exceeds 125 degrees Celsius, boards made of ceramic & polyamide are used.

An important aspect to note is that if the board is put to more stress than it is designed to withstand, it can reduce the longevity of the board. Therefore, while it is important to adequately check the board, in case few or no flaws are discovered the test limit can be lowered.

Types of PCB Burn-In testing

The two types of burn-in tests include:

  • Static Burn-in Testing – In such testing the PCB is not in operational mode when it is subjected to high voltage & temperature. This, thus, is a simpler procedure.
  • Dynamic Testing – In this testing the PCB is subject to high voltage & temperature while it is in operational mode. This is largely used for complex PCBs.

As a thumb rule, burn-in is best done at the component level. This is because at that level the cost of testing as well as replacing parts is the lowest. With different components having different limits, it is difficult to conduct burn-in for the board or assembly. This is not to say that it cannot be done, as it helps bring to light issues such as dry solder joints as well as issues with contact.

To sum up

To have the printed circuit board fail a burn-in test is to avoid costly errors at a later date. Especially for mission critical products where you cannot afford to have any failure rate, the importance of a burn-in test cannot be overstated. You sure want to go with a manufacturer who follows the highest protocols when manufacturing the board and also the most stringent measures while testing it. It is important however for the electronic contract manufacturer to follow the specified parameters in the testing as you do not want to subject the electronics to more stress than they are rated for and reduce their lifespan.

Technotronix is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company who provides comprehensive PCB manufacturing services, including specialized support, testing, and multi-functional features. Our commitment to consistent quality and rapid turnaround times makes us a go-to choice for customers seeking a one-stop-shop for all their PCB requirements.

If you have any requirements regarding our PCB manufacturing or need urgent assistance, contact us at or call us on 714/630-9200.

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