How to Select the Right Materials for your PCB Manufacturing Project?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: September 18, 2020

When you are manufacturing something as critical as a Printed Circuit Board that can determine the success or failure of a product, it goes without saying that the choice of material for the PCB is crucial. The material needs to conform to quality standards while also being available at optimal costs. Here are some factors to be considered in choosing the material:

Glass Transition Temperature (Tg)

Glass transition temperature, simply put, is the temperature at which the base material shifts from a glassy, solid, rigid state to a rubbery state.

If the PCB’s operating temperature exceeds its Tg for a prolonged period of time, the PCB will change from glassy state to rubbery state. This in turn will affect its performance.

It is, therefore, crucial to determine the temperature to which the PCB will be exposed, to be able to select the right materials with appropriate Glass Transition Temperature

Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE)

The different materials that PCBs are made up of have different coefficients of thermal expansion. With temperature rising, it leads to expansion of material and can result in mechanical stress that can result in micro cracks that can go unnoticed and can even lead to failure of the final product. It is important therefore to choose substrate material with low Co-efficient of Thermal Expansion.

Electrical Performance

Another aspect to consider is the electrical performance. It is advised to go with PCB Material that has high dielectric constant and low dielectric loss. The other areas to look for include:

  • Insulation resistance
  • Dielectric Strength
  • Arc Resistance

Flatness

PCB bending or warping can lead to a whole range of issues. It could be small so it is not noticed; on the other hand it could be so severe that it could cause immediate electrical issues. In choosing material for PCB, therefore, due emphasis needs to be laid on the fact that PCB typically requires warpage lower than 0.0075 mm/mm.

Specific industry or products

In addition, the choice of PCB material selection also depends upon the industry for which the PCB is being used and its specific requirements.

Electronic products typically require FR4 epoxy fiber glass substrate, as there isn’t any specific requirement, given the nature of the product with regard to flexibility or temperature. However, where there is a requirement for flexibility or temperature, it is recommended to use polyimide glass fiber substrate. For PCB where the requirement is one of thermal dissipation, a metal base substrate is recommended.

Types of PCB Substrate Material

Commonly used PCB substrate material includes Copper clad laminate or what is popularly known as CCL. In turn, CCL can be categorized as below:

Rigid CCL

This includes the following:

  1. Paper based Phenolic CCL
    With its low cost, the use of this is ubiquitous. The consumer electronics, industry, particularly sees its wide spread use.
  2. Paper-Based Epoxy CCL
    This is largely used in through-hole PCB in the consumer electronics industry.
  3. Paper-Based Polymer CCL
    This kind of CCL finds extensive use in the Color TV and stereo industry, primarily on account of its anti-CAF characteristics.
  4. Fiberglass Epoxy CCL
    This is the most widely used CCL when it comes to telecommunications, medical care, CPU and more. The key characteristics that endear it to many industries include its:
    • Heat resistance
    • Chemical resistance
    • Dimensional stability
    • Electric insulation and more
  5. Paper-Based Polymer CCL
    This kind of CCL finds extensive use in the Color TV and stereo industry, primarily on account of its anti-CAF characteristics.

Composite CCL

This CCL is known to work well on single-sided and through-hole PCBs as also for SMT assembly on thin PCB boards. In addition CEM-3 composite CCL is also preferred on account of its:

  • Moisture resistance
  • Heat resistance
  • Dimensional stability

In choosing PCB Material, another aspect that needs to be kept in mind is its Fire Resistance. It is therefore advisable to go for FR4 grade of material. FR4 in turn can be further subdivided into a number of classifications:

A1 – This is largely used in industries such as:

  • Automobile
  • Telecommunication
  • Industrial instrument and more, on account of it being high on performance and durability

A2 – This finds application in:

  • Home appliances
  • Electronic Products
  • PCs

This grade is known to be cost-efficient, which also explains its ubiquitous usage.

A3 – This grade is typically used in common electronic products such as:

  • Toys and games
  • Calculators and more

A3 is known for its extremely low price and compatibility with product functions.

A fair understanding of the above factors leads to usage of the right PCB material, which in turn, is critical in the functioning of the PCB and in turn, of the final product.

Choosing the right PCB Manufacturer can go a long way in ensuring that there are no costly errors to pay for, as the product is ready for release.

Technotronix adopts advanced PCB production techniques and manufacturing practices with specialization in a varied range of PCB fabrication process, producing high quality multi-layered PCBs from tailor-made layouts. With over 40 years of combined experience in rendering high tech PCB assembly and manufacturing services, we are not just an assembler, we can completely test at board level to box build level to provide the benefit of unparalleled technical expertise and the most progressive solutions at competitive prices.

Know More About Our PCB Manufacturing Service.

For Any Kind of PCB Manufacturing Service, Request a Free Quote!

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Top Factors to Consider for Selection of PCB Supplier!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: June 10, 2020

The importance of PCB in a product or a machine cannot be overstated. Simply put, the PCB is often referred to as the brain of the product and is also one of the most complex commodities within electronics manufacturing. View it in terms of cost, however, and the picture is inversed. Compared to the cost of the entire electronics assembly, the cost of the PCB is quite miniscule. That does not however, by any stretch of the imagination mean that the PCB can be bought as just any other commodity or that price alone can be a determinant in choosing the PCB. This is because the quality of PCB is a critical factor and can result in overall equipment success or failure.

It stands to reason, therefore, that the PCB Supplier needs to be chosen with utmost care. A strong PCB Manufacturer selection strategy will go a long way in the overall success or failure of the product. Within the PCB Assembly industry too, there are a host of new advancements including new technology, issues related to environmental sustainability and more. While PCB Manufacturers are dealing with these new developments, partnering with the right supplier is more critical than ever before. Choosing the right supplier will mean a number of things, including but not limited to:

  • Ensuring product performance and quality
  • Ensuring quick turnaround times

PCB Supplier Selection Criteria

There are a host of factors that need to be taken into account in choosing the right PCB Supplier. Some of the aspects to be given due consideration include:

  • Quality of PCB Production
  • Quality of Service offered
  • Supplier’s experience
  • The market sectors that the supplier caters to
  • Their certification standards
  • Overall approach to problem solving

Of these let us look at the aspect of quality, in some detail:

Quality

When we speak of quality, there are a number of aspects to consider. The first and most important of course, is the quality of the PCB itself. It is imperative that the dimensions are accurate, the drilling of the holes is correct, board warping isn’t happening and other such aspects are taken care of. Any issues in any of these aspects can have far-reaching consequences on product performance and any oversight can lead to costly errors. Additionally it is important to check what the supplier’s certification standards are.

Another quality aspect to look for closely and also to seek testimonials for is the quality of service that the provider offers. This again includes a wide variety of areas including but not limited to:

  • How responsive are they to queries
  • Can they customize the board to your specifications?
  • What is their track record on turnaround time? Can they improve turnaround time if your project so requires?
  • Can they ramp up production should the project require it?
  • The supplier’s approach to problem solving also needs to be understood
  • How committed is the supplier to overall improvement?
  • What kind of training do they provide to their employees?
  • How strong is their support team?
  • Does the PCB Manufacturer USA have experience in your industry? That way he may have a fair amount of knowledge on industry best practices that could help you in not reinventing the wheel.

Of course all these aspects will have to be analyzed differently by each organization as they need to take into account:

  • Aspects and practices that are particularly important to you as an organization.
  • Role of PCB in your overall production process.
  • What are the performance metrics that you particularly want to track when it comes to supplier handling.

In fact, as a thumb rule, the more complex your technology, the more prudently and closely you need to manage your PCB supply chain. In fact once you have chosen the right supplier, what you get is not just a vendor of a crucial product, you have access to an advisor who will be able to offer you a host of industry best practices. The time, energy and resources spent in choosing the right PCB Manufacturer will have a huge ROI in the long term as the benefits the PCB supplier can offer are invaluable. Once the right supplier is chosen and the relationship nurtured, you are likely to gain tremendously from the supplier’s experience in the field. It will also ensure that the possibility of making costly mistakes is considerably lowered.

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How COVID-19 is affecting the PCB Assembly Industry and Electronics Manufacturing Supply Chain?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: March 31, 2020
pcb assembly industry

2020 has been an unprecedented year with the entire world grappling with the deadly Corona Virus Outbreak. With thousands of people being impacted by it daily and the mortality rate on an increase around the world, it certainly is a pandemic that has caught us all unawares. Besides its humongous health implications, its impact on the economy at large and the PCB Assembly industry and Electronics Manufacturing Supply Chain in particular, cannot be overstated.

The role of China

With China at the forefront of this outbreak and the fact that it also plays a crucial role in the electronics manufacturing industry, the supply chain has encountered a huge hit. The pandemic, in fact is impacting both the demand and the supply side for obvious reasons.

As early as February 2020, a research by Omdia, a leading research company in the field of technology, media, and telecommunications, pointed out how the smartphone market was likely to be impacted on account of China’s huge contribution of over 25% to the world smartphone market share. Added to this are issues of reduced component supply. These trends of course aren’t restricted to the smart phone market alone and are as true of the entire PCB Manufacturing Industry as also the Electronics Manufacturing Industry.

In fact, the longer the impact of COVID-19, the greater the impact on electronics manufacturers who would need to either slow down or completely halt production. Going forward, the flow of materials and components will really be crucial in determining the extent of the disruption of production. Even in cases where production has resumed, the time period in which the factories were shut has already had an impact on the supply chain with inventories being negatively impacted.

Labour shortages

The situation has also been compounded on account of issues to do with shortage of labour. The Chinese New Year as it is, is a period of near shut down in China, which in turn impacts the electronics manufacturers annually around the time. This year the issue has been exponentially compounded with a whole lot of quarantine and lock down issues plaguing the country. Electronics manufacturing in China being largely a manual process, the inability of workers to return to the factories on account of travel restrictions, has had a deep impact.

Impact on New Electronic Designs

What this also brings in its wake is the inability of engineering teams to travel to China for new models and designs. Even when the travel restrictions are lifted, it is likely that there could be general hesitation to visit the country till things are perceived to be safe again.  What this means in terms of new product development are unprecedented delays as typically engineers prefer to be on-site for such new development. New electronic designs, therefore are likely to be in abeyance for a longer period than what it would take to have the old design supply chain moving.

Probable Solutions

A survey by IPC, a global trade group, suggests that shipments are likely to be delayed by an average of 5 weeks. Clearly what was being anticipated as a year of recovery may be far from it, until the outbreak is contained and some sense of normalcy resumes.

Being prepared for these unprecedented delays and to have contingency plans in place, of course, needs to be top of the agenda as of now.

At Technotronix, we are extremely committed to keep a very close eye on the developments as also to wherever possible proactively facilitate the supply chain. Regular contact with our freight-forwarding partners will also ensure that we are kept abreast of all developments in real time. In the meantime we would urge you to keep your account managers updated with your forecasted requirements for the next few months for them to help abate any shortages.  

Of course, challenges such as this, also come with hidden opportunities.  While at a worldwide level we seem to be some distance away from the COVID-19 pandemic being contained, PCB manufacturers USA have started to rethink their strategies and look for options outside of China for their backend supplies.

In the interim, please feel free to reach out to us for any specific queries and we would be more than happy to assist you.

Here’s hoping the COVID-19 story is a thing of the past soon and life and business recovers from its unprecedented attack. Stay Safe!

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Biggest Benefits of Multilayer PCB in Electronic Industry

By | Date posted: | Last updated: December 16, 2019
Multilayer PCB

PCBs have ubiquitous presence today, what with them being the core of most electronic items. With the growing complexity of devices, PCBs are therefore increasingly becoming more complex. From flexible to odd shaped ones, there is a range of PCBS out there. While electronic devices with limited functions can do with single layer PCBs, there is an exponential growth in multi layered PCBs. By definition, multilayered PCB are made up of layers of double sided circuit boards with heat protective insulation between them. The electrical connections between the layers happen through various kinds of vias resulting in complex multilayered PCBs.

With complexity in applications, PCBs today can range anywhere from four to twelve layers.  Multi layered PCBs have a number of benefits:

  • Size: Multilayer PCB have an added advantage on account of their small size as they lend themselves well
  • Lightweight: Small PCBs also come with reduced weight. This is particularly true also because single and double layered PCBs need a number of connectors that add to the weight and hence restrict mobility.
  • Reliability: Typically multilayered PCBs are high on reliability as well as of high quality.
  • Durability: Multilayer PCBs also come with high durability as they are able to withstand the heat and pressure that is applied on them.
  • Flexibility: For assemblies that use flexible construction techniques, a flexible multilayered PCB can be helpful particularly in applications that require some amount of bending.
  • Powerful: Multilayer PCBs typically are high density and have greater capacity as well as speed
  • Single Connection Point: With single connection points, multilayered PCBs are beneficial for gadgets where size and weight are constraints.

 

On account of all these advantages, multilayer PCBs are the preferred option especially as greater functionality and reduced size increasingly become the norm.

All of this is not to say that multilayered PCBs do not have any disadvantages. Largely, compared to single layered PCBs, multilayered ones come with added cost as well as increased design time. Multi layered PCBs also necessitate that there be skilled designers who have a wide experience and hence can overcome issues related to crosstalk and impedance. In efficient design can directly impact board functioning.  Also multilayer boards require increased production time and hence a lower turnover rate.

However, it is their improved functionality that more than covers for the many disadvantages associated with multi layered boards. As far as their increased costs go, with the advancement of technology, the costs are only slated to decrease.

However even while using multi layered PCBs it is important to ensure that as far as possible you go with even number of layers as opposed to PCBs with odd number of layers. This is on account of many factors including but not limited to the cost efficiency:

Odd layer PCBs are cost ineffective

The cost ineffectiveness of odd number of layers stems from the fact that the process of creating an odd layered PCB begins with creating an even layered PCB and then etching away the unwanted layer. As the process suggests, this leads to a lot of wastage which in turn lead to cost inefficiencies

Warping

Other than the cost aspect, etching also results in warping of the layer.

With one side having copper and the other side not having it, there are different cooling rates, thereby creating stress on the PCB.

Risk of over & under plating

What the etching also does is that it leaves the two sides (one with copper and one without), with different weights, thereby adding to the risk of under or over plating.

On account of all the above reasons, it isn’t advisable to have odd number of layers unless there is a specific, compelling reason to do so.

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