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What Are Copper-Filled Vias?

What Are Copper-Filled Vias? Printed circuit boards would not function without vias, the conduits that transfer signals between PCB layers. During PCB production, the manufacturer adds a layer of copper to the board substrate. This copper layer not only makes the traces conductive but also connects each PCB layer between the holes drilled into the board. The manufacturer can then leave the vias as-is and use the copper plating on its own to transfer signals. However, for added capacity, they can also fill the plated through holes with another conductive material. To create a copper-filled via, the manufacturer fills the through holes with epoxy resin and copper. The extra materials add cost to board production, but copper-filled vias make a PCB more suitable for certain applications. Copper-filled vias also feature capabilities that other conductive fillings do not provide. This guide explains the primary purposes of copper-filled vias and how they can enhance

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How to Audit a PCB Supplier

How to Audit a PCB Supplier Before choosing a PCB supplier, companies should make time to audit their options. This information-gathering process will help you stay on top of the competition and offer a quality end product. Discover how to evaluate potential suppliers for your PCBs and other electronics in this guide. What Is an Electronics Supplier Evaluation? An audit of electronics or PCB suppliers involves qualitative and quantitative assessment to determine if the supplier meets the customer’s standards. Most audits happen before doing business with the supplier, but some companies conduct regular audits even after making an agreement. Every business has its own approach to assessing potential and current suppliers, but they all have the end goal of ensuring they will get a quality product. These evaluations happen throughout all links of the supply chain. For example, at MCL, we evaluate the PCB manufacturers we work with before adding

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Outgassing on a Printed Circuit Board

Outgassing on a Printed Circuit Board Outgassing, also known as offgassing, results in defects during production and use. While unavoidable in certain applications, outgassing must be prevented or mitigated to ensure a functional final product. Learn more about outgassing and what manufacturers can do to prevent or reduce it. What Are PCB and Solder Mask Outgassing? When outgassing occurs, gas trapped in a PCB releases within the board. It most commonly happens in two situations: Wave or hand soldering during production: During wave or hand soldering, any moisture close to a through hole turns into vapor due to heat. When this gas escapes, it creates voids in the solder mask. Use in ultra-high vacuum environments: In applications involving ultra-high vacuum environments such as outer space, laboratories or medical facilities, the vacuum can cause vapors to escape from the PCB, creating condensation on the rest of the equipment. Issues Caused by

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PCB Materials and Design for High Voltage

PCB Materials and Design for High Voltage When creating a PCB for high voltage DC bias, standards and precautions become much more stringent. High voltage PCB materials and design for arc prevention ensure the final product is safe and functional. Avoid increased costs and danger by keeping these PCB materials and design tips in mind. PCB Materials for High Voltage Materials used in high voltage PCB design need to stay at peak performance in both regular environments and overvoltage events as it ages. Consider the following materials for the main components of your PCB: Board material: When choosing materials for your PCB, you should prioritize the board itself. It provides a foundation for the rest of the PCB’s functionality, so weigh all the factors in your design before ordering the material. FR4 laminate offers a very high dielectric breakdown, but it also has a weak edge structure and vulnerability to

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Interconnect Defects (ICDs)

What you need to know about Interconnect Defects (ICDs) Inner-layer separation, or interconnect defects (ICDs), can lead to circuit failure in PCBs. To create a fully functional PCB, a manufacturer must look out for ICDs and their causes. Here is a look at ICDs and how manufacturers prevent and correct them. What Are Interconnect Defects (ICDs)? During PCB production, the manufacturer drills through the inner-layer circuit and plated the hole with electroless copper to connect the inner-layer circuits together. This copper plated hole, usually called a via, brings the circuits to the top layer of the board. The via enables the PCBs’ different layers to connect, giving it functionality. However, sometimes a defect occurs in or near this drilled hole. This flaw is called an interconnect defect (ICD) or inner-layer separation. As the term implies, ICDs involve a separation between the copper filler and the circuits. These components must connect properly

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Environmental Impact of Semiconductor and Electronics Manufacturing

The Environmental Impact of Semiconductor and Electronics Manufacturing Printed circuit boards, semiconductors and other types of electronics have more advanced technology than ever. However, with increasing complexity in product design comes a wider range of materials used. Some of the substances traditionally used to create PCBs can cause harm to the environment and the people who handle them. Fortunately, the electronics industry has also taken measures to reduce its impact on the planet. This guide will explain common environmental issues associated with printed circuit boards and how suppliers and manufacturers address them. Are Printed Circuit Boards Hazardous Waste? PCBs include a variety of materials. While some substances used in PCB production count as hazardous waste, others have no negative impact on people or the environment. In 2011, the European Union published the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Act (RoHS), which limits or bans the use of certain materials in PCBs and

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Why Are Circuit Boards Usually Green?

Why Are Circuit Boards Usually Green? Imagine a printed circuit board. What color do you think of? While PCBs and other circuit boards come in more colors than ever, the majority of them come in a signature green color. As someone who works with PCBs, you may wonder why so many of them have a green solder mask coating. Nobody has a definite answer, but plenty of experts have educated guesses. Discover the possible reasons why PCBs often come in green and the other color choices available to you. Potential Reason #1: Materials The first possible answer is the simplest: Glass epoxy, a material used in the past to create solder masks, is naturally green. Green possibly became the standard the industry was accustomed to, so even when solder mask coatings in different colors became possible, many manufacturers still opted for green. Solder mask materials that come in green now

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PCB Trace Width vs. Current Table

A PCB trace width vs. current table helps you understand the relationship between PCB trace width and current carrying capacity so you can determine the required trace width for your printed circuit board design. Relationship Trace Width and Current Carrying Capacity The relationship between trace width and current carrying capacity in your printed circuit boards is fairly straightforward. Specifically, a cross-sectional area of trace and temperature rise determine your current carrying capacity, with your cross-section of trace directly proportional to copper thickness and trace width. However, this does not necessarily mean that trace carrying capacity is directly proportional to cross-sectional area. Calculating the maximum current that a trace is able to hold based solely on trace width and temperature rise is not always a simple calculation, as you may already have found. Why should this be the case? Elements Determining Maximum Current Carrying Capacity The reason why it is not

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Guide to PCBs and IoT

With nicknames like “the fourth Industrial Revolution” or “the infrastructure of the information society,” the Internet of Things, or IoT, has grown into the most significant movement since the birth of the dot-com. The effects of the IoT have become deeply woven into the framework of technology and daily life. What many consumers may not realize is Internet of Things PCBs are at the forefront of the IoT infiltration into everyday tech and that, likewise, the IoT is playing an integral role in a shift in PCB design and manufacture. As the demand for more IoT devices rises, understanding the interconnections between IoT and Flex and HDI PCBs is increasingly crucial for PCB designers. What Is IoT? The Internet of Things is the crossover between the physical and the digital world brought forth by the creation of devices other than PCs that connect to IP networks. Smartphones might be the

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What Is Line Efficiency?

What Is Line Efficiency? When it comes to printed circuit boards, line efficiency is the ratio of the number of hours a pick-and-place machine positions parts on the PCB divided by the quantity of hours the SMT assembly lines are staffed. There are different ways to measure line efficiency, including capacity utilization, which is calculated by comparing the production to an average level of acceptable production and line efficiency. Understanding line efficiency is very important for manufacturers and assemblers of printed circuit boards. The faster a manufacturer can churn out fully-assembled printed circuit boards that work as intended, the more money that manufacturer of PCBs can make. If a PCB manufacturer/assembler is systematically losing efficiency and underproducing, identifying and rooting out the problem must be done quickly to avoid business failure. Line Efficiency Formula When calculating line efficiency, deciding to use the SMT line efficiency or production line efficiency calculation

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PCB Glossary

  • Pregreg

    Sheet material (e.g. glass fabric) impregnated with a resin cured to an intermediate stage (B-stage resin).