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What is PCB Board Specification?

The circuit board specification gives us the details regarding the type of PCB board we desire. Understanding this specification a bit more is necessary, as it helps you tell the manufacturers of printed circuit boards the PCB board type you need.

A lot of specification for printed circuit board fabrication exists. This helps in describing the PC B product. It may not be necessary to study everything, and this could be overwhelming for the beginners, especially when all you desire is just one PCB board. Here we will be presenting to you the well known specifications that are useful in PCB manufacturing or circuit board production.

What are the Typical PCB Specifications for Fabrication?

The typical specifications commonly used by a PCB manufacturer include 1.6mm, FR4, Green Mask, 1 oz copper, HASL, and White Silkscreen. Now, let’s consider each of them.

FR-4

The FR-4 is called the standard material for printed circuit boards. This material is a durable one and works for the majority of applications. Furthermore, it is flame retardant. This is why it has the name FR, and with a grade of 4. It is flame and water resistant, and has good strength. This board material is very common and is useful in PCB fabrication.

Regarding PCB fabrication, other materials are available. However, we don’t advise you to use any other type asides FR-4, unless the PCB design you are working with, requires you to use that specification, or will work in that situation. These materials come with their benefits and disadvantages.

Other materials that can be useful in PCB fabrication include

  • Flame retardants like FR-5, FR-4, FR-3, FR-2, FR-2, G11, and G10
  • Composite epoxy materials like CEM-5, CEM-3, and CEM-1
  • Flexible printed circuit boards for flexibility and tight spaces
  • Aluminum, metal, and ceramic for components that generate high heat
  • Roger like RO4000, RO3000, for high-frequency applications
  • Teflon such as polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE, Polyimide

1.6mm

This is the standard board thickness or pcb thickness. It is also very common and it offers great support for typical applications.

The pcb design of the majority of through hole components is to be mounted on a PCB board of 1.6mm. You can use 1.6mm as the recommended pcb thickness unless you are advised to do otherwise. For small and dedicated designs, it may be preferable to use thinner printed boards. For cases that are extreme, you can improve signal integrity by routing the traces on your thin PCB properly.

2 Layer PCB

For a very simple circuit, just one layer PCB may be enough. For most designs, you may end up easily with 2 layer boards. Once the number of layers is more than two, the process of PCB manufacturing becomes complicated. Also, this means the required cost will also increase.

1 oz copper

This has to do with the copper layer’s thickness, which is found on both the bottom and top of your 2 layer board. The copper layer etching forms the copper trace, which helps in connecting the IC chips of the electronic circuit, as well as passive and active components. Traces carrying signals don’t carry too much current; this is why the thickness of the copper layer is not usually a concern.

Green Mask

This is the major thing, which makes the majority of PCB boards have a green look. The mask is a coating layer that helps to resist molten solder. You can choose any color other than green. The green color ensures that you see the printed trace easily. This helps with maintenance and troubleshooting work.

White Silkscreen

This is a white labeling that is usually printed on PCB boards. With this labeling, you will be able to identify the value, orientation, and position of the components. Also, it is commonly used in printing the model product out, as well as other information relating to manufacturing.

What are the IPC Standards for Printed Circuit Boards?

 As a PCB manufacturer, ensuring that quality is maintained all through the manufacturing process is important. This is why it requires great and careful attention throughout the phases. IPC will go a long way to adhere to the standards.

What is IPC?

IPC is known as the trade organization or association of electronics industries. This association offers protection for electronic equipment and industry standards for assembly coupled with public policy advocacy, market research, and training.

How do IPC Standards Assist All Aspects of Your Business?

At first, PCBs can look a bit different in appearance, regardless of their quality. Customers may not see this difference always; however, they are sure that your business or company puts much effort in making sure that they get PCBs meeting even the most strict and stringent quality standards.

It is very important that PCBs work reliably during the process of manufacturing and assembly and when it gets to the field. Asides these costs, faults that happen during the assembly and wire harness assemblies may eventually get built in the end product through the PCBs.

In all the market sectors, most especially those that produce products with analytic applications, failures could be very devastating. You must consider these aspects when comparing the prices of PCBs.

For a contract manufacturer to be successful, more should be done than simply focusing on the details of the applicable IPC standards. The best contract manufacturers will embrace all these standards to ensure that the building of these processes is done on a very solid foundation.

By doing so, they are set to check out the smallest manufacturing imperfections, which would have been overlooked by some just seeking to satisfy some details. Some details usually overlooked include some processes like proper handling of the PCBA, to prevent electrostatic discharge, coupled with personnel considerations and work environment.

 What is the Significance of the IPC Standards?

Working with the IPC standards, a company will improve its products and processes in many ways. Below are some leading benefits.

Improvement in the Reliability and Quality of the Product

When you adhere to IPC standards all through the manufacturing, your company will be able to improve their product’s reliability and quality. When a company creates products that last longer and performs better, this will make them more profitable and competitive. They will also improve their customer satisfaction.

Improvement in Communication

When companies adhere to IPC standards, it improves communication both externally and internally by making sure that everyone makes use of this same terminology as well as agree on expectations.

Furthermore, internally, the employees that speak similar languages will be able to collaborate and make the necessary changes to ensure improvements. These standards also help in improving the communication with regulators, supplier vendors, customers, and others.

New Opportunities and Improved Reputation

When you adhere to standards recognized internationally such as IPC standards, that company gets instant credibility. Once anyone sees that you work with the IPC standards, they will be sure that you are focused on delivering quality even if they don’t know anything about your company or business.

 With IPC standards, your product’s quality will be enhanced and your reputation will be improved. Ultimately, these standards will also help you attract customers, create new opportunities, and also make you very competitive.

Reduction in costs

Improvements resulting from making use of the IPC standard go a long way in reducing costs. Minimizing miscommunications and improving quality reduces the possibility of reworks and delays.

Working with the IPC standard, companies will also be able to reduce the use of resources and increase their efficiency.

Terminology for IPC Standards

In order to assist users in understanding and working with the industry standards, IPC has provided some definition of the terms it utilizes. Furthermore, this terminology also ensures that communication is more efficient and accurate throughout the industry.

IPC separates the PCBs for electronics manufacturing to three classes. The classes indicate the PCB’s quality. Class 1 has the lowest, while class 3, has the highest. Companies producing electronics using PCBs must take note of the different classes. This is because they indicate and dictate the performance and safety specifications that companies have to meet.

Class 1 – for electronic products (general)

These serve applications where the main requirement is the functioning of the finalized IPC assembly. The class has to do with the majority of consumer electronics and everyday products.

Class 2 – for dedicated electronic products (service)

This class of products must possess extended life and high reliability. Though uninterrupted service is not critical, it is preferable. The product’s use environment typically will not cause any failure. Laptops, microwaves, etc. are examples of products here.

Class 3 – for electronic products (high performance)

This class must offer performance when necessary or continuous performance. You cannot have anything like equipment downtime. The equipment has to function whenever it is required or needed. This category involves critical systems like life support systems. Also class 3 PCBs are useful in machine learning, clean technology, and medical equipment.

Other Terminology

Assembly: This involves subassemblies, several parts or combinations that are joined together

Acceptance tests: These are necessary to determine if a specific product can be acceptable upon the agreement by the vendor and purchaser

Resist: This is the coating material used in protecting and masking come areas of a specific pattern during the manufacturing as well as testing, from the etchant, solder, plating, and other coatings.

 Integrated Circuit: This is the combination of circuit elements that are formed or interconnected within or on one base material in order to serve a microcircuit function

Process Indicator: This is the deviation on a specific product, which doesn’t affect its function, fit, or reliability negatively, like discolored insulation, solder joint with pinhole, etc.

Flexural Strength: This is the tensile strength present in a material’s outermost fiber, which must bend.

Conclusion

We hope you understand the specification for circuit boards as well as the various standards that companies should follow. Sticking to these standards brings great benefits for your company.