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Why immersion Gold Plating is So Popular – A complete guide

Printed circuit boards are part of countless electronic and digital devices. Nowadays, PCBs are gold plating by different techniques. It is different form hard gold plating. Immersion Gold plating, aka electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG), is one of the electroplating techniques. This process requires a very thin application of the gold layer. The thickness of a very thin layer varies between three to nine micro inches.   Hard gold plating has more thick gold layer.

Before getting into the immersion gold, you must know about the ‘surface finish technique. This technique provides a surface with a smooth and shiny appearance depending on the material. Surface finish is the smallest movement, such as covering a surface with a coat of pain. , so the shiny part of many electronic devices is usually immersion gold. A thin layer of gold prevents the oxidation of the copper layer. It is very important for developing the smallest electronic parts. It also provides the smallest parts with high flatness. High flatness is not possible with hard gold plating.

Let’s dig deeper to learn more about Immersion gold plating and its uses

What is Immersion Gold Plating?

 Immersion gold plating is a surface finish plating technique. Its excellent corrosion resistance makes it ideal for many appliances. Immersion gold plating makes gold wire bonding easy. Gold wire bonding helps in the connectivity of parts. In the process of electrolytic gold plating, the gold layer is applied over the nickel layer through displacement. This process continued until the gold layer covered the nickel layer completely. This thick gold layer protects the nickel from oxidation. The typical gold thickness ranges from two to nine micro inches. This gold thickness remains consistent throughout the PCB.

 If you want to get high-quality immersion gold plating, then control the concentration of the gold salt in the plating bath. You can control the concentration of the gold plating bath by measuring the conductivity of the solution. Sometimes atomic absorption spectroscopy also helps to measure the conductivity.

Why is Immersion Gold plating so popular?

Hard gold plating is one of the modern surface finish plating techniques. Immersion, gold Plating solution, is expensive because gold has the highest purity for surface finish. Still, this is popular due to the following reasons.

Corrosion resistance

Corrosion is a natural process for metals. It converts metal into stable oxides. We all know how corrosion affects the functionality and life span of any product. In the past, corrosion was one of the reasons for PCB failure in many products. Immersion gold plating shows unique chemical properties, such as longer shelf life and almost no corrosion or erosion. Gold layering saves nickel and other parts of PCB. That’s why immersion gold plating provides excellent corrosion resistance.

Good adhesion

Immersion gold plating provides good adhesion due to excellent adhesive properties. Strong adhesion properties make it ideal for many electronic or digital devices. You can connect gold-plated PCBs easily with other surfaces.

 Excellent solderability

Immersion gold plating provides good plating around the holes in the circuit board. It provides excellent solderability. The immersion gold plating is gold wire bondable, that’s why it has excellent solderability. Immersion Gold has a different crystal structure compared to hard Gold Plating, that’s why it is easy to weld immersion gold. As a result, it doesn’t cause bad welding.

 Less oxidation

 The gold layer saves the nickel layer from oxidation. In the absence of a gold layer, the nickel surface can react with the oxygen present in the air. As a result, nickel can easily oxidize. Immersion gold plating saves nickel from oxidation. That’s why gold plating board is part of many electronic and digital devices. Oxidation affects the functionality of the device.

Wide use in different applications

Immersion gold plating PCB is the solution to many problems related to electronic and computer devices. Immersion gold boards are suitable for many devices in every field, such as motherboards in computers and the medical field. It is also valuable for protecting medical equipment from corrosion and rust. Immersion gold boards improve signal transmission and the service life of products.

It gives PCBs long life

In the past, many devices and machine failures were due to the low quality of PCB. Corrosion and oxidation reduce the working capacity of PCB, and ultimately it affects the device functionality. Gold immersion plating provides a solution to these problems and increases the lifespan of PCB.

The least exposure to lead

 Immersion gold plating covers the nickel and copper layer. High lead levels may bring about several complications, so immersion gold save manufactures form harmful full side effects.

Who can do the best immersion gold plating?

 You can find numerous companies performing PCB manufacturing and gold plating. Selecting one of them is really hard, and a small mistake can ruin your PCB. That’s why it is very imperative that you get your PCBs coated by a leading manufacturer. The Swimbi PCB provides the best solution for all your PCB-related problems. They have the latest technology and expertise in every type of PCB manufacturing. They are the market leaders, whether immersion gold or hard gold plating. So now it’s up to your requirements whether you go for immersion gold or electrolytic gold plating. Both electroplating techniques have their pros and cons. A layman needs clarification on both techniques when it comes to choosing one. Swimbi PCB can suggest the best technique according to your PCB needs.

Wrapping up the things

All the advantages mentioned above will explain why you should go for this immersion gold plating. Immersion gold plating is a plating technique for PCBs. It is a different technique and offers different characteristics compared to hard gold plating. Many people think that it can be used interchangeably for hard gold plating. It is a rubbish idea altogether because both offer different properties. Both techniques cannot replace one another. On the other hand, choosing the right service provider in terms of PCB manufacturing and plating is also necessary.

HDI PCB Design: Everything You Need to Know about the Advantages and Design Process

The PCB industry has undergone different changes in recent times, especially as they relate to the type of process technology used in making Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). Today, the HDI technology is one of the sought-after and for good reasons.

Who would have imagined that a time would come when the entire electronics industry would follow the trends and make use of the relevant technologies? As MOKO Technology pointed out, the PCB market has undergone different changes, starting from the 1920s when the base for the modern circuit boards was laid.

It would soon be replaced by the “developing stages” between the early 1920s and the 1940s, when the printed circuit patterns were printed on a substrate of insulating, before the applications of the plaiting to make conductors for wiring.

Today, we have lots of process technologies for circuit board and the HDI process is one of the most popular.

What is the HDI PCB Manufacturing Process?

HDI stands for High Density Interconnect. It is so-called because of the composition of a higher wiring density per unit area. This higher wiring density per unit is one of the major advanced features that sets the HDI boards different from the traditional or standardized PCBs.

In this article, we discuss further about how the HDI PCB technology is a disruptor to the existing Printed Circuit Board (PCB) technology out there.

Correlating the HDI PCB Manufacturing Process to the Market Demand

It is expedient to mention that one of the major factors pushing the adoption of the High Density Interconnect (HDI) form of PCB design is the demands in the market.

There has been a steady shift in the electronics market, ranging from mobile devices to digital cameras. This shift centered on the need to make circuit boards smaller, while increasing the size of the components added therein.

Basically, the changes required the modification of the Printed Circuits Boards (PCBs) to weigh less and still have sufficient spaces to fit in the different electronic components. These changes also aimed at improving the electrical performance of the circuit boards.

It is against this backdrop that the HDI manufacturing process gained prominence, following the increased performance, including signal integrity, the increase in computational power and the packaging of multiple electronic circuitries in smaller packages.

You can think of the entire HDI technology as a means of maximizing the operations of your favorite electronics, without having to bother about complex wiring options and excessive weight.

Understanding the Higher Density Interconnector Terminologies

You need to understand that the HDI PCB design is subject to some processes and at the core of these processes are the distinct interconnect techniques that move the needle.

These are called the vias in pad and the micro vias. They are popular terms in the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design process.

Here is a breakdown of how they function:

The Concept of “Vias”

Vias simply mean the interconnector or the medium through which the conductive pathways can be carved out on a PCB.

The process usually involves drilling holes into the Printed Circuit Board (PCB), which is why the Through Hole Technology (THT) became very popular. The drilled holes then provide a medium for the interconnections made for the different layers of a multilayer PCB.

Micro Vias

Out of the different types of vias used in circuit boards, the micro vias is mostly used with the HDI boards. It is a better competitor to the mechanical drilling or traditional drill bits used in conventional circuit boards.

Instead, the micro vias uses the laser drill format to pave the conductive pathways in the HDI board.

Despite the seemingly advantage over the mechanical drilling of traditional PCBs, laser drills can sometimes be problematic. The downside is that these vias are restricted to two layers only. Depending on how you go about it, the micro vias can either be staggered or used as a PCB stackup.

Blind Vias

This is another type of vias used in the PCB stackup. It works by creating a connection between the exterior or outer layers of a PCB, with the inner layers or interior layers. One benefit of this type of vias is that it terminates or stops at the inner layers, which makes it impossible for the end of the vias to be seen.

Buried Vias

The buried vias is an opposite of the blind vias in the sense that it doesn’t establish any connection with the external or outer layers. Instead, it only connects the internal layers and therefore, cannot be seen as they are “buried” inside the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Via In-Pad

In addition to having numerous properties, such as laser drilled vias, buried vias and blind vias, the HDI board also has many others stacked up. These include the use of the sequential lamination process and via in-pad.

The via in-pad is one of the consumer-driven processes for manufacturing circuit boards, in the sense that it allows for the integration of multiple technologies on fewer layers. The via in-pad process also supports the placement of the via directly within the pad that connects to the circuit component.

Below are some of the additional points you want to know about the via in-pad:

  • More Components: multiple components can be integrated into the HDI PCB using the via in-pad because the pad supports that through the direct connection of the component lead to the internal layer of the circuit board.
  • Improved Signal Integrity: the via in-pad process improves the signaling capability of the PCB by reducing the length of the signal path. This helps to remove the capacitive and the parasitic inductive defects. However, it is possible to remove or get rid of further signal reflections. Actualizing this would have to require the back drilling of the via in-pad, as a way of removing these signal reflections and in extension, improve the reliability of the signal coming from the HDI PCB.

Comparing the HDI Board Design to Traditional PCBs

There has been a debate on whether it is possible for the HDI boards to offer improved functionality than the traditional or the conventional circuit boards do. The answer is “yes.” It is possible for HDI PCBs to offer better features than the former PCBs.

Here are some of the ways that the HDI features prove to be more reliable than those of the traditional circuit boards:

1. The Density of the Component

Unlike the traditional PCBs that require lower component densities, the HDI PCB requires even more.

2. Device Optimizations

One of the core aspects of optimizing devices like mobile devices and laptop computers for circuit boards is the number of supported pins. Sometimes, the traditional PCBs might not be fully-compatible with both the high pin count devices, as well as the small pitch devices.

The reversal is the case with the HDI boards that are compatible with both the small pitch and the high pin count devices. With this level of device optimizations, you can be sure that more electronic devices can be optimized with the HDI printed circuit design process.

3. Vias Support

The types of vias used in a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) could impact the design outcome. Thus, the design rules have to be fully followed to get the best results.

Considering the changing trends in the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) technology, the trend is now giving way to inclusive vias process.

That is why the HDI board design towers above the traditional PCBs, in the sense that it supports the major vias types, such as the micro vias, the blind and buried vias.

By including the blind and buried vias, for instance, the HDI circuit board allows for flexible connections of the layers, in the sense that these layers can either be hidden or exposed. This is most especially for the outer layers of the board.

4. Circuit Board Sizing

The size of the circuit board depends largely on two factors – the board size and the weight. The components used therein also have a role to play.

Unlike the traditional PCBs that are bulkier, the HDI PCB’s board size is smaller and lighter because of the significant reductions in the sizes of the components.

5. Layering Procedures and Drilling Options

HDI PCBs use the laser drilling option, which helps improve the board’s heat resistance. In terms of the board layers, it typically supports fewer layers.

This is a sharp contrast to the multiple layers and the use of mechanical drilling options for the traditional circuit boards.

Benefits or Advantages of the High Density Interconnect (HDI) Manufacturing Process

One of the major reasons PCB hobbyists and consumers go for the High Density Interconnect (HDI) boards is because of what the name suggests – the densities are higher.

However, there are several other reasons why you should like this type of PCB. Below are some of the advantages:

Faster Circuit Production

Probably, one of the features you look for in a circuit board, aside from the number of densities, is the speed of production. Although the production timeframe might vary by the manufacturer, a bulk of the speedy design relies on the design rules of that PCB.

So, if you are working on a circuit board that is complex, you can expect to spend more time on it than on the one with less technicalities.

And that is one of the major advantages of the HDI PCBs. You don’t spend a lot of time figuring things because the stackup process is quite simplified. At the core is the ease of placing the components, which helps the manufacturer to speed up on other aspects such as testing the electrical performance and the high frequency transmission capability of the board.

HDI PCBs are Affordable

The affordability of circuit boards also plays an important role on the choose between one PCB and the other. In the case of the HDI PCBs, you can be sure to save a great deal of money, considering that the design process is straightforward.

Moreso, you don’t get to buy a lot of layers or invest in a lot of larger board sizes. Due to the reduced numbers of layers and the fact that multiple components can be integrated inside a smaller circuit board footprint; it makes it a lot easier for the HDI PCBs to be cheaper.

The HDI PCB Uses Smaller Aspect Ratios

The aspect ratio of the HDI PCBs give it a considerable edge over the traditional circuit boards. We must not fail to point out that a bulk of the reason for the lowered aspect ratio is because of the reduction in both the component pitch and size. That paves the way for more Input and Outputs (I/Os) in smaller geometries.

What’s more? The HDI PCB gains traction with its smaller aspect ratio because of the use of the micro vias, which has a better dependability or reliability than the traditional PCBs do. The outcome is that the micro vias significantly improved the plaiting of the vias, while allowing for an overall reliability in the transmission of signals.

That way, the HDI PCB wouldn’t be overly exposed to crossing delays and signal loss, which would have negatively impacted the high density interconnection.

Multiple Device Support

This is yet one other outstanding benefit of the HDI PCB design. It supports multiple devices, especially those small pitch devices, like the Ball Grid Array (BGA) components. These types of devices sometimes have 1 mm or less in pitch and they are not often supported in traditional PCBs.

HDI Boards have Compact Designs

It may have been expected that the support of higher densities could have required more board spaces for the HDI PCBs to function effectively.

That doesn’t appear to be the case because the HDI PCB works effectively, even with the smallest board size. This is possible because it conveniently reduces the numbers of layers and the sizes of the layers required to make a circuit board.

Shorter Signal Paths

Signals can be transmitted faster, only if there is a pathway that is not so restrictive. When you look at the signal paths of the traditional PCBs and that of the HDI PCBs, you can see the difference.

The HDI PCB has a defined signal path, which typically involves the use of the multiple via processes, most especially the micro vias and the via in-pad HDI manufacturing technology. The combination of these via processes helps the board to allow for more components to be placed in proximity to each other.

By design, the HDI components can be flexibly positioned, either by placing them on one side of the bare HDI PCB or by placing them on both sides of the PCB. That way, there would be adequate spacing and proximity that allows for the shortening of the signal paths. Thereby, the HDI PCB assures of an increase in the signal integrity, as well as the speedy transfer of these signals.

Heat Resistance is Top-Notch

The laser drilling method is commonly used in the HDI PCB, as a way of making (smaller) holes in the circuit board.

It is through these holes made with laser drilling that the HDI PCB can conveniently resist and dissipate heat faster.

Design Considerations for the High Density Interconnect (HDI) Board

There is no disputing the fact that the HDI PCB can improve signal reliability, save costs by way of reducing the layer count and design time. Yet, certain factors could possibly pose a challenge to the board design.

Here is a list of some of the design considerations and potential downsides you need to know before working with the HDI Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs):

Trace Capabilities

The trace capabilities of the HDI PCB can be limited. For example, the trace widths need extra attention for them to balance with the spacing limits on the board.

Second, there may be a need to use more trace routes. This is required to complete the board design. However, there is also the challenge that the longer the trace routes used in the HDI PCB, the longer it would take to transmit the signals.

Space Limitations

On the one hand, we have the spaces in the HDI PCB limited, so that the board can weigh less. On the other hand, PCB consumers tend to battle with the limitations created in the process, especially in terms of the limited workspace area on the board.

There is also the glaring limitation on the overt consideration for smaller components or more components that could fit into the tight or compacted spacing.

Applications of the HDI PCB

Where can one expect to use the HDI Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)? Here is a list of some of the possible applications:

Aerospace Devices

HDI PCBs are used to manufacture the component parts, as well the electronic designs needed for the aerospace industry. Specifically, the electronic designs are targeted at the following:

  • Defense applications
  • Missile systems and;
  • Aircraft applications

At the core of these applications is the fact that the HDI PCB helps to provide the reliable signal transmission, for which those applications need, especially in very extreme environmental conditions.

Automotive Market

The HDI Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are also used in the automotive industry, as a way of making the automotive electronics compact and lighter.

Consumer Electronics

Consumer devices, including laptop computers and smartphones have now been manufactured with HDI PCBs, because of the increased performance, lighter size and minimal space this type of PCBs does take.

The HDI Layout: How to Build a HDI PCB

Due to the streamlined pathway, the HDI PCB can be one of the simplest circuit boards to build. Yet, you must not ignore some of the important design iterations.

If you are to get the best results from your HDI PCB, you probably want to follow the following recommendations:

Layer Count Determination

One of the first things to do is to determine the layer count or the number of layers you need for the job. It must be noted that the layers are usually lower, but you want to be sure of the number for the design.

To calculate the layer count, you want to use either the interface plus direction from the largest Integrated Circuit (IC) on the board. You can also use the largest BGA components on the board.

Start Creating the HDI PCB Stackup

The next stage is to reach out to your PCB designer or manufacturer for both the dielectric data and the materials that would help you create the circuit board’s stackup.

Choose a Style for the Via

Depending on the type of via you choose, the number of layers on the board and the board’s thickness, you have to choose a style for positioning the via.

Note that the via style has to pave the way for an excellent routing density for the signals in the inner layers of the board.

Run some Tests

It is now time to be sure of how things would pan out. perform a reliability assessment test to be certain that the materials and the interconnects would function excellently. You also want to use the period to find out if the interconnects wouldn’t be damaged or subjected to fracture, especially during the assembling process.

Conform to Excellent HDI PCB Manufacturing Specifics

The design rules of the High Density Interconnect (HDI) made it possible for the board to accommodate multiple components, reduce the layer count and adapt to several applications.

Now, you don’t want to give it all up because of not paying attention to details. In addition to following the above design rules, you also need to conform to or follow the best practices for manufacturing the HDI PCBs.

Some of these best practices are clearances, the need for tear drops and trace widths.


Working with HDI Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) exposes you to numerous opportunities that weren’t tenable in the traditional PCBs. These opportunities include but are not limited to the achievement of finer lines, reduction of the layers used in the board and excellent routing capabilities.

You also get to enjoy improved signal reliability, higher wiring density, and the use of multiple via processes to perfect component placements.

We have the knowledge and capability to take on your HDI PCB design project. Contact us today to get started.

Amazing Things you must know about hard gold PCB

Engineers and designers try hard to improve the functionality of Printed circuit boards. These circuit boards are the heart of electronic devices. Every day there is a different technique to improve PCBs and their related issues. Hard Gold plating is helpful in solving many issues related to PCBs.

Gold is one of the best materials for surface treatment during PCB manufacturing. Gold has unique properties such as conductivity, less oxidation, no corrosion, and longer shelf life. That’s why it is ideal for PCB design and surface finish.

Nowadays, the electronic industry is growing day by day. That’s why it encounters various challenges like pollution, moisture, corrosion, and other external issues. The longer life span of devices and machines is another problem for PCB manufacturers. Ultimately all these factors affect the reliability of electronics. Gold PCBs help to resolve these issues and improve the functionality of the product. The below content will help you to know more about gold PCBs.

 What is a hard GOLD PCB?

Hard gold PCB has different names, such as Electrolytic Nickel, Electrolytic Gold, hard electrolytic gold, hard gold plating, etc.

This hard gold plating provides circuit boards with contact points through edge connectors. These PCB edge connectors are also called gold fingers. If you open a computer’s PCB, you will find a neat, narrow, and long row of PCB pads on the edge. Due to the rectangular shape, these gold edge connectors are famous as gold fingers. These hard electroplated gold fingers save the edges from destruction.

Usually, when PCBs are repeatedly installed and removed, then their functionality is affected. That’s why PCB gold fingers provide better connectivity and less wear and tear. You may notice that computer RAM has gold fingers. That’s why RAM can withstand repeated usage and has fewer scratches. Let’s dig deeper to know more about the hard gold plating PCB (gold fingers).

Process of hard gold-plating fingers

The gold fingers plating process has different steps. It starts right after the application of the solder mask. Sometimes this process starts just before the surface finishes. The next step is the application of the nickel layer. In the past, when there was no gold plating, then it was hard for the nickel layer to stay for a longer time.

After that, gold is plated on the nickel layer. Sometimes the copper layer provides additional strength. Gold protects both nickel and copper layers.

Now gold fingers are ready for edge beveling. This process creates smooth edges so that gold fingers can become edge connectors. These edge connectors help to join the circuit board to another circuit board. In this way, more than one PCB can join with one another. Sometimes complex products require more than one PCB interconnection. So at that time, these folded fingers serve the purpose.

Difference between hard gold plating (gold fingers) and immersion gold (soft gold plating)

Many people confuse both hard gold plating and soft gold plating. They are both the same. Actually, both are different in terms of manufacturing and uses. The electrolytic process is also different for both.

Hard gold-plated PCB

Hard gold electroplating is a technique that is helpful in giving strength to PCB. Gold and some other metals are mixed to achieve a harder deposit with a more refined grain structure. Nickel or cobalt is the most common alloying metal.

You can’t use gold alone for this purpose; that’s why you have to make it alloy by combining it with some other metals. Hard gold is extremely durable, so it is most commonly applied to high-wear areas such as gold fingers. The hard gold plating surface is smooth and shiny .Gold thickness varies for a diffusion barrier coat. The lowest gold thickness must be 0.5 microns. The high gold thickness provides the best PCB surface finish.

Full Body, Hard Gold plating is a rarely-chosen surface finish by a PCB manufacturing company. Mostly selective hard gold plating PCB is one of my favorite techniques. Selective gold plating is more cost-effective rather than full-body electroplated gold PCB design.

What is soft immersion gold?

Immersion gold, aka soft gold plating is also an electroplating technique. In this technique, gold is pure without any alloy. As gold has high purity, so it doesn’t have a strong grain structure. Soft gold plating produces a more coarse grain structure. That’s why immersion gold PCB has a soft surface finish with a darker appearance. Similarly, its good oxidation resistance is due to the presence of pure gold. Pure gold provides highest oxidation resistance


  • Soft gold plating has good adhesion, so it is used on chip-on-board. It has better signal connectivity, so it is part of many medical machines and sensitive devices.
  • Hard gold is not generally applied to solderable areas because of its high cost and its relatively poor solderability. Poor solderability means it’s hard to make holes and joints in the metal. But On the other hand, hard gold plating is extremely durable.
  • Hard gold-plated PCBs are Durable and best for high-wear equipment. That’s why high-wear areas have PCB gold fingers. However, their manufacturing process is complex.
  • Hard gold plating provides surface hardness. Furthermore, it saves the surface from friction. It has the drawback of poor solderability. So it is useful for places where soldering is not necessary but subject to extreme friction. That’s why you see hard gold plating on specific areas of memory cards and printed circuit boards. The gold plating on PCB is in a rectangular form, such as gold fingers. You may be wondering why all PCBs are not gold-plated. Manufacture made full body hard gold PCBs according to need.
  • Hard gold provides a perfect PCB surface finish. It would cost you a lot if you want to cover the entire board with gold plating. Furthermore, it is not necessary to cover all PCB with hard gold plating. So selective Gold plating not only reduces the use of gold but also saves money. Further, it enhances product performance.
  •  So hard gold plating and soft gold plating are different in terms of thickness, properties, and uses.

Tips to Choose the Right Gold Plating technique for the PCB

If your PCB or product has to face friction, hard gold plating is best because hard gold plating has hardness and friction resistance.

Friction resistance

For example, memory cards and rams. These are mostly prepared with these techniques because they require repeated sliding. Similarly denser crystal structure makes it suitable for abrasion resistance. Further, it provides good wear resistance. Repeated sliding doesn’t affect their functionality because hard gold fingers protect their edges.

Soldering requirement

If your product or PCB needs soldering, then don’t go for hard gold plating. Soft gold plating is suitable for soldering, soft joints, and sensitive connections.


If you require adhesion, then again, go for soft gold plating. Similarly, if you want corrosion resistance, then go for soft gold plating. Gold has the highest purity in soft gold plating, so it reduces corrosion. It increases the life of the PCB and, ultimately, the life of the device.

Suppose there are chances that your PCB can face resistance that doesn’t go for hard gold plating. Hard gold plating PCB will increase the contact resistance. That’s why soft gold plating or immersion gold plating is best. But their corrosion resistance is unmatchable.


Soft gold plating has a darker appearance, making it easy to scratch. So hard gold plating is suitable for devices and PCBs that may encounter friction and scratches. So gold plating technique depends upon the requirement and type of product. You cannot put gold fingers in every other product, or you can’t use the immersion gold technique for every solder-able PCB

Uses of hard gold fingers in different appliances

Hard gold fingers have multiple uses due to their hard gold plating. Mostly the computer industry and high-end user products have gold fingers or hard gold PCBs. Hard gold plating is suitable for high-wear products. It is also suitable for visible interconnect applications. That’s why PCB gold fingers made perfect interconnect applications. Due to the advancement in technology, their use has increased. That’s why their manufacturing industry is growing fastly.

Wrapping up things

 I hope this content helped you a lot to know more about hard gold plating and how it is different from soft gold plating. Nowadays, it’s really hard to find reliable manufacturers for gold plating.

If you are looking for a reliable PCB manufacturer, then Swimbi PCB provides some of the most innovative PCB technologies. Their hard gold-plated PCBs are extremely durable and also provide extreme corrosion resistance. Their excellent quality control makes their PCB design unique. They are competent and experienced PCB manufacturers.

Swimbi Full PCB Manufacturing

They can manufacture PCB boards to meet your demands, from hard gold plating PCB to electroless nickel immersion gold PCB. Additionally, they can serve your needs for hard gold PCBs, even for the most complex PCB designs. That’s why they are the best in town.

10 Multilayer PCB Manufacturers in China

Multilayer PCB refers to the kind of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) that has more than one layers. Ideally, a PCB is meant to have one layer, but depending on the applications, the layers can be more than one. The multilayer PCB fits into that use case.

So, in this article, we will make a review of the top 10 companies that engage in the provision of fabrication, design and production services for the multilayer PCB.


If you are looking for a reliable multilayer PCB manufacturer in China, your first choice should be JHYPCB. The company makes the list for many reasons, ranging from the excellent circuit board design process, the series of tests it subjects the boards to and the company’s many years of experience.

Multiple Layer Support

The goal of using multilayer PCBs is to integrate multiple layers of conductive material that are placed in the center of the material. With the voluminous layers that are added here, it creates the opening for a reduction of the interconnections, higher assembly density and increased flexibility.

JHYPCB satisfies the intents of the multilayer PCBs by supporting multiple layers. Unlike some of the other multilayer PCB manufacturers, the company does not limit the production to 10 layers or less. Instead, JHYPCB’s manufacturing capability extends to 30 layers of conductive material.

Multilayer PCB High-Performance and Reliability

You can be sure that the reliability of the multilayer PCBs from JHYPCB is optimum. The company ensures the compliance of these circuit boards with the following standards:

  • ISO
  • RoHS and;
  • UL

Mass Production Capability

No matter the volume of circuit board you want to order for, rest assured that JHYPCB can handle it all. This manufacturer “provides multilayer PCB prototypes with a quick turnaround and mass multilayer PCB manufacturing services.”

2. Winow New Energy CO., Ltd

Also called Winow PCBA, this is a multilayer PCB manufacturer that specializes in the production of circuit boards that have multiple layers of conductive material.

It is pertinent to mention here that the company combines the production of the multilayer PCB with that of the complex circuit boards, such as Rigid-Flex PCBs and High Density Interconnect (HDI) PCBs.

Winow PCBA uses the “state-of-the-art multilayer circuit board fabrication equipment to ensure that the finished boards” they distribute “meet the exacting standards and technical specifications.”

In terms of the capability, the manufacturer assures of the following:

  • Offering a wide range of solder mask colors, such as blue, green, red, yellow, black and white.
  • Winow PCBA also manufactures up to 38 layers of conductive material for the multilayer circuit boards.
  • To ensure the best performances possible, the company uses different surface finishes. Examples of the supported surface finishes are OSP, HASL/HASL Lead Free, Immersion Silver and ENIG.
  • This multilayer PCB manufacturer also offers different kinds of materials. Examples are Telfon, FR-4, Rogers and CEM-1. Others include FR4 Halogen Free, CEM-3 and High TG.

3. Philifast

The speed of producing circuit boards is one of the core factors to consider when choosing a manufacturing company. This fact makes Philifast to stand out of the crowd, because of the company’s specialization in providing multilayer PCB production in the shortest time possible.

Custom Circuit Board Designs

Worth mentioning is that Philifast specializes in making custom multilayer PCBs. As such, one can rely on it to make circuit boards that do not only integrate multiple layers of conductive materials, but also the circuit boards that can be further modified to the customers’ needs.

Delivery Timeframe

Philifast engages in the provision of quick-turn PCB and PCBA prototype. It is also pertinent to mention that the company has an Express PCB service that facilitates the design process. You can expect the multilayer PCB to be readied in 24 hours from the time of placing the order.

32-Layer PCB

Philifast also offers up to 32 layers of conductive materials for the multilayer circuit boards.

4. PCBCart

Here is a multilayer PCB manufacturer in China that specializes in producing high-quality circuit boards. PCBCart has been in the business of providing a variety of high-quality multilayer circuit boards.

These PCBs are also produced to meet the needs of customers who are particular about the lead time, design and cost of the circuit boards.

Below are some of the capabilities of this multilayer PCB manufacturing company:

Full Feature PCB Fabrication

One of the highlights of PCBCart’s services is the delivery of full feature PCB fabrication services. The company does this to help the consumers get value for their money. It is also imperative to point out that the company offers the service, bearing in mind some of the design iterations, such as the layer counts, board type and material.

Supported Boards

Multilayer circuit boards can be further broken down into different types. You can find the ones that fall into multilayer flexible PCB, rigid-flexible multilayer PCB and the multilayer rigid PCB.

You can count on PCBCart to design and produce these kinds of multilayer circuit boards.

Supported Materials

Different materials are used to maximize the potentials of the multilayer PCB. In terms of the service offered by PCBCart, the following are some of the supported materials:

  • FR4 Halogen-Free & High Tg
  • FR4 Tg 140C/150C
  • FR4 Halogen-Free and;
  • FR4 High Tg 170C/180C

Layer Counts

PCBCart also offers different layer counts for the multilayer circuit boards. The layer counts start from a minimum of 1 layer to a maximum of 32 layers.

Multilayer PCB Techniques

Different techniques or design processes can be maximized to make the most out of the multilayer circuit boards. In the case of the PCBCart services, the company offers the following techniques:

  • Electrical test
  • Blind and buried vias
  • Via in pad
  • Gold fingers
  • Press fit


PCBCart also offers different kinds of surface finishes for the multilayer PCB. The surface finish processes include but are not limited to OSP, HASL (both the leaded and the lead-free), Immersion Silver/Tin and ENIG.

PCBCart Offers Several Manufacturing Options

The manufacturer offers different kinds of manufacturing options, including those for the full feature PCB and the advanced PCB manufacturing processes.

In this case, the company offers the following:

  • Peelable solder mask
  • Quick-turn circuit board production
  • Edge plating
  • Press fit hole, Half cut/Castellated hole, Countersink/counterbore hole.
  • Blind vias, buried vias & microvias (both the staggered and the stacked)
  • Carbon mask
  • Via in pad
  • Impedance Control: this is based on the trace width and impedance demand.

5. SAYFU Multilayer Circuits Co., Ltd

SAYFU is a leading multilayer PCB manufacturer in China. The company specializes in the production of different kinds of multilayer circuit boards.

If you are looking to get custom designs of the rigid-flexible multilayer circuits or the basic multilayer circuit board, you can be sure that this company will handle it.

It is also imperative to point out that SAYFU produces variations of the multilayer circuit board. The following are examples of these variants:

  • 4-layer multilayer PCB
  • 6-layer multilayer PCB
  • 8-layer multilayer PCB
  • Multilayer rigid-flexible circuit
  • 10-layer multilayer circuit board


UNITEPCB is a Shenzhen-based circuit board manufacturer that specializes in the production of multiple layers or circuit boards. It is imperative to mention that the company offers an extensive multilayer PCB service.

The following are some of the services it offers:

Multilayer FPCs

This refers to the production of the multilayer Flexible Printed Circuits (FPCs). UNITEPCB produces this kind of multilayer PCB to satisfy the market demands of circuit boards that have multiple layers and which are flexible – can be bent, twisted, and folded during use.

It is pertinent to mention that the qualification of a circuit board to be a multilayer FPC is that it must have up to three (3) flexible conductive layers.

On its part, UNITEPCB ensures that the circuit boards meet this specification and that it can provide different types of multilayer FPCs to meet the design objectives.

Multilayer Aluminum PCB

This is another variant of the multilayer PCBs that UNITEPCB makes. The multilayer aluminum circuit board refers to the type of circuit board that has several layers of conductive material, and which is separated by insulating layers.

Circuit Board Manufacturing Capabilities

The capabilities or abilities of the circuit board manufacturer to make the boards help to convince prospective customers that the company is worth entrusting the job.

This multilayer PCB manufacturer has the following capabilities:

  • Surface Finish: the company offers the following types of multilayer PCB surface finishes – Silver Plating, ENIG, Immersion Tin, Carbo and OSP. Others are Tin Plating, Lead Free HASL, Immersion Silver, Gold Plating (and gold).
  • Layer Counts: the number of layers integrated into the PCB depends on the manufacturing stage. For example, the standard PCB takes up to 40 layers while the advanced takes up to 60 layers.

7. Agile Circuit Co., Ltd

This multiplayer PCB manufacturer in China is based in Shenzhen. The company prioritizes the production of multilayer circuit boards that have up to 3 mil of ultra fine pitch, up to 26 layers and which can support both the single and the differential controlled impedance.

Agile Circuit also has the following capabilities:

  • The provision of high-frequency base materials
  • Low loss, halogen-free and ultra-thin packages.
  • Blind and buried vias
  • Laser drilling and small hole drilling

8. VictoryPCB

This is one of the multilayer PCB manufacturers in China that did not expressly mention the provision of the multilayer PCB service. However, VictoryPCB ensures that it offers multiple integrations of layers into the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

According to the information on the website, the company can potentially produce up to 40 layers of circuit boards. It can also make custom designs, as per the clients’ requirements.

Why Choose VictoryPCB?

We recommend that you choose VictoryPCB as your favorite multilayer PCB manufacturer in China for the following reasons:

Excellent Circuit Board Inspection Capabilities

The company ensures that it takes care of the testing and inspection of the multilayered PCBs to be certain that they are fully functioning.

The following are some of the testing capabilities:

  • The company deploys the aging test to ascertain the probability of the test failure, as well as the invalidity of the PCBA board.
  • X-Ray Testing: VictoryPCB offers both the AOI and X-Rau Testing to confirm the presence or absence of the fine and micro defects after lamination on the multilayer PCB.
  • The manufacturer also offers the following types of multilayer PCB tests – FCT test, ICT test and the In-process quality control.

9. 86PCB

86PCB is one of the oldest multilayer PCB manufacturers in China. The company has been in existence since 1998. As a professional PCB and PCBA manufacturer, the company helps consumers to get different layers integrated into Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

86PCB can potentially manufacture PCBs that have up to 24 layers with a minimum board thickness of 0.40mm for the 4-layer and up to 1.20mm for the 10-layer circuit boards.


86PCB has the following as some of its strongest capabilities or deliverables:

  • Optimization of the multilayer PCBs for prototyping and large volume productions.
  • The company meets the customers’ demands both in terms of design process technologies and materials.

10. ChinaPCBOne

This is a one-stop shop service provider for a variety of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) needs. ChinaPCBone also produces multilayered PCBs that have up to 40 layers. The company also have the following to its advantage:

  • The use of special materials and design processes.
  • High-quality insurance of the multilayer PCBs.
  • ChinaPCBOne optimizes the multilayer PCBs to fit into the following applications – high-frequency communication, electric power, industrial manufacturing, automobile, LED lighting and Bluetooth communication.

Here is another professional manufacturer of multilayer PCBs in China:

Swimbi Full PCB Manufacturing

Hitech Circuits

Hitech also provides one-stop solutions for PCB designs. In terms of multilayer PCB production, the company produces from 4 layers, 8 layers of rigid PCBs and 4 layers of semi-hole multilayer PCB boards. It also specializes in the production of high-speed PCB for electronic digital.

The following is a list of Hitech Circuits’ capabilities:

  • Production of up to 38 layers of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
  • Offering of different surface treatments, such as Carbon Ink, HASL, Peelable Mask and Immersion Silver. Others include HASL Lead Free, Golden Finger, ENIG, Immersion Tin, Flash Gold and OSP.

Final Words

The advantages of working with a multilayer PCB include but are not limited to the board’s usage of a single connection point, high circuit density and board thickness.

However, the multilayer PCB has some downsides, including the difficult maintenance process, higher processing costs because of the requirement of specialized equipment, as well as a complicated test method.

Nevertheless, you can rely on the professional service of RayPCB. We help you configure and optimize the multilayer PCB as per the target applications’ requirements. You can also count on us to give you professional guidance on how to maximize the PCB for the best results.

Top 5 Polyimide PCB Manufacturers in the World

Different kinds of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) exist, but the Polyimide PCB has been getting the attention lately. This article highlights the top five (5) manufacturers of this type of PCB.

What is the Polyimide PCB?

It is a type of circuit board made with Polyimide, which is a flexible material used for the production of circuit boards. According to Hillaman Curtis, the Polyimide used in the circuit board is also a set of “polymers that have imide monomers.”

The general submission is that the Polyimide PCB is a type of circuit board that is used in applications that require utmost flexibility.

Who Manufactures the Best Polyimide PCB?

When it comes to the production of the Polyimide PCB, one of the core focal points is the reliability of the manufacturer. With many PCB companies out there, narrowing down to a choice can sometimes be difficult.

However, it is possible to pick the best Polyimide PCB to work with when you consider some of the important points.

Below, we have made a list of some of the leading companies that engage in the services of offering the best Polyimide PCBs.

1. PCBMay

If you are looking for a Polyimide PCB manufacturer in China, one of the companies to reach out to is PCBMay. It is one of the leading manufacturers of this type of PCB and it has an extensive year of experience in that field.

There are a couple of reasons why PCBMay is a reliable Polyimide PCB manufacturer and the following are some of those reasons:

Polyimide PCB Customization

Due to the technicalities, it is imperative to customize the Polyimide PCB to fit into the target applications. It is on this basis that PCBMay created a viable solution for consumers looking to optimize the board as per the targeted applications.

The customization of the Polyimide PCB is based on the file provided by the consumers.

Dual Service Delivery

While some Polyimide PCB companies focus on the manufacturing of the boards, others focus on supplying the boards.

However, PCBMay offers both the manufacturing and supplying of the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

Innovative Solutions

You can rely on PCBMay to deliver the best Polyimide PCB services, in the sense that the company offers specialized manufacturing solutions for this type of PCB.

It is also imperative to point out here that the company also specializes in the optimization of the boards to fit into the type of target applications. This is in addition to the company’s commitment to offering round-the-clock solutions through the spirited efforts of the professional team of engineers.

PCBMay Manufactures Multiple Polyimide PCBs

You can also rely on PCBMay to manufacture and supply different kinds of Polyimide PCBs. On the list of the supported boards are:

  • 14 layers of rigid Polyimide PCB
  • 8 layers of rigid Polyimide PCB
  • Double-sided Polyimide high temperature PCB
  • 2 layers of rigid Polyimide PCB
  • Polyimide flexible PCB
  • Polyimide Stiffener Immersion Gold Circuit Board Rigid Flex PCB
  • Multilayer Polyimide PCB
  • 12 layers of rigid Polyimide PCB with heatsink
  • Polyimide flexible surface mount PCB
  • Custom Polyimide PCB
  • OEM Polyimide PCB
  • 3MIL Polyimide PCB 4Layer
  • Single-sided Polyimide PCB
  • 0.4MM Polyimide PCB

2. Rayming Technology

RayPCB is at the forefront of manufacturing the Polyimide PCB. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of Polyimide PCB and has over the years, perfected the art of making this type of circuit board.

Worthy of mentioning here is that the company also engages in the service of offering different kinds of Polyimide PCB production. Notable among these is the Arlon 84HP PCB, which offers the best performance, in terms of Polyimide PCB.

Specialized Polyimide PCB Production

RayPCB also manufactures different types of Polyimide PCBs. The types range from the Filled Polyimide PCB, Pure Polyimide PCB, Low-Flow Polyimides and the 3rd-generation Polyimide PCBs.

3. Imagineering Inc.

If you are looking for the best Polyimide PCB company to work with, consider working with Imagineering Inc. It is one of the manufacturers of this type of PCB that does not only offer real-time Polyimide PCB services, but also does so at affordable costs.

Here are some of the reasons why Imagineering should work on your next Polyimide PCB:

Commitment to the Project

Regardless of the type of Polyimide PCB you want manufactured or the additional specifics, you can count on Imagineering Inc. to make a great job of it.

The company’s commitment to the quality of the Polyimide PCB is derived from the dedication to ensuring that the circuit boards meet the AS9100D Certification.

Standardized Polyimide PCB Production

Imagineering Inc. also specializes in the production of Polyimide PCBs that align with the existing set of standards under the IPC-6011 standard, set by the IPC.

These standards cut across Class 1 and Class 3. While the Class 1 Polyimide PCB focuses on the general electronic products, that of Class 2 deals with the service electronics. The Class 3 Polyimide PCBs are for use with the harsh operating environment electronic products.

You can count on Imagineering to “provide the best Class 2 and Class 3 Printed Circuit Board fabrication.” It is also important to point out that the manufacturer prioritizes the delivery of the “best-in-class results on time, every time.”

4. Candor Circuit Boards

There are not many companies that specialize in Polyimide PCB but the few that offer the service excel at it. Candor Circuit Boards readily come to the mind because of the company’s versatile approach to Polyimide PCB production.

Here are some of the upsides to allowing this company handle your Polyimide PCB design needs:

Polyimide PCB Analysis

Candor helps analyze the needs of your Polyimide PCB, as they relate to the target applications. From this, the company hopes to manufacture the circuit boards that fit into the desired applications.

Additional Inputs

Candor also offers additional input and guidance where necessary to help you get the kind of Polyimide PCB that matches your desired needs and applications.

Multi-PCB Design

In addition to helping, you with “design work,” Candor also provides different kinds of Polyimide PCB designs. These designs range from:

  • Filled Polyimides
  • Pure Polyimides
  • Low-Flow Polyimides and;
  • 3rd Generation Polyimides

5. XPCB Limited

This is a “premium PCB & PCBA Manufacturer based in China.” XPCB specializes in the production of different Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), as well as offering an array of Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) services.

In terms of Polyimide PCB, the company specializes in the integration of flexible circuit board solutions into the Polyimide PCB. This leads to the production of what it calls the “Long Flex PCB.”

What is the Long Flex PCB?

It is a type of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) made out of polyimide material with ENIG. The circuit board measures 1100mm in length and is made of DuPoint Polyimide with ENIG finish.

Below are some of the additional properties of XPCB Limited’s Long Flex PCB:

  • Built for High-Performance: the Long Flex PCB is “built for high 220˚C working temperature.” Thus, it is ideal for delivering the superior heat-resistance performance that matches the Polyimide Flexible PCB.
  • Faster Production: The Long Flex PCB can be manufactured in 7 days or less, making it a quick-turn circuit board.
  • Additional Specifications: the circuit board also has other specifications, including 5/5mil Min tarce/space and 0.28mm thickness.

What You Need to Know about the Polyimide PCB

Certain factors differentiate the Polyimide PCB from the other types of PCBs. Here are some of the things you need to know about it.

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Polyimide PCB vs. FR4: Which is Better?

There is an ongoing debate on which is better between the Polyimide PCB and the FR4. Worthy of mentioning is that the Polyimide PCB breaks through the conventional use of the Flame Retardant Level 4 (FR4) type of PCB material because of the additional characteristics.

The FR4 is commonly known for the zero-water absorption, which makes it ideal for use with the standard applications. However, the FR4 material cannot be used with the applications that have been manufactured.

It is therefore, on that basis, that the Polyimide PCB proves a worthy replacement, owing to the “universality” that allows for the use with the flexible PCBs and the rigid-flex PCBs.

The flexibility of the Polyimide PCB that makes it ideal for use with the flexible PCBs can be attributed to the “stiffness” attributed to the FR4 Materials used for PCB design. For the PCBs relying on the FR4, they don’t always end up being flexible because the material gets stiff due to the combination of the copper lamination and the epoxy glass glue used on it.

However, the FR4 material proves to be a cost-saving variant to the Polyimide PCB, in the sense that it saves the consumers a considerable amount of money. The cost-saving design is derived from the Polyimide PCB’s extensive use, which makes it expensive.

Choosing a Polyimide PCB Manufacturer

The selection of the best Polyimide PCB manufacturer has to do with a lot of background checks on the prospective manufacturer’s integrity. Even at that, you don’t want to ignore the following factors:

Customized Solutions

One of the things to look out for is the Polyimide PCB manufacturer’s readiness to offer tailored solutions. The customized Polyimide PCB solutions should align with the customers’ needs and the industry’s requirements.

Can the Manufacturer Make Polyimide PCB Variations?

Is it possible for the manufacturer to move beyond offering customized Polyimide PCBs to making different variants of the circuit board?

While the Polyimide PCBs are a popular choice for use in making flexible PCBS, they can also be made into other forms.

The Polyimide PCB manufacturer you choose to work with should be able to make different kinds of Polyimide PCBs, such as:

  • Third generation polyimides
  • Pure polyimides
  • Filled polyimides and;
  • Low-Flow Polyimides

Why Choose Polyimide PCB?

If you are looking for reasons to choose the Polyimide PCB, there are several of them. In addition to making PCBs flexible (bendable and foldable), the Polyimide PCB can also be picked for the following reasons:

Polyimide PCB is Flexible

This is the Unique Selling Point (USP) of the Polyimide PCB. The flexibility allows for the consumer electronics and other targeted applications to conform to different uses and folding options.

The flexibility also makes the Polyimide PCB ideal for use in the applications that require more of portability and frequency.

Besides, you can rely on it to improve the longevity of consumer electronics, considering that the circuit board helps these electronics to “absorb impacts.”

Polyimide PCB is Thermally Stable

The stability of the Polyimide PCB interfaces with the flexibility and the capability to withstand heat. This is evident in the compressive strength and elasticity of the circuit board; a feature that makes it impossible for the board to cower under excessive temperature.

Besides, the Polyimide PCB can function in environments that have up to 300-degree Celsius of temperature. In addition, it can significantly help in reducing the damages associated with excessive temperature, as “polyimides don’t change temperature quickly.”

Flex PCB Manufacturer

Excellent Chemical-Resistance

It is one thing for the Polyimide PCB to be resistant to excessive temperature and another not to get damaged by chemicals.

On the contrary, it has an excellent chemical-resistance, which is derived from the chemical stability of the polyimides. It allows for the circuit board to have limited corrosion, as a result of overt exposure to “hostile chemicals.”

Tensile Strength is Tenable

Polyimide PCB’s elasticity allows for the board to withstand conditions, relating to extreme stress and excessive temperature.

However, one other aspect that boosts the operation is the tensile strength, which has to do with the Polyimide PCB’s capability to suit the different applications.

For example, the tensile strength allows for the Polyimide PCB to support higher maximum loads, as well as being reformed to “suit the available area.”

Wrapping Up

Some of the reasons to choose the Polyimide PCB include the improved durability, the tensile strength, the chemical-resistance and the flexibility. RayPCB helps you customize this circuit board to fit into the different applications, ranging from medical electronics, automotive electronics and a host of other consumer electronics, such as computer electronics.

What You Should Know about PCB Processing

The printed circuit board (PCB) is a vital part of electronic devices; without it, they’re just metals and scraps. At the same time, transitioning from simply prototyping circuits to designing an actual PCB is a long, tasking process. Hence, you must familiarize yourself with this concept and understand the complex process associated with PCB design. Then, you can venture into PCB processing with a good idea of what it is about.

Different types of PCBs are differentiated by their structure and manufacturing process. The higher the steps involved in manufacturing the PCB, the more complex it is. Nevertheless, each step in the PCB manufacturing process is important, and skipping any step could mean a faulty PCB. However, if meticulously and religiously designed, the PCB will do exactly what it is meant to do as a key electronic component.

What Are the Essential Parts of a PCB?

First, you need to understand the four main parts of a printed circuit board. To understand PCB processing, you must first understand the basics and anatomy. They include the substrate, copper layer, solder mask, and silkscreen; let’s look at them one after the other for a better understanding.

● Substrate

The substrate of a PCB is the first and most important part of the board; it is typically made of fiberglass. The fiberglass material used in making this part helps it provide core strength to the board – like a skeleton. The substrate also ensures the printed circuit board can resist breakage.

● Copper Layer

This part of the PCB comes in two forms, depending on the type of PCB you are designing: copper foil or full-on copper coating. However, the form of the copper layer, regardless, performs the same function, which is to transmit electrical signals to and from the PCB. Consider the copper layer as the nervous system and its all-too-important job of carrying signals between the brain and muscles.

● Solder Mask

Next is the solder mask, the polymer layer that protects the copper to prevent short-circuiting upon contact with the environment. The solder mask of the printed circuit board functions like a skin; you could call it the PCB skin.

● Silkscreen

The silkscreen is the last part of the board and is usually on the component side of the PCB. This part shows logos, component references, part numbers, symbols, switch settings, and test points. It is often referred to as nomenclature or legend.

Before the PCB Design Starts

Now that you have a good idea of the anatomy of the PCB, you have started on the right footing. Next, let’s talk about things you need to know before designing.

  • The size of the PCB: The PCB size depends on the product or enclosure size, which is defined during the design process of electronic engineering.
  • The layers: PCBs come in different layers, including two, four, and six to eight. The rule is that the more layers, the more complex and expensive the PCB manufacturing process.
  • Manufacturer requirements: Before designing your PCB, read the guidelines. In the guidelines, you will find information about file naming, trace size, pacing, and power isolation. Your PCB manufacturer will require information concerning the number of layers, material to use, thickness, color, copper weight, surface finish, and Gerber file.

Now, the PCB Design Process

The PCB manufacturing process starts with its design through the circuit boards’ fabrication. Then, before it is finally packaged and delivered, the completed board must undergo strict testing. Below are the steps involved in the PCB design process:

Step 1: Designing the Circuit

To design the circuit, you must create a schematic – a blueprint describing how components work together and relate to each other. It would help if you had a software tool; you can choose any, including Altium, Quadcept, KiCad, Cadence Allegro, DipTrace, and many more.

After installing the software, you must get component specifications for each component selected to aid in drawing the schematic. Note that each schematic symbol must have an associated PCB footprint defining the components’ physical dimensions and through-holes or copper pads’ placement on the PCB.

Step 2: Designing the PCB Layout

Using the same software tool you used to design your circuit, create a Gerber file in which you will design the PCB layout. In this stage, you allocate the actual components to the exact location on the board. You are also showing the trace to connect the components between the layers. When you’re done designing your layout, you will have a Gerber file, which your PCBA manufacturer will use for finishing the product.

Step 3: Fabrication

When your Gerber file is ready, you can send it to your desired PCB manufacturer, who will print it on the circuit board. The printing will be the basis for further buildup, adding components to the PCB, and manufacturing the Printed Circuit Board Assembly.

Step 4: Preparing the Material

Your components should have been selected; you can do this yourself or have your PCBA manufacturer help. You must know the lead time, packaging, minimum order quantity, and associated losses at this stage.

Step 5: Component Mounting

The next stage is to mount the components on the board, which can be manual (through-hole mounting) or automatic (Surface Mount Technology). Through-hole mounting is the manual fitting of components onto the PCB surface holes using wire leads. Contrarily, SMT is usually used in mass manufacturing; it is faster, cheaper, and more accurate.

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Step 6: Soldering

This process involves “sticking” the components to the PCB to permanently connect them to it. The PCBA is taken through an infrared lamp or reflow oven, which is heated until the solder melts. Note that each package has its thermal profile; therefore, be careful not to overheat or damage the components. There are different types of soldering: reflow, wave, and iron soldering, used in different cases.

Step 7: Testing and QA

This is the final stage; the PCBAs are tested for quality and to eliminate mistakes such as unconnected or misaligned components. The most common PCBA tests include in-circuit, Automatic Optical Inspection, and X-ray testing.


High-quality PCB manufacturing and processing are critical aspects of PCB operations in electronics. When you give yourself a diligent study of the process’s complexities, you understand it. You will be able to appreciate better the cost and effort that goes into each PCB processing.

Understanding What IPC-2581 Is and Why It Is Vital for Engineers

One of several Application Characteristic Data specifications in the IPC 25XX Set of Data Exchange Specifications of the IPC specifications in the electronics sector is IPC-2581, often known as Digital Product Model or IPC-DPMX Digital. This innovative layered and balanced data format offers greater manufacturability, dependability, quality, and consistency for the data transmission from a manufacturing and assembly unit and a PCB designer. It is developed by a team of CAD and CAM users, tool developers, and standards developers.

IPC-2581 was developed to enable data exchange between PCB designers and manufacturers. IPC created it in 2004.IPC-2581 establishes recommendations for each step in the process flow to assist businesses in ensuring superior electronics assemblies manufactured for their products are superior in terms of manufacturability, quality, dependability, and consistency. The idea is comparable to that of a Gerber file.

However, there is more to what IPC-2581 means. In this article, you’ll understand other IPC-2581 features, such as the IPC-2581 consortium, its newest version, and its importance to engineers. But first, what exactly is the IPC-2581 consortium?

What Does IPC-2581 Consortium Mean?

There are various PCB supply chain and design businesses in the IPC-2581 consortium. The IPC 2581 consortium’s primary objective is to enable, encourage, and advance IPC-2581 application in the sector. Additionally, this consortium wants to make it easier for IPC-2581 to be implemented as a neutral and open standard to encourage innovation, boost productivity, and cut costs.

The assembly and production of PCBs are made easier by the IPC-2581 standard. Additionally, it will enable the direct download of design data into CAM systems. Therefore, compared to Gerber projects, this will save work and time. Additionally, the IPC-2581 consortium has more than 100 members, with participating businesses from various CAM, assembly, and PCB manufacturing.

A data interchange standard for various industries, including telecom, aerospace, and automotive, is the shared objective of all these businesses. A consortium member claims this standard’s vision extends to the manufacturing floor and the machines used.

The IPC-2581 standard is also universally owned. As a result, anyone can adopt this standard. This is a key factor in why it’s open. This standard was created in 2004 by the IPC consortium to fuse ODD++X with GenCam.

However, a new, updated version of the IPC-2581, the IPC-2581 C, was introduced in December 2020. This new version has more new but fantastic features.

IPC-258C – The New Version

IPC-2581C is the much-awaited upgrade to IPC’s widely embraced worldwide standard for design process via a manufacturing data flow called The Data and Transfer Methodology. With its new ground-breaking features and automation supporting bidirectional DFX intelligence power and Industry 4.0, Revision C does away with the time-consuming processes between manufacturers and design houses required before production can start.

The IPC-2581 expert group introduced support for the newest technologies, representing every facet of contemporary PCB design, as industry technology advances, including the most recent additive techniques with integrated components.

These updates include embedded components, rigid-flex, coins, cavities, connector ports, attenuation parameters, edge plating, pin polarities, intended net-shorts, countersink/counterbore, and square drill.

IPC-2581, which ensures that all relevant information is made into digital format, is the preferred approach for automating communication between manufacturing and design, far outpacing legacy and proprietary formats.

This bi-directional DFX data flow between manufacturing and design, which enables feedback to be sent and monitored before production starts, is a particular highlight of revision C. IPC-2581 revision C satisfies the demand for a collective, practical exchange for DFM issues, doing away with PowerPoints, spreadsheets, and emails and speeding up the launch of new products for clients.

Reasons IPC-2581 Is Vital for Engineers

The IPC 2581 structure protects data privacy, minimizes prolonged processes between individuals and PCB producers, lessens the production of several files for PCB fabrication, assembling, and testing, and lessens the likelihood of design error and misunderstanding.

The IPC-2581 provides engineers with these benefits:

● IPC-2518 addresses DFM issues

IPC-2518 has bidirectional DFX intelligence capabilities, which tackle the DFM interaction issue, and automation that supports Industry 4.0. Additionally, it lessens information omissions and communication barriers between different parties, including designers, PCB assembly firms, and PCB manufacturers, considerably increasing job productivity and cutting expenses.

To support and apply IPC-2581, NexPCB is now conducting research in this area. When the time comes, IPC-2581 support systems will be introduced. Therefore, every reliable electronics manufacturer ought to follow suit.

● It reduces miscommunication risks.

Engineers have a better way to integrate PCB designs with the IPC 2581. Additionally, experts from the manufacturing industry integrate PCB designs like netlists and pick-and-place coordinates. That reduces the chance of miscommunication.

● Flexibility

The IPC-2581 specification now includes a full supply chain and more participants. This supply chain includes PCB assembly, EDA software, and mechanical design solutions.

● CAM convenience and PCB design

Nearly all that engineers require is in the IPC 2581 file. The information required for PCB manufacture, assembly, and testing is also included in this standard. Furthermore, when the PCB design includes the buried/blind vias and pick-and-place coordinates, the IPC 2581 format will no longer require drill files.

● Less economic risk

The IPC-2581 lowers the economic risks. Engineers using small models for PCB construction, testing, and drilling will keep their circuit when they update it. Additionally, engineers don’t need to be concerned about DFM/CAM’s negligence.

● Data security

The PCB design cannot be changed using the Gerber file. That is because IPC-2581 includes all smart data, which could raise concerns about a possible data breach. Firms can send only the data pile to PCB designers using the IPC-2581 format.

Bottom Line

Every change is met with resistance, but because earlier standards have historically been difficult to communicate with, IPC-2581 has generally responded positively. PCB designers strongly prefer the IPC-2581 because it offers more advantages than the Gerber file standard.

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The shift to this standard takes time, even when the advantages are clear. Nevertheless, some cutting-edge PCB software creators are combining the two forms. This helps you to pick the ideal option for your design.

A Comprehensive Guide to IPC-2221 Standards in PCB Design

All IPC-2220 model series are built on the PC-2221 design standard. It defines the general standards for constructing PCBs, including other types of mono, dual, or multilayer mounting components or interconnecting frameworks. This standard also offers test coupon layouts for lot approval and quality conformity testing.

The IPC-2221 standard aims to enlighten manufacturers on the general requirements for the design of organic printed boards. To the extent that they can be applied to a wide range of designs that use natural materials or natural materials paired with artificial materials (glass, metal, ceramic, etc.) to form the framework for mounting and connecting electrochemical, mechanical, and electronic components. All these aspects and information of the design specifications are addressed.

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A choice must be made concerning selecting product types as soon as possible. The user should receive the sectional documentation, such as IPC-2222, IPC-2223, IPC-2224, IPC-2225, IPC-2226, and IPC-2227, that offer a special focus on the chosen technology once a component mounting and connectivity technique has been chosen.

There are guidelines to follow regarding PCB fabrication, assembly, and design. Industries and organizations must establish clear standards for their operations. In each area we find ourselves, standards enable us to succeed. No matter what field you work in, it is crucial that you follow the rules that have been established.

Choosing an electrical manufacturing engineer that follows IPC requirements for PCB design and assembly is also crucial. The PCB and electrical industries have several requirements. The IPC standard, however, stands out. Additionally, every step in PCB manufacture is covered by this standard. Your electronic contract manufacturer’s capacity to adhere to IPC standards affects the usefulness and sustainability of your PCB model.

What Do You Mean By IPC Standards?

The ‘Institute for Printed Circuits”‘ is the long form of the acronym ‘IPC.’ It is the official name of the organization that creates standards for PCBs. The IPC standard is a recognized and accepted benchmark for electronic assembly, PCB design, and production. The IPC’s legal name was changed to The ‘Association Connecting Electronics Industries’ in 1998. To this day, it is still frequently referred to as IPC.

The IPC standards also set the foundation for the electronics industry’s design, assembly, inspection, and packaging standards. IPC standards govern PCBs’ fabrication, design, testing, and assembly. If PCB designers adhere to these requirements, the product will succeed, but if not, it’ll be otherwise.

Several PCB design factors can affect the dependability and manufacturability of PCB. For example, PCB designers can assume which part of a pad THT components will fit best. Therefore, failing to design following IPC standards could lead to a lack of standardization amongst designers and manufacturers.

IPC has various standards for circuit board design. They include IPC-2221, IPC-221A, IPC-2222, and IP- 2223. These IPC standards are the criteria that the electronics sector accepts the most. IPC also creates standards for the electronics sector. Because of that, it is crucial to PCB production. Additionally, IPC standards are important for all phases of PCB fabrication.

The IPC-2221 Standard

The IPC-2221 specification/standard is a widely regarded industry standard — this aids in providing guidelines for various PCB design components. The design specifications/standards for various materials includes substrates and plating, thermal management, thermal reliefs, annular rings, testability, etc.

Additionally, more precise design standards often replace some design recommendations. For example, the IPC-6012 and IPC-6018 provide design criteria for stiff PCBs and high-frequency PCBs, respectively. Additionally, the IPC-2221 specifications for generic PCBs should be consistent with these new standards.

Furthermore, the IPC-2221 specification/standard isn’t used to evaluate manufacturing errors, productivity, or durability. In addition, the produced rigid PCBs for rigid boards must be approved using either the IPC-6012 or IPC-A-600, and some bodies are responsible for reviewing and giving this approval.

There are particular requirements for each type of board. Consider that the IPC-2221 and IPC-2222 standards, described in the former, must be consulted while designing rigid PCBs. This also holds for the multichip module, high-density interconnect (HDI), and flex. Because of this, all IPC-2221 generic standards must be applied per their specific and detailed requirements for various types of circuit boards.

The matching of the required thermal, electrical, and mechanical characteristics must be the primary emphasis of PCB designers. Furthermore, it would help if you kept an eye on the board’s reliability, pricing, and manufacturing challenges — the IPC-2221 assists in concentrating on all the factors, which is what it provides.

The IPC-2221 specification/standard also assists in addressing many board design-related concerns. It also includes the most significant requirements for design, high-voltage, clearance, and creepage. That way, designers do not have to worry about making mistakes that may affect the board’s short-term or long-term work.

Although the IPC standards are optional, using them enhances the product’s robustness, dependability, and durability. In addition, when combined with other specifications, they can lower electromagnetic pollutant concentrations and aid in passing the tests and qualifications that electronic products must pass to be sold in foreign markets (ISO, IEC, and ITU specifications and tests might be compulsory to gain access into other markets).

They help people stand out within their nation and ensure the best products are manufactured that meet the needs of the people. By drawing on others’ expertise, you can create and manufacture products more quickly and inexpensively.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that IPC-2221 standards are optional. Clearance and creepage demands in the appropriate IEC or UL standard may become requirements that must be followed for goods subject to safety standards described in electrical and building codes. For instance, the IEC 62368-1 specification contains the pertinent safety criteria for IT and telecom appliances using battery power and AC mains.

The distance required per IPC-2221B for creepage depends on the RMS voltage level, pollution degree (ranked from 1 to 3), and product group. The UL 62368-1 specification provides the meanings of the last two terms. If there are any necessary safety standards, such as IPC, IEC, or others, you must adhere to them; you can define your design criteria as rules you’re using the suitable PCB software.

Top 5 IMS PCB Suppliers in China

With the new requirement for consumer electronics, it is not surprising to see that PCBs, one of the core components, have also been modified to fit into that purpose. There is an increased demand for the Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS), which is also called the Metal Core PCB.

It is a type of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) constructed on a metallic plate, most especially aluminum. This type of PCB also has a dielectric layer that separates it from the copper conductors. The outcome is that the IMS is used in applications that require higher dielectric stability and excellent heat dissipation.

A List of IMS Suppliers in China

China is a hub for Printed Circuit Board (PCB) production and as such, the country boasts of an extensive list of PCB manufacturers.

Below is a list of some of the leading Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS) PCB manufacturers in China:

1. Rayming PCB & Assembly

RayPCB is one of the leading manufacturers of Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS) in China, owing to the many years of experience and the extensive services it offers.

The company’s IMS capabilities range from handling up to 4 layers of aluminum base board and using different materials, such as iron base, aluminum and copper.

Solder Mask Specifications

The solder mask specifications include the company’s offering of different solder mask colors, such as blue, green, white, black and purple. Also included in the glossy solder mask colors are red and yellow.

For the matt solder mask color, the company only offers black and green.

Below are the specifications for the solder mask resolution:

  • Solder Mask Hole Plug Diameter: 10mil to 25mil
  • Solder Mask Thickness: between 0.2mil and 1.6mil
  • Solder Dam: Green 4mil / Other Colors 5mil

Strict IMS PCB Compliances

RayPCB is one IMS supplier that places a premium on the quality of services it offers. In terms of the IMS manufacturing, the company ensures that it offers the best of compliances.

For example, the IMS PCB services align with the IPC Class 2, the IPC Class 3 and the ISO9000 standards.

Surface Treatment Options

RayPCB also offers a wide range of surface treatment options for the IMS PCB. Included in the list of options are:

  • Regular Lead, such as HASL
  • Lead-Free, such as Immersion Silver, Lead-Free HASL, OSP and ENG Gold

2. PCBMay

This is the second IMS manufacturer we want to review. A couple of factors set this company apart from the regular IMS manufacturer out there.

Below are some of the reasons why working with PCBMay is worth it:

One-Stop Services

The company offers one-stop or in-house services for IMS. This ranges from fabrication to the final designs of the Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS) PCB.


In line with keeping to the existing requirements, PCBMay ensures that the IMS services are in line with the relevant certifications.

The certifications include but are not limited to:

  • RoHS
  • ISO 9001
  • UL and;
  • IPC

The compliance to the above certifications helps the company to ensure that most of the IMS PCBs are fit for the different applications.

Different IMS PCB Services

PCBMay offers different kinds of IMS PCBs. Below is a summary of how each of those PCBs work:

  • Multilayer Dual Component-Mounting Side IMS PCB: This type of IMS PCB comprises multiple copper layers and dual-side component. It is also a complex design and can be customized to fit into the users or consumers’ needs.
  • Aluminum Metal Substrate PCB: This is the core IMS PCB. PCBMay ensures that it creates both functional and durable aluminum metal substrate PCB for the diverse applications.
  • Single-Sided Metal Core IMS PCB: This type of IMS PCB only uses one side and is commonly used for the simplest circuitry arrangements. It is commonly used for LED PCBs and Solid-State Relay (SSR) PCBs.
  • Copper Metal Substrate PCBs: This type of IMS PCB offers excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. It also comes with customizations that the manufacturer, PCBMay, offers to improve the performance in the target applications.
  • Stainless Steel Metal Substrate PCB: As the name signifies, it uses stainless steel metal as the base material. This type of IMS PCB also offers an improved thermal performance and a lower electrical performance, especially when compared to the aluminum and copper PCBs.

3. Venture Electronics

When it comes to picking a reliable IMS PCB manufacturer, one important factor to consider is the company’s expertise. We picked Venture Electronics because it offers a wide range of IMS PCB services.

It is important to point out here that the company specializes in the production of laser-targeted IMS PCBs, which can be used for a variety of applications.

Below are some of the additional reasons why working with Venture Electronics guarantees an all-around improvement to your IMS PCB:

Aluminum-Based IMS PCB

The company specializes in making IMS PCBs that are based on aluminum. It is one of the reasons why the company delivers exceedingly for dielectrics, which can potentially offer up to 10 times improved thermal conductivity.

Standardized IMS PCB

Venture Electronics has a standard for IMS PCBs, which is why the manufacturer produces only high-standard IMS PCBs.

Affordable IMS PCBs

You can also rely on Venture Electronics to offer some of the best IMS PCB services without having to charge an arm and a leg. The cost of getting this type of PCB from the company is relatively cheap, when compared to the other IMS PCB manufacturers.


Here is another IMS PCB manufacturer in China. MADPCB takes pride in offering extensive circuit board services, especially as they relate to IMS.

If you are looking for reasons to work with the company, here are a couple of reasons:

One-Stop IMS PCB Solution

You don’t necessarily need to look elsewhere for IMS PCB services if you are to work with MADPCB. The company offers an extensive service, in the sense that it offers most of the services you may want.

From custom design, fabrication and assembly of Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS) PCB, the company offers it all.

MADPCB also offers IMS PCB prototyping and production services. That way, you are certain that the company can offer any kind of IMS PCB service you want – from one platform.

MADPCB Manufactures Different IMS PCBs

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a single-sided or a double-sided IMS PCB. You can be sure that MADPCB will cover all those.

The company specializes in offering an extensive IMS PCB production service, which runs from aluminum core IMS PCB, double-sided IMS PCB and copper core IMS PCB.


If you have always desired to place an order for IMS PCB online and get it in good time, it is better to do so through a company that uses that medium. PCBONLINE is that online IMS PCB company that takes your order over the Internet and does a swell job out of it.

The company isn’t coming out of the blues, as it has been offering a wide range of PCB design services since 1999. For emphasis, the company’s resolve to offer an online medium for PCB services is to help bridge the gap between the consumers and the company as a way of streamlining the communication process.

If you are intent on picking PCBONLINE for your next IMS PCB project, here are a couple of upsides to doing so:

Certified IMS PCB Manufacturing Bases

There are up to 6 different kinds of standards in IMS PCB production. These standards are in place to help the manufacturing with sticking to the expected quality assurances of the circuit boards.

It is against that background that PCBONLINE offers multiple standards, ranging from IPC, ISO 9001:2015, UL, REACH and RoHS.

With these standards in place, you can be sure that the IMS circuit boards will meet the minimum requirements for each of the standards.

Cost Reduction

If there is any factor that influences the number of IMS circuit boards one can order for, it is the cost.

Depending on the specifications and a host of other factors, the cost could considerably be higher.

However, you may be able to save up on costs if you are working with PCBONLINE. The company tends to offer a significant reduction in costs because of the attainment of the industry 4.0 manufacturing for aluminum PCB.

The company also promises to save more costs and time via the independence of having a sheet factory for aluminum PCB.

Besides, you can benefit from the cost-saving mechanism if you are ordering for more IMS circuit boards. The manufacturer promises to charge $30 per square meters for bulk orders of the aluminum PCB.

One-Stop IMS PCB Production

PCBONLINE ensures that most of the IMS PCB services you will need are in-house. In this case, you can benefit from the free complete PCBA samples, the free design for manufacturing and the one-on-one engineering support.

Diversified IMS PCB Portfolio

No matter the type of IMS circuit board you need, rest assured that PCBONLINE would have you covered. The company has an extensive portfolio ranging from copper isolation-based PCBs, iron-based PCBs and stainless-steel metal substrate PCBs.

The manufacturer also produces the following kinds of IMS PCBs:

  • Aluminum metal substrate PCBs
  • Single-sided metal core IMS PCBs
  • Dual component-mounting side IMS PCBs
  • Multilayer dual component-mounting side IMS PCBs

IMS PCB Manufacturers Outside China

While China boasts of some of the leading manufacturers of the IMS circuit boards, the country doesn’t have it all. A couple of other experienced manufacturers operate outside China, especially in Europe.

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Here is a breakdown of some of the offshore IMS PCB manufacturers and the services they have to offer:

Euro Circuits

Euro Circuits serve the European market. The manufacturer offers high-performance Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS) boards that are designed for use with automotive, high-intensity LED, and power conversion applications.

The company offers the service via the IMS Pool, which allows for the provision of affordable IMS circuit board solutions.

Here are some of the inclusions in the Euro Circuits’ IMS Pool:

  • Analyses: the manufacturer offers extensive analyses to be certain that the IMS circuit boards are functioning optimally. Included here are the BOM and CPL analysis, as well as the PCB Checker, which is used to make pre-analysis of data before accepting an IMS PCB order.
  • PCB Configurator: this helps to check and upload the relevant design parameters before releasing the quotation or pricing for the job.
  • Short Lead Time: Euro Circuits don’t spend all the time in the world working on an IMS circuit board. The manufacturer has one of the shortest lead times, pegged at 5 working days for the bare IMS boards and up to 10 working days for the assemble IMS PCBs.

Multi Circuit Boards

This is the next offshore IMS PCB manufacturer, targeting the European market. Multi Circuit Boards specialize in the production of metal core circuit boards, which offer higher levels of dimensional stability, reduced failure rate, higher packing density and higher operational safety.

The following are included in the manufacturer’s IMS PCB service:

  • Design rule check and e-testing
  • Up to 100µm of insulation thickness
  • Clean and simple V-scoring
  • 2.0 W/mK thermal conductivity
  • Milling inner and outer

Momentum Circuits

Momentum Circuits promise to offer a considerable quality and cost-effective design to the Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS) PCB to users in the United Kingdom.

The company’s competing standards against other manufacturers range from the testing of the IMS circuit boards beyond the IPC requirements, the underwriting of every IMS circuit board it manufactures against attrition and component loss, as well as engineered cost-optimization for the aluminum and solid copper material PCBs.

The company also excels because of the following reasons:

  • The IMS circuit boards are optimized for use in the architectural and marine applications.
  • Halogen replacement and;
  • Automotive TS19949 approval


To wrap it up, there are numerous IMS PCB manufacturers you can find not just in China, but also in Europe. However, the key to picking the best manufacturer is to be acquainted with the manufacturer’s design process, the types of supported design standards it follows and the varieties of IMS circuit boards it produces.

Understanding What Castellated PCB Is, How It Works, And Its Uses

Generally, there are two forms of technology used when assembling PCBs. These forms are surface mount (SMT) and through-hole (THT). However, in recent years, a third and easier option is coming to the fore among board manufacturers, called board-to-board soldering. This technique is preferred when part of the assembly involves mounting a single module board on top of another.

To do this, the manufacturer would have to “castellate” the PCB; hence the name castellated PCB. This is becoming much more common in printed circuit board manufacturing as the demand for PCBs keeps soaring.

This article will help you learn castellated PCBs’ importance and usefulness in the industry. It also provides relevant details that will help you understand how it works. Keep on reading to have a good understanding of castellated PCBs in PCB manufacturing.

What Are Castellated Holes?

Castellations on a PCB, also called crenellations, plated half holes, or castellations, are through holes on a PCB that are cut and plated holes with specific dimensions. Their main use is to help create spaces on the edges of boards through which another board can be soldered onto the main board. Only when PCBs are castellated can they be joined with another board. However, all of these require preciseness and specificity.

Castellated PCBs make PCB board mounting and joining much easier. These holes act as a link-in between the module and the board when there is a need to solder on the module. The specified design of these holes – which make PCBs look more like cartoon cheese with incomplete, broken circles at the edges – offers the best alignment between boards during soldering and joining in the manufacturing process.

Creating castellations or plated holes is done for different PCB modules, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Each module is used as an independent part mounted on a separate board during PCB manufacturing and assembly. Surface Mount Technology and Through Hole Technology are the usual processes utilized during PCB assembly, but only when mounting boards are needed.

Why Castellated PCBs – Are They the Best Option?

Creating plated through holes on board edges helps manufacturers and designers replicate specific parts of a printed circuit board in a circuit. An example is when a circuit design includes inverters or feedback loops. These smaller sub-circuits can be produced en masse, tested, and soldered onto the mother PCB, which houses other parts of the circuit.

Below are other uses of castellated holes asides those discussed above:

  • They can function as breakout boards for a specific part of the bigger PCB.
  • Castellations allow for ease when changing the pin layout as required by the user.
  • Integrated modules can be manufactured on a PCB board with a castellation. This can also be used in another assembly during manufacture.
  • Castellated PCBs allow for easier mounting to a smaller PCB during the final manufacturing process.
  • Castellated PCBs aid the combination of boards by validating the quality of the solder joint.
  • Castellated holes help designers create wireless PCB links.

The Available Designs for Castellated PCBs

Different designs are available for castellated PCBs, and you must know what all these designs represent before settling for one. Some of the notable designs you may discover are listed below:

  • Half Holes
  • Mounting holes have smaller half-holes.
  • Holes tangent to the edge of the board.

Where Are Castellated PCBs Used?

Below are some of the numerous industries that use Castellated PCBs:

  • Power
  • Computer applications (hardware)
  • Automobiles
  • Consumer electronics
  • Industrial Control
  • Telecommunication

Recommended Specifications for Castellated PCBs

Certain design factors need to be met in castellated PCB design, depending on the final function and what it is to be used for:

● Size

In castellated PCB design, it is advised to use the largest possible size. This will help designers mount the PCB correctly.

● Pad design

It is recommended to use the biggest possible pad above and below. This also allows for easier mounting.

● Number of holes

This depends on the design, but it is common knowledge that a smaller number of available holes will result in a more difficult PCB assembly process.

● Hole diameter and distance

Half holes are recommended for use in standard and advanced circuit boards. The minimum diameter for the holes in a standard circuit board is 0.6mm. However, the castellated holes are advised to be smaller than this figure for advanced circuit boards. Finally, the minimum distance between plated through holes on a PCB is 0.55mm.

● Surface finish

This is very important when it comes to PCB mounting. While the application or use of the PCB determines the type of surface finish, ENIG is generally the most acceptable surface finish for PCBs.

Things to Note When Designing Castellated PCBs

A castellated board must be of high quality and yield after production. The process of castellated PCB design entails designing pads with castellations. However, this process is an intricate one. Any mistake is termed costly as it could influence the performance of your PCB.

When designing a half-hole PCB, the designer should be aware of some key factors, and they are listed below:

● Use the top and bottom edges when locating the hole

The first thing to note is that it is important to ignore the vertical edges while making the holes. This is because the edges typically function as bridges and are as important as every other part of the board. This ensures that the PCB board is always bridging.

While there are numerous designs for half holes, they vary in number due to software.

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● Holes with smaller lead-in holes

The castellations are ideal for any connector application and use. They also require a cutting tool or equipment to help create smaller holes where needed.


Castellated holes on PCBs are a very useful invention and offer various benefits. Knowing their benefits will help you channel your manufacturing prowess in the best direction for maximum profit and reduced process times when mounting and soldering. Also, producing durable castellated PCBs entails ensuring that the board is capable of withstanding mechanical stress, which will assist in preventing delamination and related faults during production and assembly.