A high-quality, reliable Prototype PCB Assembly will be composed of appropriate materials. Based on the desired cost and performance of the finished board, certain materials will work better for a given specification. Below, we list a few tips for choosing the right materials for your Prototype PCB assembly project.
Each PCB Prototype Assembly project presents a unique set of material needs. Consider what threshold your project will require for heat and power. Maximize cost efficiency by selecting the least expensive material which will still meet performance specifications. As a rule, when performance increases, so does the cost. Review the following materials to determine which will be the best balance of cost and performance for the project.
FR4 (fiberglass) is the most common PCB material. It is durable, easily manufactured, and a popular choice for general use. This flame-retardant fiberglass also performs well in a wide range of humidity levels. FR4 is among the most inexpensive materials to use. As such, it may not be adequate for LED light, microwave, or high-heat projects.
Rogers materials serve as a sort of “upgraded” version of FR4. In fact, Rogers material is essentially FR4 with copper coating. The coating, of course, renders this material more costly than the uncoated fiberglass. However, Rogers materials are appropriate for more demanding jobs, such as RF, microwave, or high-speed designs.
Moving away from fiberglass altogether, metal core is built around a plate made of aluminum, copper, or an alloy. The major advantage of a metal core is its performance in high-heat or heat-sensitive projects. The metal plate is designed specifically for heat distribution and is most commonly made from aluminum.
For smaller, lighter products, consider High Density Interconnector (HDI) material. HDI material is rapidly growing in popularity due to its performance in increasingly small gadgets. Heat transfer is kept to a minimum, and vias can blind or buried. This material supports microvias, which are .006 in diameter (or smaller.)
The quality and longevity of a PCB Assembly can have a lasting impact on the designer’s reputation (and future clientele.) Selecting the best materials for a given project can enhance PCB reliability and quality. Use the points above to determine which material will be right for your PCB project.
BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project: 224-387-3283