Making the right materials choices for your PCB
PCBs are the backbone of electronic devices, providing the foundation for nearly every electronic product you encounter regularly. Consequently, choosing the right materials for PCBs is a critical step in the design process that will directly impact the performance, reliability, and longevity of the end product.
While the importance of choosing the right material combination cannot be overstated, it is equally true that navigating different choices is a difficult task, especially in an acceptable timeframe.
Terho Koivisto, sales manager in Finland at PCB supplier Confidee AS, told Evertiq that overspecifying your requirements can make it hard to find a compliant partner. If you're too strict in terms of allowed material types you might risk narrowing your choice of manufacturers, which can lead to non-competitive pricing.
The sales manager continues to state that your choice in material types and dielectric impedance requirements can all impact delivery if not stated correctly.
The end goal is a smooth process and reduced material issues at the order stage.
One thing to keep in mind is that one might experience longer lead times and higher costs when choosing “exotic” materials or material combinations for RF/Digital PCBs compared to standard FR4.
So either you plan ahead, or you work with people who handle complex supply chains and designs on a daily basis. Still, the general rule of thumb is don’t overcomplicate an already complicated situation.
The materials used in a PCB have a significant impact on the electrical, thermal, and mechanical qualities. The material combination chosen has a direct impact on factors like signal integrity, power consumption, heat dissipation, and overall durability. Different applications may require specific characteristics, making material selection a project-specific procedure.
So what is important to figure out is how, where and in what capacity your product will operate – and make de design choices based on this. Once that is completed cost considerations and availability and supply chain risks come into play. This is when a sourcing partner with insight and knowledge in both the design- and market aspects can prove to be valuable.
They can assess the material type in conjunction with the technology and find suitable suppliers and manufacturers – making sure that time to market is not compromised.
During Evertiq Expo Sophia Antipolis on February 8, 2024, Terho Koivisto's colleague, Alexandre Buia, Sales Manager France at Confidee, will delve into the realm of material alternatives and stack-ups. He will give you some ideas on what to keep in mind while choosing the best options for your printed circuits.
"Over-specifying in RFQs is a less-than-ideal practice, and it is crucial to address this issue and its potential consequences. This tendency is frequently observed in France as well. The tradition of providing specifications in an overly stringent manner has persisted, becoming a longstanding practice that has been passed down to newer generations. Some specification sheets date back to the 1980s and remain unchanged. It is high time to reevaluate and update these practices, to get the best quality and prices," Alexandre Buia tells Evertiq in a statement.