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Many do-it-yourself players will find a dizzying array of PCB's in various board and card products on the market. Common PCB colors are black, green, blue, yellow, purple, red, and brown. Some manufacturers have also developed PCB in different colors, such as white and pink.

In the traditional impression, black PCB seems to be positioned at the high end, while red, yellow and so on are low-end dedicated, is that right? We know that both sides of PCB are copper layer. In the production of PCB, the copper layer will get smooth and unprotected surface no matter it is made by adding or subtracting method. Although the chemical properties of copper are not as active as those of aluminum, iron and magnesium, pure copper and oxygen are easily oxidized in the presence of water. Because of the presence of oxygen and water vapor in the air, the surface of pure copper oxidizes quickly upon contact with air. And the copper layer in the PCB is very thin, the oxidized copper will be a poor conductor of electricity, which will greatly damage the electrical performance of the whole PCB.

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To prevent copper oxidation, as well as separate the soldered and non-soldered parts of the PCB during soldering, and to protect the PCB's surface, engineers developed a special coating. This coating can be easily brushed on the PCB surface, forming a protective layer with a certain thickness and blocking the contact between copper and air. This layer is called the solder mask and is made of solder mask paint.

Since it is called as lacquer, it must have different color. Yes, the original solder resist paint can be made colorless and transparent, but PCBs often require tiny text printed on the board for easy maintenance and manufacturing. Transparent solder mask can only show PCB base color, so no matter in manufacturing, maintenance or sales, the appearance is not good enough. So engineers added a variety of colors to the solder paint, resulting in a black or red or blue PCB.

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From this point of view, PCB color has nothing to do with PCB quality. The difference between the black PCB and the blue PCB, yellow PCB and other colors of PCB lies in the different color of solder resist paint on the final brush. If the PCB design and manufacturing process are exactly the same, the color will not have any impact on the performance, nor will it have any impact on the heat dissipation. As for the black PCB, its surface wiring is almost completely covered, which causes great difficulties for later maintenance, so it is not convenient to manufacture and use a color. Therefore, in recent years, people gradually reform, abandon the use of black solder resist paint, and use dark green, dark brown, dark blue and other solder resist paint, the purpose is to facilitate manufacturing and maintenance.

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So far, we have basically understood the problem of PCB color. As for the reason that "color represents high or low grade", it is because manufacturers like to use black PCB to make high-end products, with red, blue, green, yellow and other low-end products. The bottom line is: products give meaning to colors, not colors give meaning to products.

Let's talk about the precious metal on PCB! Some manufacturers in the promotion of their own products, will specifically mention their products using gold, silver and other special processes. So what's the point of this process? PCB surface to weld components, a part of the copper layer is required to be exposed for welding. These exposed copper layers are called pads, which are usually rectangular or round and have a small area. In the above article, we know that the copper used in the PCB is easily oxidized, so the only copper exposed to the air after the paint is applied is the copper on the pad. If the copper on the pad is oxidized, it will not only be difficult to weld, but also increase the resistivity, seriously affecting the final product performance. So, engineers came up with all kinds of ways to protect the pad. For example, coating the surface with inert metal gold, or coating the surface with silver by chemical process, or covering the copper layer with a special chemical film to prevent the contact between the welding pad and the air.

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From this point of view, whether gold or silver, the purpose of the process itself is to prevent oxidation, protect the pad, and ensure good yield in the following welding process. However, different metals will be used, which will require the storage time and storage conditions of PCB used in the production plant. Therefore, PCB factories usually use vacuum plastic machines to package PCB before PCB production is completed and delivered to customers for use, so as to ensure no oxidation damage of PCB to the maximum extent. Before the final component is welded on the machine, the board card manufacturer should also test the oxidation degree of PCB, eliminate the oxidation PCB, and ensure the yield. The final customer received the board card, is a variety of tests, even after a long time to use the oxidation will almost only occur in the plug and plug joint, and the welding pad and already welded components, there is no impact.

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