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PCB/PCBA knowledge
What-is-rigid-PCB-and-how-is-it-designed---an-indispensable-guide

These days rigid PCB can be founded in a variety of fields. The global rigid PCB market is estimated to be worth USD 33.23 billion by 2023, according to a new report by Markets. This represents a CAGR of 4.54% between 2018 and 2023. In this article, you can learn something about rigid PCB from its definition and design.

Table of Contents

What is a rigid PCB?

what-is-rigid-pcb

Rigid printed circuit board (Rigid PCB), which is one of the categories of PCB, is solid and fails to be folded and twisted. This makes them best for those in which flexibility is not required. It is a common component in electronic devices that are applicable in day-to-day products that we all rely on for different tasks like computers, mobile devices, medical equipment, etc.

What is a rigid PCB made of?

What-is-a-rigid-PCB-made-of

For every layer’s substrate layer, a copper layer, a solder mask layer, and a silkscreen layer are the primary layers. The substrate layer is the primary layer which is made use of fiberglasses like FR-4 or different fiberglass sorts. Fiberglass provides inflexibility to the board. The rigid material provides structural stability to the board, which prevents it from bending or flexing when it carries high-voltage currents through its conductive tracks.

The second layer is a copper layer, in this layer copper foil is placed all over the substrate layer by applying heat and paste. Most time each side of the board is covered by copper however, to make the product more economical it may come up with a single side.

The third layer is the PCB solder mask layer this layer is used as a protective layer. The solder mask layer protects the copper layer in case of some conductor material comes in contact with it.

The silkscreen layer is placed above the solder mask layer to make the given board easier to understand. For this purpose, characters or symbols are added. And to make the characters more visible white color is used, however, other colors are also available.

The strengths and limitations of rigid PCB

The-strengths-and-limitations-of-rigid-PCB

  • Pros of rigid PCBs

1. Make it easier to solder.
2. It provides mechanical support for the board.
3. Rigid PCBs can be manufactured in batches which lowers manufacturing costs.
4. The components are soldered on both sides, which reduces the risk of short circuits.
5. Less surface area, which means less chance of corrosion or other environmental issues.

  • Cons of rigid PCBs

It fails to be twisted like a flexible PCB when it comes to design changes, so they might be more expensive than flexible boards if you need to make many changes during the design phase.

Difference and similarity between rigid PCB and flexible PCB

Composition-of-rigid-PCB-and-flexible-pcb

SimilarityDifference
  • All of them belong to PCB types.
  • In terms of thickness and hole size, the design specifications for flexible and rigid PCBs are equivalent.
  • Flexible and rigid PCBs are manufactured using identical steps.
  • Rigid PCB core material provides it additional strength and rigidity. On the other hand, the flexible PCB type uses a material that gives the flexibility to fit the intended application.
  • In rigid PCB as a conductive fabric, electro-deposited copper is used whereas flexible PCB uses flexible rolled annealed copper.
  • The cost for rigid PCB is much less than flexible PCB
  • Rigid PCBs provide high degrees of strength. While flex PCBs provide better tolerance of external factors, dissipate heat, and stand vibrations.
  • Due to the presence of different layers in rigid PCB, its weight is slightly more than flexible PCB.

Where can a rigid PCB be used?

Rigid PCBs are used in many applications areas, such as:
1. Computers, Laptops, and smartphones.
2. Medical Equipment: CT scan, MRI, X-Ray, Heart Monitor.
3. Industrial equipment.
4. Home Appliances.
5. Military and Defense system equipment.
6. Aerospace and automotive.
7. Satellite system and anywhere which requires a complex circuit system.

Production process of rigid PCB

Production-process-of-rigid-PCB

Step 1: Preparation of required materials – All processes of rigid PCB start with bare production boards then it will pass to the application of photoresist film.

Step 2: Exposure of Circuit Pattern – this step is followed after the board passes the photoresist film application. In this step, different circuit patterns are printed on the given PCBs. This process is performed by applying UV light to the given board.

Step 3: PCB Etching: After the circuit layout is prepared on the board the next step will be to print the diagram on the board. This process is performed by chemical and circuit design. Specialized handling equipment and Automated chemical etching machines are used.

Step 4: PCB Drilling: The next step in rigid PCB production is to drill the holes for the circuit patterns once the circuit pattern has been etched into the board. The drilled holes must stick to the given requirement. To perform this operation there are two types of equipment the first one is specialized drilling machines and laser drilling to create precise and clean holes quickly.

Step 5: Copper Plating – is used to make the interconnection between layer-to-layer on the circuit board by adding additional copper. This operation is performed by an automated coper planting system.

Step 6: Coverlay Application and Coverlay Lamination – In coverlay application a coverlay laminate is placed over the PCB for performance and protection reasons also, this process is used to align and tack the laminates into place, and this process is performed by hand.

After coverlay application the next step is coverlay lamination in this step, the boards are placed in specialized lamination machines the lamination machine provides heat, vacuum, and pressure. This help to make sure the lamination process is performed correctly.

Step 7: Mounting – Mounting is the process of assembling the component into the given PCB through the drilled holes by using leads and a soldering iron.

Step 8: Testing. After all steps testing is performed to make sure whether the product operates correctly.

Tips for the rigid PCB design

tips-for-rigid-pcb-design

  • Space out your components 

In the PCB we should put the space between components should good this helps the PCB from any problem that arises due to materials being placed close to each other.

  • Utilize a suitable drawing package

Before printing the circuit diagram first you should have good drawing packages. This helps to place the required materials in the exact location.

  • Keep the power supply circuit in check

within a given PCB there should be a power supply, and that power must maintain within a specific area. And other components also generate some noise therefore they must keep with cooling materials to reduce the noise.

  • Give the primary side importance

This concept is more works for double-sided PCB. So, if the PCB is double sided the heavy materials should be placed on the primary side.

  • Choose the type of assembly according to the size of the order

Based on the size of the PCB the assembly process is performed in different ways starting from hand to automated assembly process.

How to select a rigid PCB manufacturer?

  • Product quality and certification of quality 

As we know quality is the best measure when we chose the best PCB manufacturer, and the product quality must certify by standards organizations like ISO and other organizations which provide quality assessment.

  • Cost

Cost is another determining factor in choosing the best PCB manufacturer when we say cost there are different costs like product production cost, shipment cost, and others that require money. So, while we chose the best manufacturer, we should also check the overall cost.

  • Ability to produce on your desired specification

While choosing the best PCB manufacturer you should consider a service provider which produces as your given requirement all manufacturers did not provide service equally.

  • Time of delivery (On-time delivery)

Best manufacturers provide the service that you requested on time. So, before ordering their product you should check their track record and prove whether they deliver on time

Usually, IBE Electronics Co., Ltd provides the best PCB products according to the above criteria.

you asked we answer

Rigid printed circuit board (Rigid PCB), is one of categories of PCB, is solid and fails to be folded and twisted.

  • Advantages

1. It is easier to solder
2. It provides mechanical support for the board
3. Rigid PCBs can be manufactured in batches which lowers manufacturing costs
4. The components are soldered on both sides, which reduces the risk of short circuits
5. Less surface area, which means less chance of corrosion or other environmental issues.

  • Disadvantages
    It fails to be twisted like a flexible as flexible boards when it comes to design changes, so they might be more expensive than flexible boards if you need to make many changes during the design phase.
  • Space out your components
  • Utilize a suitable drawing package
  • Keep the power supply circuit in check
  • Give the primary side importance
  • Choose the type of assembly according to the size of the order

Conclusion

Generally, rigid PCBs are more easily manufactured and have shorter lead times. This makes them ideal for applications where time is of the essence, such as in prototyping or high-volume production also they provide strength and connection reliability. IBE, with more than 17 years of experience in PCB manufacturing and owning a professional R&D team with complete equipment, enables you to receive your satisfied rigid PCB products based on your demands and requirements.

 

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