Some of the best pieces of modern technology employ the use of multilayer PCBs. These PCBs include intricate layers that each have their circuit pathways. They are laminated together to be put into a variety of complex technologies such as smartphones, televisions, wearable technology, and even some medical equipment.
If you’re looking to create a multilayer PCB for the first time, there are some things you should consider before you get started. In this article, you’re going to learn five tips for creating the best multilayer PCB for your design and purposes.
1: USE SOFTWARE TO DETERMINE LAYOUTS
Single-layer printed circuit boards are unique to multilayer boards. They don’t require layering or stacking. However, this aspect is important in the creation of a functioning multilayer PCB. But why?
Multilayer PCBs will have several circuits that will send energy currents throughout the board to perform functions for the technology it is inside of. A lot of energy means a lot of heat! This can cause a variety of issues if not handled correctly in the design process.
Using design software can help you determine the best way to lay out your board to avoid overheating and electronic noise issues related to multilayer PCBs. It can also suggest the addition of components that are there to help address these specific issues. The software can take the guesswork out of proper layering and component displacement, as well.
2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT BOARD SIZE
When considering how to create the best multilayer PCB, you will need to make sure you choose the right size board for your technology. The size of your board will impact the circuit design as well as the various components that you will need to use. In addition, one layer of your multilayer PCB will likely have fewer or more circuit pathways than another layer.
Choosing the right board size will also decrease the risk of overheating your board. Overheating boards could lead to the board catching fire and burning, which can render the technology the board is assisting virtually useless.
3: CHOOSE THE RIGHT MATERIALS
As in the design of anything else, the materials you use will vary on the way the product is used. In the case of multilayer PCBs, there are several options when it comes to the materials you can use in the production process. Especially because multilayer printed circuit boards must be carefully designed with electrical stability in mind.
One of the best materials used for the production of multilayer PCBs is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This material is chosen thanks to its low dielectric constant and low loss properties. This means that it can easily adapt to changing and varying temperatures. You likely have used PTFE before in the kitchen, as it is a popular non-stick coating for frying pans.
More traditional, single-layer boards use fiberglass as their base material. However, this is not nearly as heat resistant as PTFE. As mentioned in previous sections, the design of your multilayer PCB must take heat distribution into account. Without proper heat distribution, you could run into several issues when it comes to the functionality of your board.
4: OPTIMIZE THE MANUFACTURING OF YOUR BOARDS
Manufacturing is increasingly important. Manufacturing issues can lead to problems that can render the technology useless. So, you have to make sure that your manufacturing process is set up properly to handle the creation of multilayer boards.
The stacking of the layers, lamination process, drilling, and etching of the board, and the testing processes will be different when creating multilayer boards. The fact that you’re making a multilayer board means that the sizes of your etchings, components, and drilled holes will all vary, but must be very specific for the ways you intend to use it.
5: PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO HOW YOU STACK YOUR LAYERS
One of the most important aspects of creating an effective multilayer PCB is how you choose to stack your layers. Adjacent signal layers should be routed in opposite directions, vertically or horizontally.
Routing them this way can decrease the likelihood of cross-communication issues. Additionally, routing signals in the same direction will send a ton of energy to one side or one area of the multilayer printed circuit board. This can result in overheating and render the board useless.
Also, pay attention to the lamination of the layers. This process will join all of the layers together and will add a protective coating on the outside of the condensed board. If laminated incorrectly, the board can be exposed to both inner and environmental heat at the same time, which can further increase the likelihood of the board overheating.
BENEFITS OF MULTILAYER PCBs
Now that you know some tips for creating multilayer PCBs, here are some of the reasons why your choice to make them will pay off:
To begin, multilayer PCBs are durable and flexible. This is because the material they are usually made of, PTFE, is considered a “soft” material. It is easily manipulated to fit into different spaces. It is durable because of this. It can absorb the impact of a drop, which makes it less likely to break.
In addition, because multilayer PCBs are essentially several single-layer PCBs laminated together, multilayer PCBs are powerful and compact. This has revolutionized the industry, allowing technology to evolve and become more mobile as the years go on.
Lastly, multilayer PCBs are of high quality. They are specially produced and, if you follow the tips above, you will see that a lot of effort is taken to ensure the boards are the best quality possible. This makes them perfect for technology like smartphones and laptops, which people hope to use for years and years before replacing.
Thus in conclusion, these five tips are sure to make the design and manufacturing of your multilayer PCB a breeze. Follow these tips to create a high-quality multilayer PCB.