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[Solve] How Many Types of PCB Are in the Electronics Industry?


Sat, Jul 11, 2020

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Here, we will explain the basic knowledge of printed circuit boards (PCB) and types of PCBs as easily as possible. In this post, we plan to post more specialized content for "super beginners" separately.


Part 1. What is a Printed Circuit Board (PCB)?

The circuit board is the backbone of practically all electronics. But it has long been more than just a conductor track carrier. It is an electronic component that can do so much more than just connect chips.

To understand the types of PCBs, you need to understand their structure first. A PCB includes the prepreg and core material.

Prepreg is a base material in which glass cloth is impregnated with resin (mostly epoxy) and cured to the B stage. Used for insulation between layers when molding the core material and copper foil of multilayer boards.


Copper-clad laminate is a material that is the base of board manufacturing also called CCL. Copper-clad laminates are made by impregnating glass cloth woven with highly insulating glass fiber with resin.

Now, you have a basic understanding of the PCB and its structure.

Let's see different types of PCBs.

Part 2. Six Types of PCB - Classified by Its Parts and Structure

The classification of types of PCBs is based on the parts and structure used. The main six types are as follows:

types of pcb

Rigid board

This type of board often has hard copper or epoxy resin components. So it has high strength and is easy to mount electronic components.

Flexible board

A rigid and high-strength printed circuit board is called a rigid board, while a printed circuit board that uses flexible plastic film is called a "flexible board". Since this type of printed circuit board can be bent, it is often used for moving parts of electronic devices.

Rigid flexible board

A printed circuit board that combines a rigid board and a flexible board is called a "rigid-flexible board". This type of board has the advantages of both high flexibility and strength. Making it easy to mount electronic components, but it also has the disadvantage of being slightly larger in size.

Build-up board

A printed circuit board with multiple layers is called a "build-up board". These types of PCBs were mainly used as a component of high-performance computers in the 1980s.

Single-sided board

Of the rigid boards, the one with printing or electronic components mounted on only one side is called a "single-sided board". This type of printed circuit board is not suitable for forming complex electronic circuits. It has significant advantages in terms of cost reduction.

Double-sided board

A "double-sided board" is one that has both sides printed and electronic components mounted on it. This type of board is more suitable for forming a complicated electronic circuit than a single-sided board. It has the disadvantage that it costs more.

The above is a general classification of types of PCBs. You may have heard of some advanced kinds such as high-frequency PCB, multilayer PCB, and flexible PCB, which are not listed above. However, you can refer to PCBONLINE, which manufactures, designs, and provides one-stop customized service for all kinds of high-end PCBs.

Part 3. Different Types of PCB - Classified by the Substrate

Two Types of PCB - Classified Broadly

The types of PCB boards can be broadly divided into:

  • paper phenol
  • glass epoxy

Paper phenolic board is made by hardening paper base material with a phenolic resin containing oil and fat.

Although it is inferior to glass and epoxy in electrical characteristics and heat resistance. It is widely used for consumer use because of its low price, and the production volume including overseas is the largest.

Glass-epoxy substrates are used for circuits that require strength, and insulation. There are various other materials for printed circuit boards. There are composite substrates that mix paper and glass base materials, and flexible substrates that can be bent using plastic films as base materials.

In addition, ceramic substrates such as hybrid ICs and SAW filters are sometimes used.


Seven Types of PCB - Classified in Detail

Here is the detailed classification of different types of PCBs.

Paper phenolic substrate

This is the most common PCB in modern types of PCBs. This is a printed circuit board made of paper impregnated with phenol resin. Also called a baking board.

It features high workability and low cost. It is mainly used for single-sided boards and is used in consumer electronic devices.

Paper epoxy board

This is a printed circuit board made of paper impregnated with epoxy resin. It has superior heat resistance, hygroscopicity, insulation resistance, and high-frequency characteristics compared to paper phenol substrates.

However, these characteristics are inferior to those of glass/epoxy boards. In addition, they are positioned as intermediate characteristics between paper phenol boards and glass/epoxy boards.

It is mainly used for single-sided boards, and specific applications include consumer electronic devices.

Glass composite substrate

This is a printed circuit board made of a material in which epoxy resin is impregnated into a base material. It is a mixture of glass cloth and glass nonwoven fabric.

It has almost the same electrical characteristics as a glass/epoxy substrate. But it has poor mechanical strength and dimensional stability. It is often used for double-sided boards.

Glass/epoxy substrate

This is a printed circuit board made of glass cloth impregnated with epoxy resin.

Although the dimensional change is small and the high-frequency characteristics and insulation resistance are high. Similarly, the cost is relatively high.

In addition to double-sided boards, it is also used in multiple types of PCB boards. It is used in personal computers, consumer electronic devices, and office automation equipment.

Teflon substrate

A printed circuit board that uses Teflon resin as an insulating material.

Due to its excellent high-frequency characteristics, it is used in electronic devices that handle signals of several hundred MHz to several tens of GHz.

Alumina substrate

This is a printed circuit board that uses a green sheet that is made by mixing aluminum oxide and a binder and sintering it.

It is also called a ceramic substrate and is characterized by excellent high-frequency characteristics. 

The disadvantage is the high cost. It is used in microwave equipment and wireless communication base stations.

LTCC board

It is a multi-layer board manufactured using the method of low temperature co-fired ceramics (LTCC).

Since a multilayer board using aluminum oxide as material needs to be baked at a high temperature of 1500°C, it is not possible to perform simultaneous baking with a wiring pattern using low melting point copper. By adding glass-based materials to aluminum oxide, LTCC substrates can be fired at temperatures as low as 900°C.

This makes it possible to perform simultaneous firing with a wiring pattern of low melting point material such as copper or silver built-in.

Perhaps this is the reason it is the favorite type of PCB among PCB manufacturers.

It is used as a substrate for high-frequency modules and semiconductor packages.

Among the types of PCB, especially flexible boards are excellent in flexibility and may be built in the movable part of the product. If you are looking for excellent flexible boards, you can choose from PCBONLINE, which has more than 15 years of high-end PCB manufacturing experience.

PCBONLINE’s capability:

  • Layer: 1 ~ 42
  • Laminate: normal Tg/high-Tg/lead-free/halogen-free
  • Surface finishing: OSP/HASL/LF HASL/immersion ENIG/immersion tin/immersion silver
  • Board thickness: 0.15 ~ 3.2 mm
  • Max board size: 500 × 580 mm
  • Copper thickness: (inner finish copper) 1-4oz, (outer finish copper) 1-7oz
  • Min. line width/spacing: 0.0635 mm/0.0635 mm
  • Min. CNC drilling size: 0.15 mm
  • Min. laser drilling size: 0.075 mm
  • HDI stack up: 1+N+1, 2+N+2, 3+N+3

Conclusion - Expanding demand for printed circuit boards in the world

This time, we explained the roles, types of PCB, merits, and structures of printed circuit boards that are used almost exclusively in electronic devices. 

Printed circuit boards can be classified into many types based on their characteristics and processing methods. Simultaneously, in the future, small high-performance electronic devices will be developed around the world by further utilizing these characteristics.

The above is our classification of the different types of PCBs. If you want to know more about the advanced types or are in need of a high-end PCB for manufacturing your items, check PCBONLINE.

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