Why PCB Thickness Matters in Electronic Manufacturing

pcb thickness

Perhaps the most crucial components of every electrical device or machinery are the PCB — printed circuit boards. Different devices require different types of PCB in order to function properly. When it comes to PCB, one of the most important factors is its thickness. It determines the efficiency and conductivity of a PCB, so knowing your way around the different types of PCB thickness is very important.

In this article, we will explain why PCB thickness is such a crucial factor. We will also take a look at the industry standards and what you should consider when ordering non-standard or custom PCBs.

Why Is PCB Thickness Important?

Modern PCBs generally use copper in their design, since the metal is extremely efficient in conducting electricity. While the copper in PCBs is usually only one of the multiple layers, it still remains the essential component. The thickness of the copper and the overall board is key to determining the PCB’s functionality, heat resistance, and overall conductivity can vary. To put it simply, thickness is an important factor to determine where and how a specific PCB will be optimal.

When ordering a PCB, you will always clarify what level of thickness you would prefer. This is by no means a simple question since you need to take a lot of things into account when making the decision. Before we dive into the specifics, let’s see if there is an industry standard when it comes to PCB thickness.

Is There a Standard for PCB Thickness?

There is not a single official standard for PCB thickness. However, there are frequently used sizes that are preferable and common. Your PCB manufacturer might advise you to stick to one of those since it will reduce production time and lower your overall costs. Your most basic PCB will be 1.57 mm thick since this was the size bakelite sheets had in the early days of PCB manufacturing. The measure has since stuck and is generally regarded as a standard.

Modern boards come in a wide range of thicknesses. Commonly used PCB thicknesses include 0.78mm, 1.57mm, and 2.36mm. The thickness of a PCB depends on a range of criteria that cover both manufacturing and design choices. Some of those criteria include:

  • Number of PCB layers
  • Materials used
  • Copper thickness
  • Types of signals
  • Operating environment
  • Vias types

However, common PCB thickness sizes will not always work for your project. When discussing your needs with a manufacturer, you might end up in need of PCBs with custom thickness. Let’s take a look at what those are and how you should go about ordering them.

Custom PCB Thickness

If you are in need of PCBs with custom thickness, you might encounter some problems. It all depends on the contract manufacturer (CM) you are working with. Since PCBs are manufactured in panels or sheets, most CMs will have all common sizes in stock or will be able to order them on short notice. The same cannot be said about custom thickness — the CM might not have the equipment to process such PCBs or your schedule might suffer while you wait for an order to arrive.

Given those facts, you need to think carefully when going with custom thickness PCBs. Below, we will take a look at the important factors you need to consider when opting for non-standard or custom PCBs.

What to Consider When Ordering Custom Thickness PCBs

  • Your CM’s Capabilities are the first thing you need to keep in mind. As we already mentioned, not all CMs have the equipment needed to manufacture any board thickness. Upon your initial discussions with the company, make sure you determine the thickness needed for your project, as well as any other requirements. You will not have to make last-minute modifications or totally re-design your PCB layout at a later point.
  • Next, carefully think about your delivery schedule and the overall logistics process. Manufacturing PCBs with custom thickness will almost always involve some sort of delay. As we already mentioned, many CMs are simply not capable of processing such products on short notice. Make sure that does not affect your overall development quality.
  • Finally, custom PCB thickness often comes with additional expenses. After all, additional labor, materials, and manufacturing are necessary in most cases. The costs for your project will definitely increase if you go with non-standard PCBs, so make sure you take that into account before making your order.

Standard vs Custom PCB Thickness

As you can see, board thickness is not only essential to the efficiency of your PCBs — it is also an important part of the success of your overall project. If you go with standard PCB thickness, you can rest assured that your order will be completed fast and at a reasonable price. If, however, you need custom PCB thickness, make sure you follow the points we have outlined above.

With custom PCB thickness, you need to choose a CM that has the capability, equipment, and expertise to do the job right.

How MKTPCB Can Help You

If you are looking for a reliable partner in PCB design and manufacturing, look no further than us. MKTPCB is a full-service PCB supplier based in Shenzen, China. Our company opened in 2006 and since then we have helped numerous clients with their standard and custom PCB needs. Our modern factory is fully certified and capable of producing over 1,000,000 square meters of PCB per year.

MKTPCB employs a team of experienced engineers who have the necessary expertise to take on projects of all sizes. With us, you get a partner who can help you with all stages of your order — from design and manufacturing to inspection and delivery. Our commitment to customer service is well-known and we strive to provide our clients with the highest quality of PCBs on the market.

Ready to discuss your PCB needs with us? You can get in touch with our team via mail, phone, or the contact form on our website. Once we know the size and scope of your project, we will promptly present you with a quote. Contact us today for all your PCB needs.

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