A Guide to Standard PCB Thickness

Most electronics are built on a printed circuit board (PCB). PCBs are typically single-layered and have basic construction.  People generally link PCBs with computer equipment, although they can also be found in radios, televisions, and cell phones. Several factors influence the performance of a PCB, including the manufacturing material, cost, fabrication, and prototype.

In addition, PCB thickness has a major impact on overall performance and reliability. It affects the resistance and conductivity of the PCB, thus achieving the thickness just right is essential. When we talk about a ‘standard’ feature or a reference measure of specific aspects, we’re talking about the perfect feature we aspire to accomplish. So that our product satisfies all performance, weight, durability, dependability, and quality tests.

The use of aluminum in PCB manufacturing is another step toward making them more accessible, affordable, and efficient. Only copper foils were used to make it at first.

Printed circuit board (PCB) sheets:

There are no established standard thickness measures for a PCB sheet; however, market value and choice decide the standard PCB thickness or the most generally used one. A variety of prepreg sheets and core thicknesses can be used to generate a wide range of thicknesses. There are numerous PCB thickness options available on the market.

What is the standard PCB thickness?

The current standard PCB thicknesses are 0.031in (0.78mm), 0.062in (1.57mm), and 0.093in (2.36mm). The most common thickness is 157mm (0.063inches). It’s crucial to remember, however, that circuit board thickness guidelines are also set by users or applications. Initially, plywood was used as a substrate, resulting in a thicker product.

The thickness of copper on PCBs:

In PCB functionality and application, copper is the most frequent and dominant metal. It’s because achieving a conventional board thickness with Copper, which weighs less than an ounce, is easier (oz). Surface finish possibilities may be limited if the PCB thickness is very thin.

There are several manufacturing and design criteria and aspects to consider, including:

The Design Elements that Influence and Influence PCB Thickness

1) Significant Cost Factors are those that are determined by:

  • Size of PCB
  • Number of Layers

2) PCB Complexity:

  • Number of layers
  • Number of vias

3) Materials used: the selection for the material is based upon:

  • Operational speed Frequency
  • Operating temperature (Max.)

4) Operating Environment

The Manufacturing Factors that impact PCB thickness

  • Size and number of holes.
  • Copper Thickness.
  • Tolerance.
  • Surface Finish.
  • Depanelization method.
  • Gap and track geometry.

To specify the PCB thickness, trace width calculators are used. It works in the same way as a regular calculator; you enter all of the facts and specifications, and the calculator calculates the thickness required. The calculator can calculate to the hundredth of a millimeter, allowing you to make an accurate and efficient decision. The thicker the deck, the less likely it is to wear out; however, if the application requires it, the thickness should be kept to a minimum.

Consider the following factors while deciding on PCB thickness:

For improved endurance and performance, consider the following criteria and specifications when determining the thickness of a PCB board:

Size, Weight and Flexibility:

When opposed to thicker boards, thinner boards are lighter, more flexible, more fragile. As a result, they’re more likely to snap. Although flex PCBs must be thin to be flexible, applications that do not require flexibility may benefit structurally from a thicker board.

Although thicker boards are more durable, they also hold more weight and take up more space inside a device. For lightweight applications or devices with limited space, both of these features could be a concern.

The thickness of copper:

The total thickness of the PCB is influenced by copper thickness. Copper is normally 1.4 to 2.8 miles thick, however, it can be tailored to match the needs of the board. Due to material requirements and production limitations, the thicker the copper and the thicker the board, the more expensive it is.

Materials for the Board:

The materials required have an impact on a PCB’s performance and durability, but board thickness has an impact as well. A common element of board production is the substrate, laminate, solder mask, and silkscreen. Since they provide the board’s framework and have a substantial effect on overall thickness, the laminate and substrate are the most important components to choose from.

The substrate can be constructed of paper and epoxy resin, glass weave, or ceramic, based on the desired dielectric constant. Laminates, on the other hand, are constructed out of thermoset resin layers sandwiched between layers of paper or cloth. Both laminates and substrates come in different options that affect not just the circuit board’s thermal, mechanical, and electrical qualities, but also its overall thickness.

The number of layers on a PCB:

The number of PCB layers will have an impact on the board’s thickness. While the thickness of 2-6 layer PCBs may be less than that of traditional PCBs, the thickness of 8-layer and higher PCBs may not. Although manufacturers may be able to achieve standard thickness by employing thinner PCB layers, as the number of layers increases, this becomes increasingly difficult. If your design necessitates additional layers, allow for a thicker PCB. If the design does not require multiple levels, reducing the number of layers is the best solution.

Way Forward

At times, staying on the trodden route is the best option, while at other times, going off the usual path is the best option. When it comes to PCB thickness, you have a lot of options. When you use a standard PCB thickness, your boards will almost likely be made faster and for less money. If you go with a custom thickness, make sure your CM has the exact capabilities your design requires.

The desired thickness may be achieved easily with the right manufacturing partner. The initial stage in customization is to determine a common core prepreg thickness and combine it with copper plating, copper foil, and solder mask in the correct order. Customized thickness can improve the design’s appeal and yield, as well as provide it with unique quality and performance.