Plating Simulation – our New Tool for PCB Designers

A simulation of the galvanic copper deposition in PCB manufacturing

Before we manufacture a PCB, we carefully analyse the data we receive to catch any potential production issues which may affect the quality and the long-term reliability of the finished product. Any issues we find are reported back to the customer for discussion and resolution.

Until now galvanic plating is the one area where we have been unable to predict accurately how a particular design will perform. The thickness of the plated copper deposited on any part of the board depends on the layout density. If the density is low we risk over-plating; if the density is high we risk under-plating. Over-plating (too much plated copper) means that component holes may become too small. Under-plating (too little plated copper) may weaken the hole walls so that plated-through connections may crack during assembly and lose long-term reliability.

The goal is an even copper density and even plating across the PCB. When we place PCBs on our production pooling panels we take this into account as far as we can. We can also place extra copper patterns between or around the PCBs to even out the density (so-called robber bars). However we can only go so far to achieve a uniform plating as we cannot modify the actual design of the PCB. This can only be done by the designer.

Historically designers have had no tools to help them evaluate copper density. Today Eurocircuits can offer a solution, an image of the board colour-mapped to show potential areas of over- and under-plating.

We use special plating simulation software which divides the board into small cells. The copper density in each cell is compared with the average for the whole board and the cell is assigned a colour. Lower than average copper density is coloured on a scale from green (average), through yellow and orange to red. The more red, the lower the relative density and the higher the risk of over-plating in those areas. Cells with a higher copper density are coloured on a scale from green to dark blue. The more blue, the greater the risk of under-plating.

Armed with this visual data the designer can add copper areas where the density is low or reduce large plane areas .


We will also provide a plating index which measures the uniformity of copper density on the board. A completely uniform board has an index of 1 which means that no plating problems are expected. Lower values show less uniformity, highlighted on the visual image by the red and blue areas. If the index falls to 0.4 or less, then special attention is required. In the example shown above the plating index is 0.30. The blue under-plated area is clearly visible.

These new tools can provide guidance for a designer. We provide the plating image when a new order is placed. This plating image is part of the PCB image – a realistic representation of your PCB that we send out together with your order confirmation. In the near future this plating simulation will become part of the Place Inquiry function. We will run a full battery of manufacturability checks and produce a report. We will also produce the plating image, so that the designer can see if he can make any changes to improve the uniformity of the plating.

After modifications the plating index is now 0.65. The picture shows a uniform plating.

Of course, there may be design constraints which make a less uniform copper density unavoidable. Here we are rolling out a further solution to enhance the quality and reliability of the finished PCB. The Elsyca Intellitool Matrix plating project will further enhance the uniformity of the final plating.

BINDI pool – Eurocircuits’ Asian alternative – spot on for you!

“BINDI pool” – Eurocircuits” Asian alternative with European assured quality

Do you need medium-volume 2-layer PCBs – up to 12 sq.m (roughly 1600 circuits 100 x 80 mm)?

Do you need Asian prices with European assured quality and delivery, plus European shipping rates and no customs delays?

If so, you need Eurocircuits” new BINDI pool.

We are already well known for our online prototype and small batch PCBs. Our users trust us to deliver top quality boards on the right day, at the right price, reliably and consistently. To maintain this level of trust we only sell what we make ourselves in our own factories in Germany and Hungary.

BINDI pool is no different.

Many of our users need larger quantities of boards. They insist on the same reliable quality and delivery, the same ease of online ordering and at lower cost. But combining larger and smaller volumes in the same plant doesn”t work.

BINDI pool is the answer.

We”ve had our own front-end engineering operation in India since 2000. Now we have set up a manufacturing plant, Eurocircuits India, right next door.

BINDI pool offers.

  • Up to 12 sq. m of 2-layer boards (1600 half-Eurocards)
  • Made in India, using the same materials as in our factory in Hungary.
  • Final inspection of the boards in our factories in Europe
  • Shipped at EU rates to your door.

BINDI pool same service, same quality, lower cost.

In detail, BINDI pool offers:

  • 1 or 2-layer plated through hole PCBs
  • Delivery: 15 or 20 working days
  • Minimum track width and isolation distance: 0.150 mm
  • Minimum hole size: 0.25 mm
  • Surface finish: lead-free HAL
  • Material thickness: 1.00 mm, 1.55 mm, 2.4 mm
  • Copper thickness (foil before plating): 18 microns (half-ounce); 35 microns (1 ounce)
  • Delivery panel separation: break-routing or V-cut
  • Solder-mask (top, bottom, both, none): green, black
  • Legend (top, bottom, both, none): white
  • Max. board size: 550 x 425 mm
  • Min. board size: 5 x 5 mm
  • Slots and cut-outs: 2.00 mm, 1.2 mm
  • Bare board tested: yes
  • Advanced options: Peelable mask; top, bottom – Customer specific markings – Customer specific tolerances – Copper to board edge
  • Stencil: unframed 130 micron stainless steel: eC-compatible or custom

To access BINDI pool go to BINDI pool in the price calculator

 

Explore the BINDI pool service definition here

 

 

BINDI is the Hindi word for the bright red spot decoration applied in the centre of the forehead close to the eyebrows, symbolizing the third eye. We hope our BINDI pool service is spot on for you!