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At PCB Global, we offer a range of Solder Mask colour options such as green, blue, purple, red, yellow, white, black matt and black gloss as well as the option to have no solder mask. These options apply to our FR4 (2-20 layer), Full Spectrum (1-40 layer) and Aluminum Printed Circuit Boards.

Once you have decided on your design of your Printed Circuit Board you need decide on options that will suit your requirements for your board. One of the options is the choice to have a solder mask and/or silkscreen legend. Why not deviate from the standard green printed circuit board and pick a color that will match your corporate logo?

It is important, even for your prototype PCB’s to have a solder mask and silkscreen legend for many reasons. Without the solder mask, your board would be plain copper, or what is known as a bare board with Tin Plating (tin, lead and usually a silver mixture). The Tin plating is placed on the bare board to allow soldering to take place and also slows down the rate of oxidation in the copper.

Today the Solder Mask application is LPI (Liquid Photo Image), which is applied to the production panel in a silkscreen printing process one side at a time. It is then dried in an oven and then the solder mask film is aligned to the pads and bared in an UV exposing machine then placed in a conveyorised developer to remove all the areas (SMT pads and holes) that will be required to have the surface finish applied later like HASL, Immersion Gold, OSP, etc.

The solder mask is a coating that protects the circuit from electrical shorts and corrosion as well as providing electrical insulation, allowing higher voltage traces to be placed at a closer proximity to each other. The most important function of the solder mask is to keep the solder on the pads, which will reduce the formation of bridges or unintended connections. In some cases, such as wave soldering, solder masks are a critical element of this process whereas in other cases, it enables a more efficient and more accurate hand solder job as the solder covers the entire board except for the pads. The colour of the solder mask is not vital to the function of the board, rather providing a distinctive colour to your design and enabling better visibility to your copper connections. There is an option to have a partial solder mask that will cover a specified part of the pad, rather then exposing the entire pad.  This would be ideal if there is a pad underneath a chip, leaving the pad exposed and vulnerable to solder bridges.

Exposed vias are usually covered with the solder mask and silkscreen as this will provide protection from corrosion and electrical shorts while also providing a larger surface area. If a board does not contain a solder mask, it is not an issue, it will mean that care must be taken when soldering as the solder mask reduces cost of mistakes and time taken to complete the solder and components.

Physical and Electrical Properties of the LPI Solder Mask Include:



100/100 (JIS D-202)

Pencil Hardness

7H (JIS D-202)

HASL Resistance

260℃/10 seconds ×3 times

Solder Heat Resistance

260℃/10 seconds ×3 times

Acid Resistance (before the solder)

≧30 minutes (10% H2SO4(aq),20℃)

Alkali Resistance (before the solder)

≧30 minutes (10% NaOH(aq),20℃)

Solvent Resistance

≧30 minutes (Trichloroethane,20℃)

Pressure Cooker Test

121℃2atm, 5Hr

Boiling Test

100℃, 5Hr

Dielectric Strength

1000V DC/mil

Volume Resistance


Surface Resistance


Insulation Resistance


Moisture and Insulation Resistance

5×1010Ω (In moisture)

1×1012Ω (Out of chamber)

Dielectric Loss Factor (tanδ)

0.025 (1MHz)

Dielectric Constant (ε)

3.4 (1MHz)


UL 94V-0




Next comes the option for the Silkscreen layer which is also called a ‘legend’ as this is a non-conductive ink used to place traces on a board as a means of instructions. It is utilised as a pathway to allow multiple traces and pathways, as this will not be conductive in the copper layers alone as the copper traces would interrupt the circuit. This also makes better use of the space on the board and provides a better contrast for a faster assembly. For prototype PCB’s the silkscreen is usually restricted to the top part of the board but in some cases it can be placed on both sides of the board if required.

PCB Global was created to minimize time taken in waiting for quotes and orders to be processed. We utilise these processes by adding you, the designer and engineer, to quote and order PCB’s to your specifications 24/7, 365 days a year, allowing you to test or create your product for your needs at a faster rate. 

Posted on 24/04/2015

One very important aspect of recent technological innovations involves the introduction of Rigid Flex Printed Circuit Boards in various high technology applications. Rigid Flex PCB’s are Printed Circuit Boards that are composed of various rigid areas along with various flexible areas. The rigid areas provide durability of the board while the flexible areas provide adaptability to the application of the board. Because of the PCB’s semi-flexible nature, it is commonly used in various military and medical electrical equipment.

Rigid flex PCB’s are made out of a combination of different materials, compared to standard non-flex PCB’s. The rigid areas are comprised of FR4 material, while the flexible areas are made from PI or PET. The connection joining the rigid to the flex is made up of epoxy or resin that allows for flexible and adaptable movements. Advantages of rigid flex PCB’s go beyond its adaptable shape, it is also highly resistant to temperature, resistant to static interference and is chemically stable.

The flexible boards are known as passive wiring structures, which are used to interconnect electronic components like integrated circuits, resistors and capacitors. In the consumer electronics industry, flexible circuits are used in cameras, personal entertainment devices, calculators and exercise monitors.

There are a large number of types of flexible circuits used in many various electronic devices. Some of which include; single-sided flex circuits, double access or back bared flex circuits, sculptured flex circuits, double sided flex circuits, multilayer flex circuits, polymer thick film flex circuits and not to forget, the most versatile to use, rigid flex circuits. Rigid flex boards allow integrated interconnection between several rigid structures. This technology allows the reduction in the required number of soldered joints as well as plug in connections along with the number of cables and wires required which reduces complication and increases quality and reliability.

The rigid flex printed circuit boards have many advantages over rigid PCB’s, but the main advantage is the maintenance of strong interconnections that are physically connected, rather then two separate entities that increase the strength of the connection whilst minimizing the space taken up by the board. The costs associated with producing the rigid flex boards are high as the processes in between each step of production, such as soldering and testing, are lengthy and must be done with great care.

There are two kinds of rigid flex PCB’s; one is a Semi-flex board and the other is a Multi-flex board. The semi-flex board is a lower cost option where the flexible areas consist of thin FR4 material, highly suited to a board created with a small number of bends. On the other hand, the multi-flex board consists of a polyimide film coating the entire surface of the board, flexible areas and rigid areas alike, suitable for applications that only require a small bend.

The multi-flex boards are known as hybrid designs as they are comprised of both rigid and flexible substrates by which the electrical interconnections between each layer are made through metal-plated vias, plated through-holes (which go through both rigid and flex areas) and/or micro-holes. Multi-flex boards allow both the rigid and flexible layers to be electrically connected by plated through holes. 

Multi-flex boards have a range of stack-up possibilities that provides the designer/engineer with a greater freedom when designing and selecting materials. There are two basic designs, which are commonly utilised in multi-flex boards; asymmetrical and symmetrical. The asymmetrical layer stack-up is the simplest form of any multi-flex board where the flexible material is placed on one side, and the rigid material is placed on the opposite side of the board; hence the term ‘asymmetrical’ as both sides are presented with different material. The stack-up on asymmetrical multi-flex boards is not limited to only single layers, as it can contain multi-layers. The amount or frequency of copper deposited when plated-through hole will determine the overall flexibility of the finished product. Designers/engineers must take this into consideration when designing a rigid flex board as well as considering the ‘conductivity’ when applying copper to the design. Multi-flex boards with asymmetrical layer stack-ups are relatively easy and cheap to produce.

When the flexible base is located between the two rigid layers, this is called a symmetrical layer stack-up in the multi-flex board. The flexible layer can be pre-fabricated according to the designer’s specifications. The conductive patterns of the middle flexible layers are selectively protected by the coverlays (which is a dry film solder mask) that must match the rigid exterior conductive patterns, forming a good registration of stack-up. Due to the symmetrical building and distribution of materials, the stack-up technique provides a higher mechanical and thermal stability as well as allowing a very high layer-count rigid flex board to be produced.

In respect to component assembly the rigid flex printed circuit boards can be handled and treated with the same production methods as per standard rigid printed circuit boards including being set up as a panelized production panels for assembly through SMT process ensuring efficient productivity.

PCB Global have supplied Rigid Flex Printed Circuit Boards up to 10 layers for many applications in Medical, Communications, Defense and Automotive just to name a few and has supplied customers with these applications all throughout Europe, USA, Australia and India.

For a fast quotation for all your Rigid Flex PCB’s requirements please email your design file to sales@pcbglobal.com, as these PCB’s are currently out of the spectrum of our online capabilities, however, quotations for standard rigid PCB’s up to 20 layers and Aluminum PCB’s up to 4 Layers please visit our web site www.pcbglobal.comfor an instant online quotation.

Our online capabilities include the standard 2 to 20 layer PCB’s, FR4 TG130/140, FR4 High TG=170, Thickness 0.8mm to 3.2 mm, Copper Finish 1oz - 2oz – 3oz & 4oz, Surface Finish - HASL Leaded and ROHS HAL - ENIG Immersion Gold with various solder mask and component legend colours. These qualities, among with our rapid rigid flex quotations, are unique to PCB Global as we have found no other online PCB manufacturer can offer these specifications or services in such a prompt lead time. PCB Global can offer a complete line of products and services from Standard, Fast and Express Quick-Turn Prototype manufacturing, low to medium volume pre-production to high volume mass production services, all at the click of a button!

Multilayer Printed Circuit Boards are made up of two or more PCB’s, which are stacked together to create a reliable mutual connection between them. The way Multilayer PCB’s are constructed is to allow for a much higher component density meaning better conduction and connection. There are at least three conductive layers in one multilayer PCB with the two outside layers and the one layer synthesized and encapsulated by the outer insulation. It is due to the complex manufacturing procedures and lower production volumes that the cost for multilayer PCB’s are generally quite high.


Multilayer PCB’s are used in many basic and complex electrical items, depending on the amount of layers required and used. Most of the basic items require 4-8 layers and the more complex electronic equipment with high speed circuits require above 8 layers, usually 8-40 layers. These boards are typically utilised for professional electronic equipment such as computers and military equipment. The number of layers on a multilayer PCB is identified as the number of separate conductor patterns, which are usually an even number and includes the two outer layers.


The process of manufacturing multilayer PCB’s starts with the Front end tool data Preparation, whereby the engineer or designer prepares his/her layout on a Computer Aided Design (CAD system) which uses their own internal data format, later extended into a Gerber File. The Gerber Files provide information for the copper tracking layers required as well as the solder mask and all other various options for the board.


Once the Factory has established a final confirmation from the designer, Photo tools are created by a Photo plotter, which provides an image of the PCB’s. This image provides information for the machines to print the inner layers. The inner layers are created with an epoxy resin, Laminate, and comprised of a core of glass fiber which includes copper foil pre-bonded to each side of the resin.


The next step involves using a powerful alkaline solution to dissolve or ‘etch’ the inner layers to remove the unwanted copper as per requirement. The inner core areas of the multilayer PCB is now complete. Next the required holes are punched in to meet and align the inner layers to the outer layers. This process is known as the Register Punch and Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI).


After the required holes have been created, it is now time to bond all the layers together and then move into drilling the PCB. The holes for leaded components are drilled as well as the ‘via’ holes that connect the copper layers together. An x-ray drill is used to locate these previously created ‘target holes’. The via holes described here are holes that penetrate the whole board. In the case of many multilayer PCB’s, when the design does not penetrate the whole board, to utilise the space of certain layers for other circuit patterns, ‘Blind’ and ‘Buried’ Vias are used. Blind Vias connect at least one of the inner layers with one of the surface layers without penetrating the whole board, while Buried Vias only connect to inner layers so they are impossible to see.

The next step involves plating, using a chemical deposition of a very thin layer of copper to cover the inside of the holes drilled. The outer layers are imaged to ensure that there are no short circuits in the board. The boards are then electroplated with copper and then they are checked to ensure there is a good electrical connection.


The outer layers are then etched, to remove any excess and unwanted copper. To protect the ‘wanted’ copper, the areas required will be coated with Tin as a protective barrier. After this process, the solder mask is printed on to each side of the board to protect the copper surface and prevent the solder from short-circuiting between components during the assembly. A solderable surface finish is applied to the copper for protection until the components have been soldered onto the board.


If the board requires edge connectors, gold is electroplated onto the board with protective tape placed above the connectors to protect the rest of the board. A silk screen provides an image of the legend to where the components will be place and this is placed on the board. Every multilayer board is electrically tested with a flying probe tester to ensure that there are no open circuits or any areas of short circuits.


The final stage before the final inspection is to profile and cut the PCB’s out of their production panel or as per request of the customer, it can be ‘V-Cut’ on a scoring machine to partially cut the boards out. 


PCB Global is the only manufacturer in the world that can supply 4 layer to 20 layer Printed Circuit Boards On-line with the fastest manufacturing lead times with our Express Delivery Service as listed below;


LAYERS                     EXPRESS Delivery

4 layer                        2 working days

6 layer                        3 working days

8 layer                        4 working days

10 layer                      4 working days

12 layer                      5 working days

14 layer                      5 working days

16 layer                      5 working days

18 layer                      6 working days

20 layer                      6 working days


Our online capabilities cater for the above 4 to 20 layer Printed Circuit Boards, FR4 TG130/140, FR4 High TG=170, Thickness 1.6mm to 4.8 mm, Copper Finish 1oz - 2oz – 3oz & 4oz, Surface Finish - HASL Leaded and ROHS HAL - ENIG Immersion Gold with various solder mask and component legend colours. These qualities are unique to PCB Global as we have found no other online PCB manufacturer can offer these specifications or services in such a prompt lead time. PCB Global also offer a complete line of products and services from Standard, Fast and Express Quick-Turn Prototype manufacturing, low to medium volume pre-production to high volume mass production services, all at the click of a button!

For a fast quotation for all your standard PCB’s up to 20 layers please visit our web site www.pcbglobal.comfor an instant online quotation.

The Indian Electronics industry is said to be valued at 25 Billion US Dollars as there are many high-technology products and services made in India and produced to serve the high demand of the worldwide market. These high-technology innovations would not be possible without the utilization of high tech Printed Circuit Boards. PCB Global has recently entered the Indian electronics market with both rigid flex Printed Circuit Boards and 10 layer Printed Circuit Boards. The Indian electronics industry is primarily comprised of the development and maintenance of communication systems such as radio broadcasting, telephone and telegraph communications and defense capabilities. India is known to be the fifth largest economy of the world with the second largest Gross Domestic Product among many emerging economies. Its large population is responsible for the large demand of customers and the super set of skilled labour made available to the global market in many avenues of business.

Globalisation of the Indian economy was only recently liberated from primarily government ownership in 1984, as rapid growth was experienced in the Electronics Industry due to swift economic changes on a global scale. The swift economic transformations experienced around the whole world were accelerated by the development of many export-orientated industries such as the electronics industry. Foreign investment into India was encouraged by 1991, which aided in the reduction of custom tariffs and licensing of many products and services, increasing foreign collaboration and investment. This step broke down barriers for many other Asian nations to not only trade but increase competition in the electronics industry, increasing the level of complexity and capabilities for many Printed Circuit Boards used in many of these high-tech electronic products demanded by many western nations.

Consumer electronics in India only accounts for 30% of the Indian Electronics market, driven by the large demands of foreign countries. The main sections of the electronics industry in India today comprise of Electronic Components, Computer and telecommunications, office electronics and consumer and industrial electronics. 

The success of the Printed Circuit Board Industry in India can be likened to factors such as low manufacturing costs for skilled labour and raw materials, availability of highly skilled engineers and its ability to meet the demands of not only the Indian Electronics Industry but also the worldwide Electronics Industry. With the help of PCB Global, many Electronics companies and skilled Engineers in India have access to obtaining even higher technologies in Printed Circuit Boards from other advanced markets around the globe. India contains many of the most highly skilled engineers, while PCB Global provide these engineers with the opportunity to innovate their skills, to bring more advanced technologies not only to India but the rest of the world.

India’s increasing high technologies have created greater demand for growth of many electronics manufacturing sectors which has assisted in boosting their economy and productivity in the electronics industry on a worldwide scale, competing with the manufacturing outputs provided by countries such as China and Taiwan. PCB Global is the ideal partner for many countries such as India as we pride ourselves on our advanced technologies enabling PCB Global to also offer our Full Spectrum PCB Technologies for 1 layer to 40 layer Printed Circuit Boards with a multitude of substrates and technologies through our online portal.

Our online capabilities include the standard 2 to 20 layer PCB’s, FR4 TG130/140, FR4 High TG=170, Thickness 0.8mm to 3.2 mm, Copper Finish 1oz - 2oz – 3oz, Surface Finish - HASL Leaded and ROHS HAL - ENIG Immersion Gold with various solder mask and component legend colours. These qualities are unique to PCB Global as we have found no other online PCB manufacturer can offer these specifications.  

Put our system to the test! Start your free online quotation by clicking the ‘ONLINE QUOTE’ tab for an instantaneous quote on your Printed Circuit Boards. As a full service Printed Circuit Board supplier, PCB Global offer a complete line of products and services from Standard, Fast and Express Quick-Turn Prototype manufacturing, low to medium volume pre-production to high volume mass production services, all at the click of a button!









New Zealand is an island country located in the South-Western Pacific Ocean, only 1,500 kilometres from Australia. Geographically it compromises of two land masses as well as numerous smaller islands. New Zealand's economy is focused mainly on trade and approximately one third of total goods and services made are exported.     

Many products of expertise such asaviation, medical devices, precision engineering and marine manufacturing are produced and exported from New Zealand as they are known to produce many modern, high precision products and services that integrate robotics, software, electronics, sensors as well as advanced materials such as high performance plastics, composites and light or special purpose metals.
Many internationally recognized innovations in the medical, aviation and technological industries have been produced through combined efforts of Australia and New Zealand. Some of these include the cochlear implant, satellite navigation, airport landing systems and solar cell technologies.

New Zealand has the capability to design and engineer high-technology production and monitoring systems for industry and utilities. This includes automation equipment, sheet metal forming equipment, industrial robots, drying kilns, heat exchangers, industrial fans, air pollution control, filtration and noise control solutions, precision tool making, engineered fabrications and electronic measurement and control systems.

Australia and New Zealand together have a very broad range of trading partners throughout the Asia Pacific, heritage links with Europe as well as many political links with the United States. Amongst other countries, Australia and NZ are part of an international co-operation known as the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation (APEC). This co-op was formed to help promote open trade as well as a more practical economic co-operation throughout the Asia Pacific Region. It is estimated that the combined output of all APEC members accounts for almost half of world exports and more than half of world Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 

New Zealand is a very competitive yet developed country in which many industries drive niche production and sales in exporting to the rest of the Asia Pacific region. The country's strength is manufacturing high value but low volume products.

New Zealand’s proximity and preferential access (bilateral and multilateral agreements) is a benefit when it comes to access/trading with high-growth economies in the Asia Pacific region with countries such as including Australia, China and the ASEAN countries. The time zone difference of Australia and New Zealand amongst many of the Asian countries only equates between 2 to 5 hours. Due to this small time range and excellent time overlap, this allows for easy communications between Asia and the US enabling better and more timely trades to take place.

Australia’s close proximity to New Zealand can be brought even closer through PCB Global’s new smartphone and tablet compatibility. In an ever-evolving world surrounded by growing technologies, simple day–to-day activities can now be completed any time, any place and anywhere around the Globe with just a swipe of a finger and a touch of a single button. Whether it’s on your way to work, visiting customers who require quotes, working back at home, in the middle of the night when the rest of the world is asleep or daybreak when everyone else is just waking up, PCB Global’s easy 24/7/365 automated quoting and ordering system is available and ready to cater to your Prototype PCB requirements.

Currently offering the fastest 2 to 20 layer online quotations of Printed Circuit Boards in the world, there is now a new and improved method of rapid PCB quotation. PCB Global’s website and ordering system is now offered and available on any Tablet or Smartphone device for you convenience in generating instant quotations of your Printed Circuit Board Design.
Emails regarding quotes for Full Spectrum PCB requirements, over 20 layers, can be sent 24/7/365 from any continent of the world to our team at PCB Global. Our team will be ready to assist you at their earliest convenience, pending time zone origins.

Follow the link below to visit our website or find our instant online quote and ordering system with a simple touch of a button on your Tablet or Smartphone device at www.pcbglobal.com

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