A 6 layer PCB is a printed circuit board with six layers of conductive copper traces separated by insulating layers called substrates or prepregs. 6 layer PCBs are popular when a design requires moderate complexity in signal routing and power distribution with the need for optimum space utilization and EMC requirements.
The two outer layers of a 6 layer PCB are typically used for routing signals and are called signal layers. The two inner layers are typically used as power and ground planes, providing a stable power source to components on the PCB and acting as a ground reference plane. The remaining two layers, also known as internal layers, are used to route signals or as additional power or ground planes.
6 layer PCBs are commonly used in various applications such as computer hardware, consumer electronics, automotive electronics, and medical devices. They offer advantages such as improved signal integrity, power distribution, and reduced electromagnetic interference (EMI) susceptibility.
Designing a 6 layer PCB requires careful consideration of the layer stackup, routing strategy, placement and spacing of components, thermal management, and EMI/EMC compliance. A well-designed 6 layer PCB can provide optimal performance and reliability while minimizing space utilization and production costs.
6 Layer PCB Raw Substrate Materials
In PCB manufacturing, the Tg value of a typical PCB material is greater than 130 degrees, with high Tg values being generally in excess of 170 degrees. Meanwhile, medium Tg values are typically around 150 degrees. High-Tg printed circuit boards are often described as high-temperature PCBs due to their elevated Tg values.
Multilayer circuit boards, such as 6-layer PCBs, typically require high-Tg value plates for manufacturing due to the increased thermal stability required by complex and densely populated boards. High-Tg materials offer superior resistance to heat and ensures the board is highly reliable and durable even under extreme temperatures.
As a PCB manufacturer, we understand the importance of selecting the appropriate PCB material for manufacturing based on the specific requirements of each project. For multilayer boards, we primarily use high-Tg value plates to ensure that the final PCB meets the necessary thermal standards and durability required of the project.
Design Considerations for 6 Layer PCBs
Here are some important design considerations for 6 layer PCBs:
Layer Stackup: The layer stackup of a 6 layer PCB needs to be carefully designed to balance the electrical and mechanical requirements of the board. A typical 6 layer stackup consists of two outer layers, two signal layers, and two inner plane layers (power and ground).
Routing Strategy: Due to the complex nature of 6 layer PCBs, the routing strategy is critical for efficient signal flow and electrical performance. Some important routing strategies to consider include:
● Avoiding traces crossing over splits in the power or ground planes.
● Keeping high-speed signal traces short and minimizing parasitic capacitive and inductive effects.
● Using differential traces to reduce EMI and crosstalk.
● Implementing proper decoupling to reduce power supply noise.
Power and Ground Planes: Placing power and ground planes in adjacent inner layers can help to provide a stable, low-impedance power source. Power planes should be designed to handle the required current while minimizing voltage drop, and ground planes should be continuous to provide a stable reference.
Thermal Management: Proper thermal management is crucial to prevent heat-related damage to components and ensure reliable operation. Some considerations include:
● Using thermal vias to dissipate heat to the inner layers of the board.
● Minimizing the distance between hot components and thermal relief pads.
● Using heat sinks to dissipate the heat.
Component Placement: Proper component placement is necessary to reduce the trace length and minimize electromagnetic interference on the board. Some key considerations include:
● Placing critical components closer to the power and ground planes to reduce the loop area.
● Avoiding placing noisy components close to sensitive analog circuits.
● Making sure there is adequate space between components to allow for proper cooling.
EMI/EMC Compliance: Considering EMI/EMC compliance during the design phase can help to minimize signal interference and ensure reliable operation. Some important considerations to address EMI/EMC issues are:
● Minimizing the loop area of critical signal paths by placing a ground plane beneath them.
● Utilizing EMI/EMC suppression techniques like using shielded cables and filtering components.
● Designing proper EMI shielding to protect the circuit.
● These are just a few of the important design considerations to keep in mind when working with 6 layer PCBs.
Manufacturing Process for 6 Layer PCBs
The manufacturing process for 6 layer PCBs typically includes the following steps:
● Designing the PCB: This step involves designing the layout of the board using a PCB design software and ensuring that the design meets the necessary electrical and mechanical requirements.
● Preparing the substrate: The substrate material is prepared by cleaning and roughening the surfaces to ensure good adhesion of the copper layers.
● Applying the copper layers: Copper layers are applied to the substrate material through one or more of the following methods:
● Electroplating: This involves depositing copper onto the substrate material through an electrolyte solution.
● Lamination: This involves layering sheets of copper foil onto the substrate material and bonding them together using heat and pressure.
● Drilling: Holes are drilled into the PCB to provide electrical connections between the layers. These holes are plated with copper to form vias.
● Imaging and Etching: A photoresist material is applied to the copper layers, and the circuit pattern is transferred onto the board by exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light through a photomask. The exposed areas are then etched away using a chemical solution, leaving the circuit pattern.
● Applying Solder Mask: Solder mask is applied to the board to protect against oxidation and prevent solder bridges.
● Silkscreen Printing: Text, symbols, and graphics are printed on the board using a silk screen process to provide component identification and other information.
● Inspection and Testing: The completed PCB is inspected for defects and then tested to ensure that it meets the required electrical specifications.
● Final Finishing: The PCB is finished with an appropriate surface finish such as immersion gold or HASL to protect the copper layers from oxidation. The boards are then separated from the panel and shipped.
6 Layer PCB Prototype Delivery Time and Cost
As an experienced multilayer PCB manufacturer based in China, JarnisTech prides itself on offering competitive pricing without compromising on the quality and speed of services. We specialize in the production of high-quality 6-layer prototype PCBs at an affordable price point.
The process of 6-layer prototype fabrication represents a quick, cost-effective and efficient solution to verify stack-up and design, locate errors and defects, and consequently minimize losses before commencing mass manufacturing.
At JarnisTech, we offer both express and regular 6-layer prototype manufacturing services for our clients. Express prototyping can be completed within 72 hours, while regular 6-layer prototypes normally take 5-7 working days from order placement to shipping.
To obtain a free quote for your 6-layer PCB project, simply provide us with your PCB Gerber files and specify the desired quantity. We are committed to providing prompt and comprehensive feedback to meet your specific PCB manufacturing needs.
The Importance of 6-Layer Board Stackup in PCB Design
Multilayer printed circuit boards have been a staple of the design industry for decades due to the ever-increasing demand for electronic components to be packed onto a single board. This has warranted the need for innovative PCB design technology and manufacturing techniques to support such components. The 6-layer stackup was initially created to incorporate additional traces on a board beyond its 2- or 4-layer counterparts. Today, the 6-layer stackup holds greater importance, requiring its correct configuration to optimize circuitry performance.
If incorrectly configured, a PCB layer stackup may experience electromagnetic interference (EMI) and poor signal performance. However, with a well-considered 6-layer stackup, impedance and crosstalk issues can be minimized, while maximizing circuit board reliability and functionality. Notably, a well-designed layer stackup can guard the board against external noise sources. Thus, the correct 6-layer stackup configuration represents a critical element in PCB design to increase the circuit’s overall performance and reliability. These are just a few examples of 6-layer stackup configurations that ensure optimal PCB design.
How Many Types 6-Layer Board Stackup
In the process of manufacturing a printed circuit board (PCB), determining the required number of signal, power, and ground layers is crucial in meeting the application-specific requirements. For example, configurations intended to control signals will require an increased number of signal layers.
The following are some examples of 6-layer PCB stackup combinations suitable for various applications:
● Signal Layer, Ground, Power, Ground, Signal Layer, and Ground
A well-designed PCB with a combination of low and high-speed signals can be efficiently achieved using the stackup that combines the inner layer sandwiched between two ground planes. This setup ensures high protection for the inner layer while simultaneously allowing a mix of low and high-speed signals.
Given its location between two ground planes, the inner signal layer is well-protected from surface signal layers. The conductors in this arrangement also provide effective protection and help to suppress any electromagnetic interference (EMI) interactions with the inner signal layer.
In this configuration, it is worth noting that components can only be placed on the top layer, and the ground layer can be cut out from the bottom layer to make room for components. This adjustment can help optimize the PCB design to function optimally based on specific requirements.
● Signal layer, Power, 2 Signal layers, Ground, and the Signal Layer
The stackup arrangement discussed here represents a common entry-level solution for PCB design. This configuration provides protection for low-speed traces and a strong connection with solid planes. Slow switching speeds can be effectively utilized in routing signals, or alternatively, inner layer routing in an orthogonal direction is achievable.
Notably, this arrangement has a drawback in that there is no interplane capacitance. The plane layers in this case differ, making it necessary to use additional decoupling capacitors to mitigate this issue and compensate for a lower level of capacitance.
● Ground Signal layer, Ground, Power, Ground Signal Layer and Ground
The stackup configuration being discussed is an ideal solution for suppressing electromagnetic interference (EMI) for circuit boards that are intended for use in noisy environments or in areas with high radiation. Additionally, this setup is well-suited for scenarios that require high isolation between signal layers.
This particular configuration consists of two signal layers, which can limit the available board space for routing signals. However, jammed conductors can be utilized to accommodate the signal layers.
The collection of layers that make up the PCB board, including the copper layer, core board, and PP layers, is referred to as the PCB stackup. Different user requirements can be met by a PCB board with a laminated structure that has the same number of layers.
Multilayer PCBs (such as 6-layer PCBs) have at least three layers of conductive material, where each layer is electrically connected via holes. This arrangement provides improved performance, reduced EMI, and enhanced thermal management for complex and densely populated boards.
As a result, each of these 6-layer stackup combinations can be used to optimize the PCB design for specific applications depending on their specific requirements. Hence, it is imperative to consider the peculiarities of each application when selecting the appropriate stackup configuration.
Advantages of PCB Stack Up
Multilayer circuit boards provide several advantages over their single-layer counterparts, including more intricate and compact designs. The stackup of circuit boards also offers numerous benefits that can enhance the functionality, durability, radiation reduction, and reduce manufacturing costs.
Multilayer boards are capable of maximizing the speed and functionality of electronic equipment, resulting in more powerful functions. Additionally, stacking multilayer PCBs can effectively protect the inner circuit board layer from external factors, increasing the durability of the board. Radiation reduction is another advantage of a well-designed PCB stackup, particularly in high-frequency and high-speed circuit boards. Improper impedance design can lead to higher EMI radiation.
Stacking multilayer PCBs can also reduce manufacturing costs by consolidating multiple circuits onto a single board. This approach can effectively reduce signal crosstalk and impedance issues that often arise in single-layer boards.
Regardless of your level of expertise in electronic component manufacturing, a high-quality 6-layer PCB manufacturer is critical to meet your needs. It is crucial to procure these PCBs from reputable sources such as Jarnistech, a trusted multilayer PCB factory that has been providing quality-driven 6-layer and multilayer printed circuit boards for many years. Jarnistech has developed circuit boards suitable for use in miniature smart devices, military and healthcare equipment, among other applications.
JarnisTech: Capacity for 6-Layer PCB Manufacturing
● Copper thickness bare PCB: 1/3OZ~ 30OZ.
● Finish PCB thickness: 0.6mm~6MM.
● Min. Line Width: 2.5MIL.
● Min. Line Space: 2.5MIL.
● Min. Hole Dia: 0.1MM.
● Aspect Ratio: 10:1 (8.1).
There are various surface methods used in PCB manufacturing, including OSP, HASL, immersion silver (AU), plated gold, immersion nickel, among others. However, clients prefer immersion silver, plated gold, and immersion nickel for multilayer PCBs. These surface methods are more efficient compared to OSP and HASL when it comes to soldering components to PCBs.
Immersion silver, plated gold, and immersion nickel have a superior surface finish, which provides excellent solderability and good electrical conductivity. They also form a stable and solid layer, which prevents oxidation and corrosion, resulting in better performance and durability of the PCB.
On the other hand, OSP and HASL surface methods are less expensive and easier to process. However, they are not as efficient as immersion silver, plated gold, and immersion nickel for multilayer PCBs since they provide inferior surface quality, which can lead to reduced solderability and reliability issues.
As a leading PCB manufacturer, we prioritize the use of immersion silver, plated gold, and immersion nickel surface methods for our multilayer PCBs to ensure that our clients receive high-quality PCBs that meet their requirements and offer excellent performance and durability.
How to Select 6 Layer PCB Manufacturer ?
As a consumer seeking a reputable 6-layer PCB manufacturer, you may find yourself asking who the biggest and best PCB manufacturer in the world is. It is understandable to have these questions when searching for the right manufacturer to suit your specific needs.
While there are numerous options available, it can be challenging to determine the best one for your project. However, there are several factors that you should consider when selecting a 6-layer PCB manufacturer:
● Capabilities: When considering a PCB manufacturer, it’s essential to assess their capabilities to determine whether they possess the necessary expertise, knowledge, and resources to fulfill your specific project requirements.
A reputable PCB manufacturer should have a comprehensive understanding of various materials, production methods, and the latest developments in the industry. In addition, they should have a clear understanding of your project needs, including design specifications, project deadlines, and any other specific requirements.
A manufacturer with the capability and resources to provide additional design, assembly, and testing services will be better equipped to meet your specific project requirements. They should have advanced technologies and the capacity to scale up production as per your demands, leading to timely production, exceptional quality, and reliable professional services.
It is also essential to evaluate a manufacturer’s ability to meet tight deadlines and flexibility in accommodating unforeseen changes or rush orders. A reliable manufacturer should provide clear communication channels and contact personnel that can address any issues that might arise, leading to timely delivery and meeting or exceeding your expectations.
● Cost: While selecting a manufacturer, it’s also crucial to consider the cost of the PCBs. Cost is an essential factor that needs to be evaluated while estimating the total budget of the project. A reliable manufacturer should provide transparent pricing that aligns with your project requirements and quality standards.
When considering pricing, it’s important to assess the manufacturer’s ability to offer affordable pricing without compromising quality. This could include any discounts and specials they may provide for bulk orders or other promotional offers.
In addition to PCB pricing, it’s also important to evaluate the cost of any additional assembly services offered by the manufacturer. A great PCB supplier should provide competitive pricing for their assembly services whilst maintaining high-quality standards.
● Quality: As a consumer searching for a 6-layer PCB manufacturer, quality is the most important factor to consider. Without high-quality products that meet your specific project needs, your efforts to develop and produce a reliable device would be futile.
A manufacturer’s quality standards and processes directly influence the reliability, performance, and lifespan of their products. Therefore, it is essential to look for the manufacturer with a reputation for producing high-quality PCBs that can withstand wear and tear and consistently perform their intended function.
A manufacturer with strong quality assurance processes and tight controls throughout their production process will produce PCBs that meet or exceed industry standards. They achieve this by checking every crucial attribute of a PCB, including board layout, traces, vias, holes, and more to ensure they meet the desired specifications.
● Delivery Time: Ensuring that a PCB supplier meets your quality standards is crucial when ordering any type of PCB. Additionally, it’s important to consider the expected delivery time and whether the manufacturer is accommodating regarding rush orders.
The length of time it takes for a manufacturer to complete your order can impact the project timeline heavily. Therefore, a reliable manufacturer should provide realistic delivery estimates for each order type and communicate any changes transparently.
While understanding how long an order may take is a crucial aspect to consider when selecting a manufacturer, it is also important to remember the need for flexibility. A great PCB manufacturer will have solutions in place to meet unexpected changes to your delivery requirements, such as possible rush orders.
● Technical Support: In addition to factors such as quality, capacity, location, and cost, technical support is another critical aspect to consider when selecting a 6-layer PCB manufacturer. While many manufacturers offer some degree of technical support, the extent and quality of this support can vary significantly.
Having access to reliable technical support is critical to a smooth production process, particularly for complex and challenging projects that may require specialized knowledge and expertise. It is essential to ensure that the manufacturer provides comprehensive technical support throughout the entire production process, from initial design through to final manufacture.
The quality and depth of technical support provided can range from basic consultation services to more advanced troubleshooting, testing, and design support. A manufacturer’s ability to provide effective technical support can often make a significant difference in the final product’s quality and functionality.
● Reputation: In addition to other key factors, such as quality, cost, capacity, and technical support, one should also consider customer feedback and the manufacturer’s reputations when selecting a PCB maker. The opinions of other customers and businesses can provide valuable insights into the manufacturer’s track record and expertise in the industry.
A reliable PCB maker with a solid reputation will possess a considerable amount of positive feedback from their past clients. Therefore, it is essential to conduct due diligence and research the manufacturer’s customer feedback and reviews to get a better understanding of their quality, reliability, and customer service.
One must look for a PCB manufacturer with a strong reputation, established through consistent delivery of high-quality products, reliable and timely services, and exceptional customer service. A good PCB supplier should always strive to meet or exceed the expectations of their customers, leading to positive feedback and glowing reviews.
● Customer Service: In addition to factors such as technical support, quality, capacity, location, and cost, customer service is another essential aspect to consider when selecting a 6-layer PCB manufacturer. Having access to responsive and helpful customer service during the order process can significantly impact the entire production experience.
Before selecting a manufacturer, it is crucial to evaluate their customer service policies and ensure that they meet your needs. A good manufacturer should have a clear set of policies in place that outline their communication channels, turnaround times, and response rates.
A manufacturer with a robust customer service team will be able to provide prompt and comprehensive assistance related to a variety of issues, such as order status updates, delivery tracking, payment processing, and more.
Excellent customer service also involves providing detailed information about the production process, such as design reviews, material selection, printing capabilities, and testing procedures. This information can help consumers make informed decisions about their project requirements and ensure that the manufacturer can meet their specifications.
Applications of 6 Layer PCBs
6 layer PCBs are widely used in various electronic and electrical applications that require higher complexity in signal routing and power distribution. Some common applications of 6 layer PCBs include:
● Telecommunications: 6 layer PCBs are widely used in telecommunications equipment such as routers, switches, and modems for their high-speed signal routing and reliable power distribution.
● Industrial Control Systems: Industrial control systems use 6 layer PCBs for their ability to handle high-frequency signals and power requirements while occupying minimal space.
● Medical Devices: Medical devices require a compact form factor with high-density circuits, making 6 layer PCBs a suitable choice for ECG monitors, pacemakers, and other medical devices.
● Automotive Electronics: 6 layer PCBs are popular in the automotive industry because of their ability to handle high vibration, shock, and temperatures. They are used in various automotive applications such as engine control units, infotainment systems, and power management.
● Aerospace and Defense: 6 layer PCBs are used in aerospace and defense applications such as avionics, missiles, and satellites for their reliability, high-temperature tolerance, and ability to handle high-speed data transmission.
● Consumer Electronics: 6 layer PCBs are used in various consumer electronics including smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles for their high-density interconnects.
Troubleshooting Common Issues with 6 Layer PCBs
Here are some common issues that may arise with 6 layer PCBs and some troubleshooting solutions:
Signal Integrity Issues: Signal integrity issues may occur due to inadequate power and ground planes, impedance mismatch, noise, and crosstalk. These can be mitigated by:
● Properly designing the power and ground planes and ensuring they are connected properly.
● Avoiding sharp corners and right angles on traces and ensuring trace lengths are kept to a minimum.
● Keeping traces that carry sensitive signals away from high-current traces.
● Using balanced differential signals to reduce noise and crosstalk.
Manufacturing Defects: PCBs can develop faults during the manufacturing process, such as open circuits, shorts, or incorrect trace routing. These can be addressed by:
● Conducting a Design for Manufacturability (DFM) review prior to manufacturing to detect and address potential issues.
● Carrying out Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) and X-ray inspection after manufacturing to detect faults and defects.
Thermal Management Issues: Thermal issues arise due to excessive power dissipation, inadequate cooling, and poor thermal management. To address these, you can:
● Ensure adequate spacing between components to allow for proper airflow.
● Use thermal vias to improve heat dissipation and ensure heat spread across multiple layers of the board.
● Use heatsinks or other cooling solutions for components that generate a lot of heat.
Electrical shorts: Electrical shorts occur when two or more traces or components come into contact with each other, causing a short circuit. This can be resolved by:
Conducting continuity tests to locate the short circuit and test the PCB.
Fixing the short-circuit issue by removing extra solder or using a solder mask to cover the shorted path.
Insufficient EMI/EMC Protection: The PCB may be susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI), which could cause signal interference and reliability issues. To address this, you can:
● Ensure that the ground plane is properly connected to the chassis of the device.
● Use shielding to protect vulnerable components and circuits.
● Implement proper EMI/EMC design guidelines and practices during the PCB design phase.
Future Trends in 6 Layer PCB Technology
Here are some potential future trends in 6 layer PCB technology:
● Miniaturization: The trend towards smaller and more compact electronic devices will drive the development of 6 layer PCBs with even higher layer counts to accommodate more components in smaller spaces.
● IoT and Wearables: As the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable technology continue to grow, the demand for flexible and thin 6 layer PCBs will increase.
● Higher Frequency and Signal Integrity: With an increasing emphasis on high-speed data communication, 6 layer PCBs with enhanced signal integrity capabilities and higher frequency tolerance will be required.
● 3D Printing: 3D printing technology has the potential to revolutionize the way PCBs are manufactured, and could lead to the development of more complex 6 layer PCBs that are easier to produce.
● Integration with Sensors: The integration of sensors into PCBs could lead to the development of 6 layer PCBs that are capable of sensing and responding to their environment in real-time.
● Enhanced Reliability and Durability: In addition to performance enhancements, the development of 6 layer PCBs with improved reliability, durability, and resistance to environmental factors such as heat and moisture will be a key future trend.
A 6-layer PCB stackup is an excellent option for various applications due to its numerous benefits, including superior electrical and mechanical properties. Regardless of your level of expertise in electronics manufacturing, it’s important to partner with a high-quality 6-layer PCB manufacturer to achieve the desired results.
When selecting a manufacturer, it’s essential to conduct due diligence to ensure that you get your facts right. This involves gathering information on the manufacturer’s reputation, capabilities, quality assurance protocols, production processes, and pricing.
Working with an experienced 6-layer PCB manufacturer with a proven track record is critical in guaranteeing that you get top-quality PCBs that perform optimally and deliver reliable results. Choosing a reputable PCB supplier means that you have access to high-quality and cost-effective options that are proven to work in various applications and industries.
At our company, we offer top-of-the-line 6-layer PCB stackup services that meet even the most complex design requirements. Our state-of-the-art technology, skilled team of experts, and strict quality control procedures ensure that our clients receive the highest quality products that perform reliably, consistently, and cost-effectively. Our reputation for delivering exceptional products has made us a go-to choice for clients looking for reliable, high-quality 6-layer PCB manufacturing services.