Printed circuit boards, commonly known as PCBs, are essential components in electronics manufacturing, and they come in different sizes and shapes. While rectangular and square PCBs are more common, odd shapes such as octagonal and round PCBs are available in the market.
The need for unconventional PCB shapes arises due to the requirement to fit them into specific enclosures, which is vital in achieving the intended application of the PCB. Despite being less common, round PCBs are becoming increasingly demanded, mostly due to the continual advancements in technology.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the concept of round PCBs, a critical element in electronics manufacturing.
What is Round PCB ?
A round PCB is a type of circuit board that, as the name suggests, has a circular shape and provides electrical connections to circuitry. These boards are used in various devices, such as consumer electronics and LED PCBAs, and are popular for both domestic and commercial applications. However, the intricate routing process required to create a round PCB makes them relatively costly.
PCB manufacturers pay close attention to the fabrication process of round PCBs, as it is a complex procedure. These boards feature electronic components, traces, and varying widths and are commonly used in wearable devices. Unlike rectangular PCBs, a round PCB provides ample board space, making them a preferred choice for certain applications.
Therefore, round PCBs are a valuable component in electronics manufacturing, offering unique capabilities and benefits for specific applications.
Types of Round PCB
Round circuit boards come in various types, including single-sided, double-sided, and multilayer boards. Each of these types caters to different functions, and manufacturers design them based on the specific requirements of a project.
● Single Sided Round PCB: A single-sided round PCB possesses a single conductive copper layer, making it one of the most commonly used types of round PCBs. This type of PCB is widely utilized across various applications, as it features substrates as the primary material. Single-sided round PCBs are suitable for low-density designs, with components mounted on one side and conductor patterns on the other.
One of the most significant advantages of single-sided round PCBs is their simple and cost-effective fabrication process, making them an economical choice for electronic manufacturers. Through-hole technology or surface mount technology can be utilized to manufacture this PCB type.
● Double-sided Round PCB: Double-sided round PCBs consist of conductive layers on both sides of the circuit board, making them an alternative option to single-sided round PCBs. This type of round circuit board has proved to be an excellent choice for several applications and is preferred over single-sided boards for certain designs.
Double-sided round PCBs are commonly used in various applications, such as lighting systems, wearable devices, and consumer electronics, providing reliable, high-performance options for these devices. Compared to single-sided PCBs, double-sided round circuit boards offer increased board space and higher component density, making them a popular choice for manufacturing compact devices.
● Multilayer Round PCB: A multilayer round PCB comprises more than two layers of conductive material, making it an excellent choice for high-speed applications. This type of round PCB offers several benefits, including increased assembly density and higher capacity, making it ideal for applications requiring more board space.
However, manufacturing a multilayer round PCB is relatively complex compared to single or double-sided PCBs. The fabrication process requires precise layer alignment, and all layers must be bonded correctly to ensure structural integrity. Despite the complexities involved in fabricating a multilayer round PCB, they are crucial in modern-day electronics
Advantages of Round PCBs over other shapes
Here are some advantages of Round PCBs over other shapes:
● Space Efficient: Round PCBs require less area on a board than other shaped PCBs with the same diameter, which makes them a space-efficient option.
● Reduced EMI noise: Round PCBs have fewer corners compared to other shapes, which reduces electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise.
● Better Thermal Management: Round shapes optimize heat distribution and thermal management. Additionally, round PCBs with a centrally placed heat source can benefit from improved cooling as heat can be dissipated more evenly.
● Aesthetically Pleasing: Round PCBs can add an aesthetic appeal to the overall product design compared to other PCB shapes, making them a popular choice for many applications.
● Better Signal Integrity: The absence of sharp corners in round PCBs can help improve the signal return path and reduce signal reflections, resulting in improved signal integrity.
As a result, the advantages of using round PCBs over other shapes depend on the specific needs of a particular application, such as space constraints, thermal management requirements, electromagnetic interference reduction, or aesthetic considerations.
Round PCB Design
Designing a round printed circuit board (PCB) can be a more intricate process compared to the typical rectangular layout due to the constraints imposed by the manufacturing process. Specifically, the perimeter of a round PCB can only be shaped using straight line segments, which requires careful consideration and planning during the design phase.
To create a circular shape for the perimeter of the board, a circle can be added to the silkscreen layer. Various software tools are available for designing round PCBs, each with their own unique features and capabilities.
It should be noted that break routing is the only separation method available for a round PCB, which further adds complexity to the design process. As such, a thorough understanding of the software and attention to detail are essential to ensure a successful outcome.
Using Eagle CAD to Make Round PCB
Eagle CAD is a widely-used software for the design of electronic circuit schematics and layouts. Circuit schematics depict how different electronic components connect, and the layout is an exact image of the circuit’s appearance on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). By default, many designers create rectangular circuit board layouts, but Eagle CAD offers a “MITER” command that transforms the square layout into a circular one.
To use Eagle CAD for your design, first, open the layout file by clicking on “File” and selecting “Open.” In the absence of an existing layout file, you can create a new file by going to “File” and clicking on “New,” then naming the file as per your requirements.
You will need to modify the board outline’s size to match the intended PCB size. The board outline typically appears as a square, and you can adjust its size by clicking on either side and dragging it left or right. Ensure that the board outline remains square, preventing it from taking an oval shape when attempting to transform it into a circle.
To achieve a circular layout, ensure that each side of the square matches the diameter of the circle. Type “MITER 2” at the top of the layout and press “Enter.” The icon will change into a plus sign. Left-click on the square’s corner, causing it to round off. If the corner appears too small, use “MITER 3” or more, while if it appears too large, decrease the MITER number. Repeat this process, applying the MITER command to all corners, until they all have a circular shape.
Round Circuit Board Design Rules
When using CAD tools to design a round printed circuit board, the first step is to draw the board’s shape in the CAD software. For high-speed appliances, a multilayered PCB is recommended, with separate layers defining the power and ground planes. A polygon editor is useful for defining the shape of these planes, and some software also allows customizing them.
Designing round circuit boards also requires panelization schemes, and break routing is a common method used for this purpose. It is crucial to maintain a minimum clearance of 10 mm between circuit boards, although this can be increased using a larger routing tool.
Manufacturing process for Round PCBs
The manufacturing process for round PCBs is similar to that of other PCB shapes but has some specific steps. Here are the general manufacturing steps for round PCBs:
● Design the PCB: Use PCB design software to create a schematic and then a layout of the PCB.
● Panelization: Multiple round PCBs are usually manufactured together on larger panel boards, allowing for streamlined manufacturing and lower costs.
● Layer Stacking: Multiple layers with copper traces are stacked on top of each other.
● Substrate Preparation: The substrate material for the PCB is coated with a light-sensitive layer.
● Imaging: A photo-sensitive mask is created from the layout and then used to expose the light-sensitive layer through a process of UV exposure and development.
● Etching: The bare copper areas are removed during the etching process leaving the final copper traces.
● Drilling: Through-holes or via holes are drilled into the PCB as needed.
● Plating: Copper plating is added to the holes and surface to create electrical connections between the layers.
● Solder Mask Application: The solder mask material is applied and cured to insulate the copper traces and protect them from the environment.
● Silk Screening: A final layer of ink-like material is applied to label the components and other necessary information.
● Final Inspection: The final inspection ensures that all the connections are functional, there are no short circuits or open circuits, and the board meets the required specifications.
● Separating the PCBs: The individual PCBs are separated from the larger panel board, and the manufacturing process is completed.
Applications of Round PCBs in Various Industries
Round PCBs have a wide range of applications across various industries. Here are some examples:
● Consumer Electronics: Round PCBs can be used in a variety of consumer electronics, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, and home appliances.
● Automotive Industry: Round PCBs can be used in different automotive applications, including powertrain and driver assistance systems.
● Medical Equipment: Round PCBs are used in various medical equipment, such as patient monitors, imaging systems, and ultrasound machines.
● Aerospace Industry: Round PCBs are used in the aerospace industry for communication, navigation, and guidance systems.
● Industrial Automation: Round PCBs are used in industrial automation applications such as robotics, PLCs, and motor control systems.
● Military and Defense: Round PCBs are used in military and defense applications, including communication systems, weapons systems, and control panels.
● Lighting Industry: Round PCBs can be used in different lighting applications such as LED lighting strips, lamps, and fixtures.
In a word, the versatile nature of round PCBs and their ability to fit into smaller spaces make them an ideal choice for a wide range of applications across different industries.
How to Choose the Best Round PCB Manufacturer
When it comes to the production of round PCB boards, it can be a complex process that requires careful selection of a manufacturer that delivers quality results. While there are numerous manufacturers available, there are several important factors to consider when making a choice. The selection of the right round PCB manufacturer is crucial in ensuring the successful fabrication of high-quality products.
● Experience: The foremost factor to consider when choosing a round PCB manufacturer is the quality of the products they deliver. A manufacturer that offers exceptional product quality while maintaining a professional standard of service delivery is desirable. It is prudent to select a manufacturer with extensive experience in the field since they are likely to have the requisite expertise in producing top-quality round PCBs. One can inquire about the manufacturer’s products and services to assess their suitability. As such, it is essential to conduct thorough research and assessment before settling on a particular manufacturer to ensure that their products and services meet the required standards.
● Quality: Round PCB manufacturers typically conduct several tests to ensure that their products meet the requisite quality for optimal performance. The most reputable manufacturers are characterized by conducting an array of quality tests on the round PCBs. These tests may include E-test, thermal stress test, microsection testing, and others. Through these tests, defects and shortcomings on the circuit board can be readily identified. The use of quality materials in the manufacturing process is also critical in ensuring the production of high-quality circuit boards. An ideal manufacturer should prioritize the use of premium materials to guarantee the longevity and durability of the circuit boards produced.
● Turnaround time: Another significant consideration when selecting a round PCB manufacturer is the turnaround time. This term refers to the duration that a manufacturer takes to complete and deliver a product to the client. It is crucial to opt for a manufacturer that can meet specific delivery timelines and ensure that their products are delivered on time. Meeting delivery schedules can significantly impact a client’s operations, making it imperative to choose a manufacturer that can deliver products within the set deadlines.
● Customer service: It is worth noting that certain round PCB manufacturers are committed to supporting the research and development endeavors of their clients. These manufacturers prioritize their client’s demands by being readily available to provide exceptional service. The ideal manufacturer should be able to provide a quick response to inquiries regarding quotations, professional technical support, and customized service. It is advisable to conduct thorough research on potential manufacturers by analyzing reviews and feedback from past clients.
Why Choose JarnisTech
● With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we have established ourselves as a leading PCB manufacturing company. Our well-equipped facilities are capable of handling even the most intricate and intricate Round PCB designs. Our commitment to producing high-quality products at cost-effective prices has been the cornerstone of our company’s growth and success. We value quality and prioritize the incorporation of cutting-edge technology in our production processes to ensure the delivery of top-notch products to our clients.
● At JarnisTech, we pride ourselves on delivering reliable and high-performing Round PCBs to our clients. Our products are calibrated for swift integration into devices, ensuring that they meet and exceed clients’ performance expectations. We subject all our products to rigorous E-test and functional tests, including Surface Mount Technology (SMT) application, to guarantee optimal performance.
● We understand the critical role that Round PCBs play in our clients’ operations, which is why we use only standardized and high-quality PCB materials. Our raw material suppliers meet international standards, ensuring that our clients receive products that are durable and long-lasting.
● In the event of any issues, our skilled team can conduct a comprehensive 8D analysis to identify the root cause and promptly provide appropriate solutions. Our customer service representatives are fully trained to respond to clients’ queries through various communication channels and offer complete service to address all their requests.
● We are well-equipped to handle bulk orders from various industries and offer a range of PCBs, including Embedded PCBs, Laser Cut PCBs, and USB PCBs, among others. Our clients can expect their orders to be securely shipped to the specified address promptly.
For all your Round PCB needs and other PCB requirements, please contact us today, and we will be delighted to offer our expertise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Type of mounting technology is Best for Round PCBs?
To place components on round PCBs, there are two methods available: Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and Through Hole Technology (THT). Among these methods, SMT is considered the superior choice for component placement. The SMT process is automated, which simplifies the fabrication process and enhances efficiency. Moreover, using SMT on round PCBs can reduce stress levels, ultimately leading to a higher quality finished product.
How do I panelize round PCBs ?
For panelizing a round PCB, the recommended method is break routing. It is crucial to maintain a 10mm clearance between round circuit boards to achieve high-quality results, especially when using small routing tools. However, the clearance can be increased when using larger routing tools. Keeping this clearance at the appropriate level is essential to avoid damaging the boards or the components during the process.
Round PCBs have become increasingly popular in various industries due to their advantageous features, such as space-efficiency, improved thermal management, reduced EMI noise, and enhanced signal integrity. They also add to the aesthetic value of products due to their eye-catching circular shape.
Though the manufacturing process for round PCBs is similar to other PCB shapes, special steps are executed due to their circular form.
Considering the trend towards miniaturization and the growing need for compact, interconnected electronic devices, the use of round PCBs is expected to continue to increase. Advancements in technology within the PCB manufacturing sector and the continued evolution of innovative design software are also expected to contribute to round PCBs’ continued growth in popularity. Moreover, the integration of advanced materials, including high-performance ceramics, is expected to enhance the benefits offered by round PCBs even further.
At JarnisTech, we are committed to providing our customers with quality round PCBs and excellent customer service. Our knowledgeable team is always ready to support and improve our clients’ products to meet their demanding electronics assembly needs. We offer budget-friendly solutions and strive to ensure our clients’ satisfaction. For more information on our high-quality products and services, please visit our website at www.jarnistech.com.