Printed circuit boards for every need

At Elprint we can deliver a wide variety of printed circuit boards – both for prototypes and series production. Our PCBs are used by large and small businesses within the oil, aerospace, audio and other electronics industries. We provide PCBs for simple as well as more complex applications, which will meet or exceed your expectations.

Printed circuit board overview:

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Rigid

Suitable for most needs –
Typically FR4
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Metal-based board

High thermal conductivity – typically used in LED lighting applications
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High Density Interconnect

Advanced PCB with blind
and/or buried vias
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Flex, Rigid-Flex

Flexible board, with or
without rigid region(s)
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Rigid-Soft

A cost-effective alternative
to rigid-flex
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Bendable

A cost-effective alternative
to rigid-flex

Rigid

A Rigid PCB is an “ordinary” PCB. The most common rigid material is FR-4, a flame-retardant mix of fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Other common materials include Rogers, Polyimide and Arlon.

We supply all kinds of rigid boards, from simple, single-sided boards to advanced constructions with blind and buried vias and down to 50μ conductor widths and insulation spacing. Read more about advanced HDI boards here.

Our capabilities page lists options for surface finish, solder mask colors, track width and spacing, materials, and more.

Reduce your price by mixing your FR4 standard board

You can get extra low prices on 1-4 layer, 1.6 mm thick, FR-4 boards with our MIX concept. MIXed PCBs have lead-free HASL finish, green solder mask and white legend. The minimum allowed track width and clearance is 0.125 mm and the minimum annular ring is 0.15 mm.

Copper balance

A common problem with PCBs is twist and bow: that the PCB inadvertently bends. A good copper balance in the design helps prevent twist and bow. All materials expand and contract at different temperatures, also PCBs.

If a PCB has a large amount of copper (such as a ground plane) on one side and only few signal traces on the other side then the two sides will expand and contract differently, which may cause the PCB to bend. It is therefore advantageous to ensure that the copper coverage is similar on all copper layers.

On inner layers it is advantageous to use aground plane, or to fill large empty spaces with copper, since the “adhesive” layers (prepreg) adhere better to copper than to bare FR-4. This helps prevent delamination.

Rigid Capabilities

Elprint delivers a broad spectrum of printed circuit boards. Our lowest prices apply to PCBs within the Standard specifications listed here. The Special column lists the capabilities we can supply, though at a premium cost. Contact us if you have requirements which exceed these capabilities. We can usually work something out.

Our best prices are available through our acclaimed MIX concept, where PCBs (which meet our MIX capabilites) are mixed together in a single production run.

For more technical information, you can read more about printed circuit boards here on our website or at https://macaos.com/support/techinfo.

Standard Special
Production standard IPC 6012, performance class 2 IPC 6012, performance class 3
Perfag
Any special requirements
Production time 5 days 1-2 days
Shipment time 2 days 1 day, 3 days – 3 weeks for series
Base materials FR-4 (/21)
FR-4 High-Tg (/129)
Rogers
Aluminium core/carrier
Polyimide (flex and rigid)
Arlon
Product range Single sided
Double sided
Multi-layer
Prototypes
Small & large production series
High density interconnect (HDI)
Flex
Rigid-flex
Metal core/carrier
Impedance controlled PCBs
Board size Min 25 mm x 25 mm
(if smaller, must be panelized)
Max 500 mm x 600 mm
Max 520-720 mm
Board thickness 1.6 mm ±10% standard 0.1 mm – 6.0 mm
Min inner layer: 0.05 mm
Copper thickness 35 µm
Plating: 20 µm for IPC class 2
12 µm – 200 µm
Plating: 25 µm for IPC class 3
Surface finish Lead-free HASL
ENIG (Nickel/Gold)
Silver
Immersion Tin
Hard Gold
HASL (non-RoHS, with lead)
Mechanical processing Routing (2.4, 2.0, 1.6 mm)
tolerance ±0.20 mm
Scoring (PCB thick 0.8-2.4 mm)
min Cu clearance 0.4 mm
Min routing tool dia: 0.6 mm
Routing tolerance ±0.10 mm
Plated edges
Depth controlled routing
Castellated (half-moon) holes
Blind/buried vias
Peelable (blue) mask
Holes Through hole aspect ratio: 1:10
Blind hole aspect ratio: 1:1
Finished dia tolerance: ±0.1 mm
Min mechanical dia: 0.10 mm
Laser dia: 0.1 mm (min 0.7 mm)
Through hole aspect ratio: 1:20
Via protection Solder mask
Copper
Non-conductive paste
Overplate possible
Solder mask Color: Green
Min bridge (F): 0.1 mm
Min oversize (C): 0.1 mm
Thickness: Typical 8-40 µm
Color: Red, white, black, blue
Min bridge (F): 0.07 mm
Min oversize (C): 0.075 mm
Component (legend) printing Color: White
Min line width: 0.125 mm
Color: Yellow, Black
Min line width: 0.1 mm
Min edge to Cu clearance 0.2 mm 0.1 mm
Min scoring to Cu clearance 0.4 mm 0.3 mm
Copper thickness
(unplated/plated)
Conductor width (D) Conductor spacing (E) NPT to Cu clearance (G)
Cheapest Minimum Cheapest Minimum Cheapest Minimum
Outer layers 9/27 µm 150 µm 50 µm 150 µm 50 µm 200 µm 150 µm
18/43 µm* 150 µm 100 µm 150 µm 100 µm 200 µm 150 µm
35/70 µm 200 µm 150 µm 200 µm 150 µm 225 µm 175 µm
70/105 µm 300 µm 250 µm 300 µm 250 µm 250 µm 200 µm
105/140 µm 400 µm 300 µm 400 µm 300 µm 300 µm 250 µm
140 µm 500 µm 400 µm 500 µm 400 µm 400 µm 300 µm
210 µm 600 µm 500 µm 600 µm 500 µm 500 µm 400 µm
Inner
layers
18 µm 125 µm 75 µm 125 µm 75 µm 300 µm
35 µm 150 µm 100 µm 150 µm 100 µm 300 µm
70 µm 250 µm 200 µm 250 µm 200 µm 300 µm
105 µm 300 µm 250 µm 300 µm 250 µm 300 µm
140 µm 500 µm 350 µm 500 µm 350 µm 400 µm
210 µm 600 µm 500 µm 600 µm 500 µm 500 µm

* Commonly referred to as 35µm/1oz


A Finished hole diameter, plated or non-plated
B Annular ring: (pad diameter – hole diameter) / 2
C Solder mask annular ring (clearance from pad)
D Conductor width
E Conductor spacing
F Solder mask bridge
G NPTH to copper clearance

Multi-Image produXion (MIX)

We have developed our unique MIX concept in order to give you the benefits of large-scale production for your prototypes and small series. We “mix” several different (but similar) products on the same production panel. This gives a much better utilization of the production panel while simultaneously distributing fixed costs across the various products in the production batch.

MIX Capabilities

For a board to be mixable, it must be meet the following specifications:

Production time Minimum 2 days
Shipment time 2 days
Base materials FR-4 (/21), FR-4 High-Tg (/129)
Product range 1, 2 and 4 layer
1.6 mm, 35 µm copper on all layers
4-layer has unspecified distance between layers
Surface finish Lead-free HASL
Solder mask Color: Green
Min bridge (F): 0.1 mm
Min oversize (C): 0.1 mm
Component (legend) printing Color: White
Min line width: 0.125 mm
Min hole diameter (A) 0.30 mm
Min conductor width (D) 0.125 mm
Min conductor spacing (E) 0.125 mm
Min annular ring (B) 0.15 mm


A Finished hole diameter, plated or non-plated
B Annular ring: (pad diameter – hole diameter) / 2
C Solder mask annular ring (clearance from pad)
D Conductor width
E Conductor spacing
F Solder mask bridge
G NPTH to copper clearance

Flex and Rigid-Flex

We supply both Flex and Flex-Rigid printed circuit boards. Both types can be made from one to multiple layers, with stiffeners (as required). Stiffeners are typically used to stiffen portions of the flexible material – typically under a component or as part of a plug-in connector.

Flex and Flex-Rigid boards are usually more expensive a comparable Rigid board with connectors. However, improved system quality and lower total production costs can make Flex or Flex-Rigid an attractive design choice.

Flex and Flex-Rigid are available in nearly any format. Feel free to contact us for advice concerning your needs before you begin your design.

The most common types of Flex and Flex-Rigid boards:

– Single-sided flex

– Single-sided flex with stiffener

– Double-sided flex

– Double-sided flex with stiffener

– Six-layer rigid with two flex layers in the middle

Technical

Flex boards are typically based on a polyimide material with a thickness of 50 μm. A cover layer is frequently used as a solder resist (instead of a solder mask). The cover layer is also a polyimide material with laser-cut openings, which is then attached to the flexible board in a high-temperature pressing process. Stiffeners are usually either FR4 or polyimide material, attached to the board in the pressing process.

The production data (Gerber/Drill files) for a Flex board is basically the same as for a similar Rigid board. However, additional Gerber files which define stiffener outlines, flex and rigid regions (for Flex-Rigid), cover layers, etc. must be provided.

Design considerations

Designing a Flex or Flex-Rigid board requires additional design considerations:

– On a 2-layer Flex board, traces should be offset in the area of the bend to facilitate bending and reduce the risk of broken traces.

– Traces should be evenly distributed across the bend area, in order to equalize load on all traces during bending.

– Traces should always be perpendicular to the radius of the bend.

– All angles traces are potential weak spots. Therefore, arcs should be used when a trace changes direction, and teardrops should be used where a trace enters a pad.

– A cover layer is manually aligned with the board prior to the press cycle. Therefore, the openings in the cover layer should be slightly larger than would be used with a normal solder mask. We recommend a minimum annular ring (opening radius minus pad radius) of 0.25 mm.

Rigid-Soft

A cost-saving alternative to Flex-Rigid boards

Bendable boards are a less expensive alternative to Flex-Rigid boards, suitable for applications where a frequent flex cycles are needed, but the board will only be subjected to a limited degree of bend. A standard FR-4 material is used, and the flexible region is created by a zig-zag outline which gives a degree of flexibility.

There are additional design considerations for a Bendable application. Contact us for a design manual.

Bendable

A cost-saving alternative to Flex-Rigid boards

Bendable boards are a less expensive alternative to Flex-Rigid boards, suitable for applications where a frequent flex cycles are needed, but the board will only be subjected to a limited degree of bend. A standard FR-4 material is used, and the flexible region is created by a zig-zag outline which gives a degree of flexibility.

There are additional design considerations for a Bendable application. Contact us for a design manual.

Metal-based Boards

Metal-based boards (typically aluminum) are primarily used for LED products, amplifiers, power supplies and other applications where additional cooling is needed.

1-layer aluminum

Most metal-based boards are single layer boards with an aluminum carrier. The finished laminate is purchased with copper, a thin dielectric (FR4) and an aluminum substrate. The board is manufactured just like a regular 1-layer rigid board.

2-layer aluminum

2-layer metal-based boards can be made either with an aluminum carrier or an aluminum core.

Aluminum core is the more expensive variant, as the holes must be drilled in two different operations. After first drilling, it is filled with epoxy, which then needs to be drilled again with the final drilling diameter and then plated as with a regular rigid board.

An aluminum carrier 2-layer board is produced by pressing an aluminum plate on one side of a thin 2-layer board. It is also possible to have more than 2 layers before the aluminum carrier is added.

HDI

HDI describes a printed circuit board where there are many densely-spaced signal traces spread across many layers. Typical applications are mobile devices, small medical devices and complex motherboards, etc. HDI PCBs typically have more than 4 layers , with blind and/or buried vias, small holes and thin and dense traces (down to 50 μm trace width and spacing).

Most things are possible, but when it comes to complex features, particularly buried vias, you can often save both time and money by optimizing you design. «Standard» multilayer boards are made with one or more cores, which are pressed together in one pressing process. With buried vias, the boards will go through several drilling, pressing and plating processes, something that takes time and costs money.

Here are several examples of 8-layer HDI constructions with varying complexity.

8-layer built up of 3 cores (L2 & 3, L4 &5, L6 &7) with ordinary plated through-holes and blind vias.

Blind vias should be designed with a 1:1 diameter to depth (aspect) ratio in order to ensure reliable plating. They are either drilled with a mechanical drill or with a laser. Blind vias are drilled after pressing an «ordinary» 8-layer PCB, and there are typically only minimal additional costs associated with mechanically drilled blind vias, as no additional pressing or plating processes are required.

Blind vias can be drilled more than one layer deep, provided that the 1:1 aspect ratio is maintained. This does not add to the cost, since no additional processes are required.

It is also possible to have vias filled and optionally over-plated so that they get a smooth surface. This is especially important for blind vias located within SMD pads.

Buried vias between layers 2 and 7.

A 6-layer PCB is produced, made up of cores for layers 3 &4 and 5 & 6 and with prepreg and copper foil (for layers 2 and 7) which are pressed together. Then buried vias are drilled as plated through-holes, and buried vias between layers 2-3 and/or 6-7 are made as blind vias. After running this 6-layer construction through a plating process, layers 1 and 8 are added in a new press cycle. Then plated through-holes and outer layer blind vias are drilled. It is also possible create “stacked vias” by drilling blind vias down to buried vias, For example, two stacked blind vias may be used to connect layers 1, 2 and 3.

Buried vias between layers 3 and 6.

A 4-layer PCB is produced, made up of a cores for layers 4&5 and with prepreg and copper foil (for layers 3 and 6) which are pressed together. Then buried vias are drilled as plated through-holes, and buried vias between layers 3-4 and/or 5-6 are made as blind vias. After running this 4-layer construction through a second plating process, layers 2 and 7 are added in a second press cycle. After drilling and plating, the outer layers are added in a third press cycle before the final drilling and plating processes.

If desired, a blind via between layers 4 and 5 (not shown in the drawing) can be made by running the core through a drilling and plating process prior to the first press cycle.

Ordering

Ordering via Macaos Enterprise

At Elprint, we have developed our own free software program, Macaos Enterprise, first launched in 1999. This program is designed to streamline the workflow from ordering a PCB until it finished and delivered to our customers.

Macaos Enterprise simplifies things for you the customer. It leads you through gathering all of the necessary data and specifications. It also gives you 24-7 access to prices, orders and shipment tracking, as well as a complete order history.

Printed circuit boards

The ordering procedure for PCBs is as follows:

  1. You import your Gerber files into Macaos Enterprise and store your product in our database.
  2. If desired, you can also panelize the single board in the Macaos. Enterprise Panel module.
  3. Get prices and order the product in the Buy module. Specify the desired quantity and lead time, then Get prices. Once you have found a suitable quantity/lead time combination click Add to basket. If desired, you can add additional products to your order. To complete your order, click Checkout to complete your order.
  4. Once Elprint has registered the order, it is reviewed by our competent engineering staff. They go through your files and specifications to confirm that the board can be manufactured and meet the requirements (including: insulation clearance, minimum conductor width, hole size according to thickness, and much more).
  5. Elprint orders the product from one of our manufacturers, selecting a factory suitable for your requirements.
  6. You will receive an order confirmation from us by e-mail
  7. When your order is on it’s way to you, we will send you an e-mail with the invoice.

See our video guides for steps 1, 2 and 3 here.

For further information see the MIX and Macaos pages or feel free to contact us for further information.

Stencils

In the same manner, you can design new stencils in the Stencil module and order stencils in Buy module. In the Stencil module, you easily, quickly and efficiently design stencils from a PCB or from Gerber files of your stencil. You easily select your own frame, specify the reduction for all openings and at the same time select regions to step (etch) down, which is very useful for fine pitch components. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to specify a specific reduction for individual openings, insert text and determine fiducial marks. After saving, simply place the stencil in the shopping cart and order from the Buy module.

See our video guide for the Stencil module here.

Ordering via E-mail

Here is the step by step procedure for ordering via e-mail:

  1. You send us an email at elprint@elprint.no with your Gerber files, product specifications and order information attached:
    • for PCBs: the desired number of boards / panels
    • for stencils: thickness, reduction, your frame
    • for all products: delivery time, place of delivery, order number etc.

When re-ordering products we have made before, it is a great advantage if you also refer to Elprint’s product number.

  1. Elprint stores your product based on your Gerber files and specifications. If you have our Macaos Enterprise program you will now be able to see your product and follow the process.
  2. Elprint’s engineering department reviews your files, insuring that they are ready for production.
  3. Next, we either start the production of your PCBs right away, or you receive a price quotation by mail.
  4. Elprint orders the product from one of our manufacturers, selecting a factory suitable for your requirements.
  5. You will receive an order confirmation from us by e-mail
  6. When your order is on it’s way to you, we will send you an e-mail with the invoice.

Web page ordering

You may use the form on our home page to place an order. Simply fill out the form and upload a zip file with all of the necessary data and specifications. We’ll get back to you as soon as practical with a price quotation, or a request for more information (if necessary).

Delivery

Delivery and production time

Your order will normally be shipped to you via DHL directly from the manufacturer. Shipment time is typically 2 days. This comes in addition to the lead time stated on the quotation and order confirmation.

n some cases, we can arrange for one day shipping from our European manufacturers. This must be agreed upon in advance.

Normally we must place your order before 12:00 noon, in order for the following day to count as the first day of production. If you are looking up prices or ordering through Macaos Enterprise, pleas note the expected shipment date in the details for each price.

If you use Macaos Enterprise, when the board is shipped, you will be able to track the shipment from the Product History tab.

Express Delivery

For express orders, the minimum production time is 24 hours if the order is received by us no later than 12:00 noon. Then our manufacturer is able to send your boards the next afternoon, and then another day of transport must be added before you have the boards in hand. Complex boards will usually require a longer manufacturing time.

CAM

Our engineering centers in Scandinavia and China have specialists with many years of experience in CAM / PCBs. All orders are reviewed to ensure that all design rules are followed and that the PCB is manufactureable before the data is sent to the factory.

Feel free to contact us if you are planning a Flex, Rigid-Flex, HDI, Metal-based or other design. We are happy to help you. And if you reach out early in the process, it can save you both time and money.

Rigid

Rigid

A Rigid PCB is an “ordinary” PCB. The most common rigid material is FR-4, a flame-retardant mix of fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Other common materials include Rogers, Polyimide and Arlon.

We supply all kinds of rigid boards, from simple, single-sided boards to advanced constructions with blind and buried vias and down to 50μ conductor widths and insulation spacing. Read more about advanced HDI boards here.

Our capabilities page lists options for surface finish, solder mask colors, track width and spacing, materials, and more.

Reduce your price by mixing your FR4 standard board

You can get extra low prices on 1-4 layer, 1.6 mm thick, FR-4 boards with our MIX concept. MIXed PCBs have lead-free HASL finish, green solder mask and white legend. The minimum allowed track width and clearance is 0.125 mm and the minimum annular ring is 0.15 mm.

Copper balance

A common problem with PCBs is twist and bow: that the PCB inadvertently bends. A good copper balance in the design helps prevent twist and bow. All materials expand and contract at different temperatures, also PCBs.

If a PCB has a large amount of copper (such as a ground plane) on one side and only few signal traces on the other side then the two sides will expand and contract differently, which may cause the PCB to bend. It is therefore advantageous to ensure that the copper coverage is similar on all copper layers.

On inner layers it is advantageous to use aground plane, or to fill large empty spaces with copper, since the “adhesive” layers (prepreg) adhere better to copper than to bare FR-4. This helps prevent delamination.

Rigid Capabilities

Rigid Capabilities

Elprint delivers a broad spectrum of printed circuit boards. Our lowest prices apply to PCBs within the Standard specifications listed here. The Special column lists the capabilities we can supply, though at a premium cost. Contact us if you have requirements which exceed these capabilities. We can usually work something out.

Our best prices are available through our acclaimed MIX concept, where PCBs (which meet our MIX capabilites) are mixed together in a single production run.

For more technical information, you can read more about printed circuit boards here on our website or at https://macaos.com/support/techinfo.

Standard Special
Production standard IPC 6012, performance class 2 IPC 6012, performance class 3
Perfag
Any special requirements
Production time 5 days 1-2 days
Shipment time 2 days 1 day, 3 days – 3 weeks for series
Base materials FR-4 (/21)
FR-4 High-Tg (/129)
Rogers
Aluminium core/carrier
Polyimide (flex and rigid)
Arlon
Product range Single sided
Double sided
Multi-layer
Prototypes
Small & large production series
High density interconnect (HDI)
Flex
Rigid-flex
Metal core/carrier
Impedance controlled PCBs
Board size Min 25 mm x 25 mm
(if smaller, must be panelized)
Max 500 mm x 600 mm
Max 520-720 mm
Board thickness 1.6 mm ±10% standard 0.1 mm – 6.0 mm
Min inner layer: 0.05 mm
Copper thickness 35 µm
Plating: 20 µm for IPC class 2
12 µm – 200 µm
Plating: 25 µm for IPC class 3
Surface finish Lead-free HASL
ENIG (Nickel/Gold)
Silver
Immersion Tin
Hard Gold
HASL (non-RoHS, with lead)
Mechanical processing Routing (2.4, 2.0, 1.6 mm)
tolerance ±0.20 mm
Scoring (PCB thick 0.8-2.4 mm)
min Cu clearance 0.4 mm
Min routing tool dia: 0.6 mm
Routing tolerance ±0.10 mm
Plated edges
Depth controlled routing
Castellated (half-moon) holes
Blind/buried vias
Peelable (blue) mask
Holes Through hole aspect ratio: 1:10
Blind hole aspect ratio: 1:1
Finished dia tolerance: ±0.1 mm
Min mechanical dia: 0.10 mm
Laser dia: 0.1 mm (min 0.7 mm)
Through hole aspect ratio: 1:20
Via protection Solder mask
Copper
Non-conductive paste
Overplate possible
Solder mask Color: Green
Min bridge (F): 0.1 mm
Min oversize (C): 0.1 mm
Thickness: Typical 8-40 µm
Color: Red, white, black, blue
Min bridge (F): 0.07 mm
Min oversize (C): 0.075 mm
Component (legend) printing Color: White
Min line width: 0.125 mm
Color: Yellow, Black
Min line width: 0.1 mm
Min edge to Cu clearance 0.2 mm 0.1 mm
Min scoring to Cu clearance 0.4 mm 0.3 mm
Copper thickness
(unplated/plated)
Conductor width (D) Conductor spacing (E) NPT to Cu clearance (G)
Cheapest Minimum Cheapest Minimum Cheapest Minimum
Outer layers 9/27 µm 150 µm 50 µm 150 µm 50 µm 200 µm 150 µm
18/43 µm* 150 µm 100 µm 150 µm 100 µm 200 µm 150 µm
35/70 µm 200 µm 150 µm 200 µm 150 µm 225 µm 175 µm
70/105 µm 300 µm 250 µm 300 µm 250 µm 250 µm 200 µm
105/140 µm 400 µm 300 µm 400 µm 300 µm 300 µm 250 µm
140 µm 500 µm 400 µm 500 µm 400 µm 400 µm 300 µm
210 µm 600 µm 500 µm 600 µm 500 µm 500 µm 400 µm
Inner
layers
18 µm 125 µm 75 µm 125 µm 75 µm 300 µm
35 µm 150 µm 100 µm 150 µm 100 µm 300 µm
70 µm 250 µm 200 µm 250 µm 200 µm 300 µm
105 µm 300 µm 250 µm 300 µm 250 µm 300 µm
140 µm 500 µm 350 µm 500 µm 350 µm 400 µm
210 µm 600 µm 500 µm 600 µm 500 µm 500 µm

* Commonly referred to as 35µm/1oz


A Finished hole diameter, plated or non-plated
B Annular ring: (pad diameter – hole diameter) / 2
C Solder mask annular ring (clearance from pad)
D Conductor width
E Conductor spacing
F Solder mask bridge
G NPTH to copper clearance
MIX

Multi-Image produXion (MIX)

We have developed our unique MIX concept in order to give you the benefits of large-scale production for your prototypes and small series. We “mix” several different (but similar) products on the same production panel. This gives a much better utilization of the production panel while simultaneously distributing fixed costs across the various products in the production batch.

MIX Capabilities

For a board to be mixable, it must be meet the following specifications:

Production time Minimum 2 days
Shipment time 2 days
Base materials FR-4 (/21), FR-4 High-Tg (/129)
Product range 1, 2 and 4 layer
1.6 mm, 35 µm copper on all layers
4-layer has unspecified distance between layers
Surface finish Lead-free HASL
Solder mask Color: Green
Min bridge (F): 0.1 mm
Min oversize (C): 0.1 mm
Component (legend) printing Color: White
Min line width: 0.125 mm
Min hole diameter (A) 0.30 mm
Min conductor width (D) 0.125 mm
Min conductor spacing (E) 0.125 mm
Min annular ring (B) 0.15 mm


A Finished hole diameter, plated or non-plated
B Annular ring: (pad diameter – hole diameter) / 2
C Solder mask annular ring (clearance from pad)
D Conductor width
E Conductor spacing
F Solder mask bridge
G NPTH to copper clearance
Flex and Rigid-Flex

Flex and Rigid-Flex

We supply both Flex and Flex-Rigid printed circuit boards. Both types can be made from one to multiple layers, with stiffeners (as required). Stiffeners are typically used to stiffen portions of the flexible material – typically under a component or as part of a plug-in connector.

Flex and Flex-Rigid boards are usually more expensive a comparable Rigid board with connectors. However, improved system quality and lower total production costs can make Flex or Flex-Rigid an attractive design choice.

Flex and Flex-Rigid are available in nearly any format. Feel free to contact us for advice concerning your needs before you begin your design.

The most common types of Flex and Flex-Rigid boards:

– Single-sided flex

– Single-sided flex with stiffener

– Double-sided flex

– Double-sided flex with stiffener

– Six-layer rigid with two flex layers in the middle

Technical

Flex boards are typically based on a polyimide material with a thickness of 50 μm. A cover layer is frequently used as a solder resist (instead of a solder mask). The cover layer is also a polyimide material with laser-cut openings, which is then attached to the flexible board in a high-temperature pressing process. Stiffeners are usually either FR4 or polyimide material, attached to the board in the pressing process.

The production data (Gerber/Drill files) for a Flex board is basically the same as for a similar Rigid board. However, additional Gerber files which define stiffener outlines, flex and rigid regions (for Flex-Rigid), cover layers, etc. must be provided.

Design considerations

Designing a Flex or Flex-Rigid board requires additional design considerations:

– On a 2-layer Flex board, traces should be offset in the area of the bend to facilitate bending and reduce the risk of broken traces.

– Traces should be evenly distributed across the bend area, in order to equalize load on all traces during bending.

– Traces should always be perpendicular to the radius of the bend.

– All angles traces are potential weak spots. Therefore, arcs should be used when a trace changes direction, and teardrops should be used where a trace enters a pad.

– A cover layer is manually aligned with the board prior to the press cycle. Therefore, the openings in the cover layer should be slightly larger than would be used with a normal solder mask. We recommend a minimum annular ring (opening radius minus pad radius) of 0.25 mm.

Rigid-Soft

A cost-saving alternative to Flex-Rigid boards

Bendable boards are a less expensive alternative to Flex-Rigid boards, suitable for applications where a frequent flex cycles are needed, but the board will only be subjected to a limited degree of bend. A standard FR-4 material is used, and the flexible region is created by a zig-zag outline which gives a degree of flexibility.

There are additional design considerations for a Bendable application. Contact us for a design manual.

Bendable

A cost-saving alternative to Flex-Rigid boards

Bendable boards are a less expensive alternative to Flex-Rigid boards, suitable for applications where a frequent flex cycles are needed, but the board will only be subjected to a limited degree of bend. A standard FR-4 material is used, and the flexible region is created by a zig-zag outline which gives a degree of flexibility.

There are additional design considerations for a Bendable application. Contact us for a design manual.

Metal-based Boards

Metal-based Boards

Metal-based boards (typically aluminum) are primarily used for LED products, amplifiers, power supplies and other applications where additional cooling is needed.

1-layer aluminum

Most metal-based boards are single layer boards with an aluminum carrier. The finished laminate is purchased with copper, a thin dielectric (FR4) and an aluminum substrate. The board is manufactured just like a regular 1-layer rigid board.

2-layer aluminum

2-layer metal-based boards can be made either with an aluminum carrier or an aluminum core.

Aluminum core is the more expensive variant, as the holes must be drilled in two different operations. After first drilling, it is filled with epoxy, which then needs to be drilled again with the final drilling diameter and then plated as with a regular rigid board.

An aluminum carrier 2-layer board is produced by pressing an aluminum plate on one side of a thin 2-layer board. It is also possible to have more than 2 layers before the aluminum carrier is added.

HDI

HDI

HDI describes a printed circuit board where there are many densely-spaced signal traces spread across many layers. Typical applications are mobile devices, small medical devices and complex motherboards, etc. HDI PCBs typically have more than 4 layers , with blind and/or buried vias, small holes and thin and dense traces (down to 50 μm trace width and spacing).

Most things are possible, but when it comes to complex features, particularly buried vias, you can often save both time and money by optimizing you design. «Standard» multilayer boards are made with one or more cores, which are pressed together in one pressing process. With buried vias, the boards will go through several drilling, pressing and plating processes, something that takes time and costs money.

Here are several examples of 8-layer HDI constructions with varying complexity.

8-layer built up of 3 cores (L2 & 3, L4 &5, L6 &7) with ordinary plated through-holes and blind vias.

Blind vias should be designed with a 1:1 diameter to depth (aspect) ratio in order to ensure reliable plating. They are either drilled with a mechanical drill or with a laser. Blind vias are drilled after pressing an «ordinary» 8-layer PCB, and there are typically only minimal additional costs associated with mechanically drilled blind vias, as no additional pressing or plating processes are required.

Blind vias can be drilled more than one layer deep, provided that the 1:1 aspect ratio is maintained. This does not add to the cost, since no additional processes are required.

It is also possible to have vias filled and optionally over-plated so that they get a smooth surface. This is especially important for blind vias located within SMD pads.

Buried vias between layers 2 and 7.

A 6-layer PCB is produced, made up of cores for layers 3 &4 and 5 & 6 and with prepreg and copper foil (for layers 2 and 7) which are pressed together. Then buried vias are drilled as plated through-holes, and buried vias between layers 2-3 and/or 6-7 are made as blind vias. After running this 6-layer construction through a plating process, layers 1 and 8 are added in a new press cycle. Then plated through-holes and outer layer blind vias are drilled. It is also possible create “stacked vias” by drilling blind vias down to buried vias, For example, two stacked blind vias may be used to connect layers 1, 2 and 3.

Buried vias between layers 3 and 6.

A 4-layer PCB is produced, made up of a cores for layers 4&5 and with prepreg and copper foil (for layers 3 and 6) which are pressed together. Then buried vias are drilled as plated through-holes, and buried vias between layers 3-4 and/or 5-6 are made as blind vias. After running this 4-layer construction through a second plating process, layers 2 and 7 are added in a second press cycle. After drilling and plating, the outer layers are added in a third press cycle before the final drilling and plating processes.

If desired, a blind via between layers 4 and 5 (not shown in the drawing) can be made by running the core through a drilling and plating process prior to the first press cycle.

Ordering

Ordering

Ordering via Macaos Enterprise

At Elprint, we have developed our own free software program, Macaos Enterprise, first launched in 1999. This program is designed to streamline the workflow from ordering a PCB until it finished and delivered to our customers.

Macaos Enterprise simplifies things for you the customer. It leads you through gathering all of the necessary data and specifications. It also gives you 24-7 access to prices, orders and shipment tracking, as well as a complete order history.

Printed circuit boards

The ordering procedure for PCBs is as follows:

  1. You import your Gerber files into Macaos Enterprise and store your product in our database.
  2. If desired, you can also panelize the single board in the Macaos. Enterprise Panel module.
  3. Get prices and order the product in the Buy module. Specify the desired quantity and lead time, then Get prices. Once you have found a suitable quantity/lead time combination click Add to basket. If desired, you can add additional products to your order. To complete your order, click Checkout to complete your order.
  4. Once Elprint has registered the order, it is reviewed by our competent engineering staff. They go through your files and specifications to confirm that the board can be manufactured and meet the requirements (including: insulation clearance, minimum conductor width, hole size according to thickness, and much more).
  5. Elprint orders the product from one of our manufacturers, selecting a factory suitable for your requirements.
  6. You will receive an order confirmation from us by e-mail
  7. When your order is on it’s way to you, we will send you an e-mail with the invoice.

See our video guides for steps 1, 2 and 3 here.

For further information see the MIX and Macaos pages or feel free to contact us for further information.

Stencils

In the same manner, you can design new stencils in the Stencil module and order stencils in Buy module. In the Stencil module, you easily, quickly and efficiently design stencils from a PCB or from Gerber files of your stencil. You easily select your own frame, specify the reduction for all openings and at the same time select regions to step (etch) down, which is very useful for fine pitch components. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to specify a specific reduction for individual openings, insert text and determine fiducial marks. After saving, simply place the stencil in the shopping cart and order from the Buy module.

See our video guide for the Stencil module here.

Ordering via E-mail

Here is the step by step procedure for ordering via e-mail:

  1. You send us an email at elprint@elprint.no with your Gerber files, product specifications and order information attached:
    • for PCBs: the desired number of boards / panels
    • for stencils: thickness, reduction, your frame
    • for all products: delivery time, place of delivery, order number etc.

When re-ordering products we have made before, it is a great advantage if you also refer to Elprint’s product number.

  1. Elprint stores your product based on your Gerber files and specifications. If you have our Macaos Enterprise program you will now be able to see your product and follow the process.
  2. Elprint’s engineering department reviews your files, insuring that they are ready for production.
  3. Next, we either start the production of your PCBs right away, or you receive a price quotation by mail.
  4. Elprint orders the product from one of our manufacturers, selecting a factory suitable for your requirements.
  5. You will receive an order confirmation from us by e-mail
  6. When your order is on it’s way to you, we will send you an e-mail with the invoice.

Web page ordering

You may use the form on our home page to place an order. Simply fill out the form and upload a zip file with all of the necessary data and specifications. We’ll get back to you as soon as practical with a price quotation, or a request for more information (if necessary).

Delivery

Delivery

Delivery and production time

Your order will normally be shipped to you via DHL directly from the manufacturer. Shipment time is typically 2 days. This comes in addition to the lead time stated on the quotation and order confirmation.

n some cases, we can arrange for one day shipping from our European manufacturers. This must be agreed upon in advance.

Normally we must place your order before 12:00 noon, in order for the following day to count as the first day of production. If you are looking up prices or ordering through Macaos Enterprise, pleas note the expected shipment date in the details for each price.

If you use Macaos Enterprise, when the board is shipped, you will be able to track the shipment from the Product History tab.

Express Delivery

For express orders, the minimum production time is 24 hours if the order is received by us no later than 12:00 noon. Then our manufacturer is able to send your boards the next afternoon, and then another day of transport must be added before you have the boards in hand. Complex boards will usually require a longer manufacturing time.

CAM

CAM

Our engineering centers in Scandinavia and China have specialists with many years of experience in CAM / PCBs. All orders are reviewed to ensure that all design rules are followed and that the PCB is manufactureable before the data is sent to the factory.

Feel free to contact us if you are planning a Flex, Rigid-Flex, HDI, Metal-based or other design. We are happy to help you. And if you reach out early in the process, it can save you both time and money.

MIX: Optimize price and design for your PCB

The Elprint MIX concept has been developed to minimize production costs for the most common PCBs. This means that we combine different customer PCBs (having the same stackup) into the same production panel. By optimizing these panels for maximum utilization, there is less waste and the fixed costs are shared. The result is a cost reduction for everyone.

Read more about our MIX concept here

Place your order quickly and easily

Our free software program, Macaos Enterprise, makes ordering PCBs quick and easy. Macaos Enterprise also gives you complete oversight of your PCB products and orders. You can import your design, view prices instantly, and keep track of your previous orders and shipments.

Alternatively, you can send us your product (Gerber/Drill or ODB++) files and we will import them to the system for you. See the request form at www.elprint.com.

Read more about Macaos Enterprise here

Order your new PCBs today

From start to finish our guidance and expertise are at your disposal when you are designing a new printed circuit board. We will gladly assist with any design issues which may arise, and advise which specifications influence production costs. Daily, we help many customers find the best solution for their product requirements, lead time and price constraints.

Find out more about your options by email elprint@elprint.com or fill out the request form on the front page.

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