On the critical importance of considering plating and copper balancing at the design stage
PCB Technologies Senior Expert at Safran
As part of the work that we are carrying out with PCB manufacturers and, especially, the French PCB industry, we have understood, more and more, over the last 2 or 3 years, the critical importance of a good copper balancing of the internal and external layers of PCBs, in order to avoid concerns about manufacturing yields and quality, and therefore costs, delays, and raw material waste.
This problem is true for all industries, from consumers to automotive, especially when prices are really tight. Unfortunately, there are not so many designers who are able to understand these issues which are between designer and manufacturer concerns and expertise.
For 8 years, we have worked internally to develop a use of the E-CAD PCB design tool that allows us to do things that are already interesting. But the Elsyca software goes much further, in particular by taking into account the presence of the plating of the vias and holes. We are very interested in this; we would really like to be able to “Elsyca-ize” our PCBs dynamically directly in the PCB design tool.
It is very clear in the interest of E-CAD PCB design tools to offer the integration of such a function because this would allow their customers to pay significantly less for their PCBs, in some cases, savings easily exceeded 10%! (even much more, in certain special cases) and to have much less waste and energy consumption (ecological impact) than one could probably estimate at a few % of the world PCB market (> € 60bn). And given the number of users of E-CAD PCB Design tools, this would have a huge impact on the entire world of electronics, reducing the additional costs and waste generated by imperfect copper balancing !! A great function for E-CAD PCB design tools.
" CEC’s use of the Elsyca software has helped to accurately predict the needed plating parameters to increase our first pass yields on new parts. "
" Copper balance and thickness uniformity reduces scrap rate and improves yield. Nowadays with advanced technology, such software is strongly recommended "
" Copper balancing should be done, not only at the panel level in PCB FAB, but every PCB designer should be taught the many benefits of copper balancing and incorporate the concepts into their board designs "
" Elsyca software helps us a lot to identify critical areas already in the design phase. But we also can use it on the shop floor to support our Engineers to predict how different set ups of designs and parameters influence the outcome. Due to this fact we can reduce the amount of trials which also leads to cost reduction. "