Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

September 10th, 2022

The 15th day of August lunar (Sept 10th, 2022) is the Traditional Mid-Autumn Festival (also named as Moon cake Day) in China, families usually sit down together to have a reunion dinner and enjoy the delicious moon cake under beautiful full moon to celebrate this important day.

In order to thank all employees for their hard work and efforts, Best Technology prepared handle-made Mid-Autumn moon cakes to express our best wishes and heartfelt thanks to our staffs.

Handle made Moon cakes prepared by Best Technology
Moon-cake in the front desk of Best Technology SMT workshop

All staffs from Best Technology received the tastefully Moon cakes and everyone is permeated with warm and harmonious festive atmosphere. As a member of Best Tech, I felt full of happiness when received the cakes.

The moon cake not only represents the Mid-Autumn greetings and blessing to employees, but also shows the loving care from management for us.

It not only brought laughter, also brought full of touching and motivation to everyone. I believe that in the future, we will cheer up, make persistent efforts, and create a more brilliant tomorrow for the company!

Best Tech is a big family and everyone is a member of this family that we love and help each other.

(Employees in Workshop)

Since the establishment of company in 2006, Peter and Emily have always pay highly attention to the health care and life of our staffs, not only for Mid-Autumn Festival, but also for every traditional festival in China. Different beautiful gifts and best wishes will be always received from Best.

A bright moon and stars twinkle and shine. Here, Best Tech wish all of our customers a merry Mid-Autumn Festival, bliss and happiness, wish you a perfect life just like the round moon in Mid-Autumn Day!!

Also, Best will close for Mid-Autumn Festival from Sept 10-12th, and resume to office on Sept 13th, if you have any inquiry, please contact us.

Why Solder Paste became Dry and How to Solve This Problem

August 18th, 2022

As a One-stop PCBA manufacturer, I believe most of manufacturers have faced a problem of solder paste became dry during SMT process, especially in hot summer, and there will be a large number of defects come out when solder paste was dry, such as poor printing, false solder, components be shifted, cold solder and so on, which will greatly decrease assembly efficiency and PCBA quality.

Do you know why the solder paste became dry?

A serious dried solder paste
Good solder paste

After checking and discussing with our SMT engineers, we found the root cause of solder paste be dry is corrosion, in below images you can see the detailed solder powder morphology of corrosion.

2-a Solder powder from good solder paste
2-b Solder powder from dried solder paste

In generally, the main reason of corrosion is thermodynamic instability of metal, that is metal and its alloy is in a high free energy status than other chemical compound (for example, oxide, hydroxide, salt or others), when this situation occurs, metal will transform to lower energy, which is called corrosion.

Metal corrosion is under the basis of the theory of electrochemical, and it’s required four main elements: anode, cathode, electrolyte and constitute current path.

Now let’s parse the mainly metals in solder paste — Sn, Ag, Cu (or other impurities), then under the action of flux medium, numerous galvanic cells with Sn as the cathode and Ag/Cu as the anode are formed, then below chemical reaction will be happened:

Cathode: Sn – 2e → Sn2+

Anode: O2 + H2O + 4e → 4OH

That is: Sn + H2O + ÂœO2 â†’ Sn(OH)2

Sn(OH)2 decompose: Sn(OH)2 → SnO + H2O

Then chemical reaction of corrosion of solder powder under the moisture in the air can be described as:

The following figure shows the infrared spectrum of succinic acid liquor before and after soaking the solder powder. It can be clearly seen that the soaked liquor contains carboxyl. Therefore, in the solder paste system, except the oxidation reaction of electrochemical corrosion, salinization chemical reaction will be happened too:

Infrared spectrum of Chemical reaction between succinic acid solution and solder powder succinic acid liquor

So now, do you know why solder paste will be dry? And why it is more seriously in hot summer with high temperature and humidity?

Yes, its root cause is not only high temperature in summer, also the humidity is so high (humidity is 70-85% in the summer of Shenzhen City), flux and solder powder will increase the adsorption of water molecules, and due to water is electrolyte of the galvanic cell reaction, it will aggravate the hydrolysis of flux, stimulate the activity of flux, then finally the reaction on the surface of the solder powder is aggravating, and the vicious cycle eventually changes the physical properties of the solder paste.

Then how to solve this problem?

  1. Warm up solder paste before using

Generally, in order to slow down the reaction of flux and solder powder, as well as extend the storage period, the solder paste needed to be stored in a refrigerator with 2-10oC degree. So before using, it is better to take out solder paste and put in standard room temperature for warming up first. A can of 500g solder paste need to be rewarmed at least 2 hours, to make sure its temperature is the same as rooms’. (Normally that period of warming up time is 4 hours in Best Technology.) Otherwise, insufficient warming up will cause the water vapor in the air to condense and enter the solder paste due to the temperature difference, and result in solder paste be dry finally.

  • Environment temperature and humidity

The best storage temp of solder paste is 2-10oC, but the recommended working environment temp is 20-25oC, relative humidity is 30%-60%. (There’re additional humidifiers in the workshop of Best Technology, to make sure suitable humidity in the dry season such as Winter and Spring, and of course the air conditioner in Summer time to decrease the humidity) Usually, the rate of chemical reaction will approximately double, as the temperature increases by 10℃, so the high temperature will increase the volatilization of the solvent in the solder paste and the reaction speed of flux with powder, so the solder paste is easily to be dry. Meanwhile, low temperature will affect the viscosity and expansion of solder paste, and then will cause the poor soldering. At the same time, high humidity will also greatly increase the water vapor entering the solder paste; However, low humidity also affects the volatilization rate of solvent in solder paste.

  • For those solder paste that became dried already, it is better to dilute with flux provided by manufacturer of solder paste.

In a word, when use and store solder paste, we should pay more attention to its temperature & humidity, to make sure high quality of SMT can be achieved. Pls contact Best Technology if you have any questions or comments on solder paste, or SMT.

X-ray Inspection in PCB Assembly

June 15th, 2022

X-Ray Inspection’s Definition

X-ray inspection is a technology used to inspect the hidden features of the target objects or products. As for PCB inspection, X-ray is commonly used in the inspection of PCB assembly in order to test the quality and find the hidden defects, X-ray inspection is one of the most important steps for quality-oriented PCB manufacturers.

X-Ray Machine

X-Ray Inspection’s Working Principle

Generally, there are three elements in the X-ray devices.

  • X-ray tube—to generate the X-ray photons.
  • Operation platform—to move along with the sample so that the sample can be inspected from different angles and magnification.
  • Detector—it can capture the X-ray through the samples and then transfer it into the image so that we can find out whether there are defects on the printed circuit board.

The Hidden Defects that can be Identified by X-Ray

Since PCB has the higher density with the solder joints hidden and holes buried or blind, X-ray enable us to inspect the quality of the PCB and identify various hidden defects. And there are three common hidden defects that can be inspected by X-ray.

PCB’s Image Under X-Ray
  • Solder bridges—it is a common issue that will occur when the solder joints are so close that they create a connection which is not allowed. And usually, the solder bridges will be covered by some components on the PCB. But they can be easily found with the help of the X-ray device.
  • Solder voids—when gas or flux is entrained during welding, solder voids will be produced, which will lower the thermal conductivity at the solder joint and may cause physical defects. And X-ray can help to  identify the solder voids
  • Pin-hole fills—pin-hole fills issue is a common problem occurring in the plug-in components on the  printed circuit boards. The X-ray device can be used to identify these errors, and can even quantify the missing filling amount.

Our X-Ray Inspection Device

The maximum size of the board that can be put in the device’s operation platform is 510*430 mm, while the maximum inspection size of the device is 435*385 mm. So here is the manifestation of the operation platform’s function. When the size of PCB is over 435*385 mm, the operation platform will move along with the board so that the board can be inspected thoroughly.

And here is a video about operation of our X-ray inspection device.

So, this is the end of this article. In case if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us via email at  sales@bestpcbs.com. We are fully equipped to handle your PCB  manufacturing requirements.

What are the Factors Affecting the Thermal Conductivity of AlN Ceramic Substrate?

May 31st, 2022

The Introduction of AlN Ceramic

With hexagonal wurtzite structure and no other homomorphic isomers, AlN, aluminum nitride, is a structurally stable covalent bond compound, whose crystal structure is AlN4 tetrahedron formed by the dismutation of aluminum atom and adjacent nitrogen atom. And its space group is P63mc, belonging to hexagonal system.

The Features of AlN Ceramic

  1. High thermal conductivity, which is 5 to 10 times than that of aluminum oxide ceramic.
  2. Coefficient of thermal expansion (4.3*10-6/℃) matches the semiconductor silicon material (3.5-4.0*10-6/℃).
  3. Great mechanical properties.
  4. Excellent electrical performance, with high insulation resistance and low dielectric loss.
  5. Multi-layer wiring can be carried out to achieve high density and miniaturization of packaging.
  6. Non-toxic, conducive to environmental protection.
Ceramic PCB

Factors Impacting on the Thermal Conductivity of AlN Ceramic

At 300K, the theoretical thermal conductivity of AlN single crystal material is as high as 319 W/(m·K). But in the actual production process, its thermal conductivity will still be affected, which is often lower than the theoretical value due to the influence of various factors such as the purity and internal defects (dislocations, pores, impurities, lattice distortion) of material, grain orientation and sintering process.

Effect of Microstructure on Thermal Conductivity

The heat conduction mechanism of single crystal AlN is phonon heat transfer, hence the thermal conductivity of AlN may be mainly influenced by the scattering control of grain boundary, interface, second phase, defect, electron and phonon itself. In accordance with the solid lattice vibration theory, the relation between phonon scattering and thermal conductivity “λ” is as follows: λ= L / 3CV.

In the formula, C is the heat capacity; V represents the average velocity of phonons; and L stands for the mean free path. And it can be seen from the equation that the thermal conductivity (λ) of AlN has direct ratio with the mean free path (L), for which the larger “L” is, the higher the thermal conductivity is. From the perspective of microstructure, the scattering can be caused by the interaction between phonons and phonons, phonons and impurities, and phonons and grain boundary.  It will affect the mean free path of phonons, and thus impact on the thermal conductivity.

It can be learnt from above that the microstructure of AlN has a great influence on its thermal conductivity. Therefore, it is necessary to make AlN crystals with fewer defects and impurities in order to obtain AlN ceramics with high thermal conductivity.

Effect of Oxygen Impurities Content on Thermal Conductivity

There are studies show that AlN has a strong affinity with oxygen so that it is easy to be oxidized, leading to the formation of aluminum oxide film on its surface. Owing to the dissolution of oxygen atoms in Al2O3, the nitrogen in AlN is replaced, resulting in aluminum void and oxygen defect. In this way, it will bring about the increase phonon scattering and decrease of mean free path hence the thermal conductivity will be reduced.

Oxygen Content in AlN (wt%)Thermal Conductivity (W/m·K)
0.31130
0.24146
0.19165
0.13171
0.12185

So, it can be concluded that the types of defects in AlN lattice are related to the concentration of oxygen atoms.

  • When the oxygen concentration is lower than 0.75%, oxygen atoms evenly distributed in the AlN lattice, replacing the position of nitrogen atoms. And then the aluminum void is accompanied by it.
  • When the oxygen concentration is not less than 0.75%, the position of Al in aluminum nitride lattice will have a change. Then the aluminum void will disappear, causing octahedral defects.
  • When the oxygen concentration is higher, the lattice will produce extension defects such as polytype, inversion domain and oxygen-containing stacking fault. Moreover, based on thermodynamics, it is found that the amount of oxygen in AlN lattice is under the influence of Gibbs free energy (ΔG°). The larger the ΔG° is, the less oxygen is in the lattice, hence there will be a higher thermal conductivity.

Therefore, the thermal conductivity of aluminum nitride is seriously affected by the existence of oxygen impurities, which is a key point resulting in the decrease of thermal conductivity.

Thermal Conductivity can be Enhanced by Suitable Sintering Aids

In order to improve the thermal conductivity of AlN, the required sintering aids need to be added to lower sintering temperature and remove oxygen in lattice.

As matters stand, the addition of multiple composite sintering additives is followed with more interests. And the experiment shows that relatively dense AlN samples with less oxygen impurities and the secondary phase can be obtained by adding the composite sintering aids, Y2O3-Li2O, Y2O3-CaC2, Y2O3-CaF2, Y2O3-Dy2O3, to aluminum nitride.

In a word, selecting appropriate composite sintering additives can help to get lower sintering temperature and effectively purify the grain boundary, so as to obtain AlN with high thermal conductivity.

In case if you have any other questions about ceramic PCB or MCPCB, you are welcome to contact us via email at sales@bestpcbs.com. We are fully equipped to handle your PCB or MCPCB manufacturing requirements.

Pros and Cons of the Ceramic PCB

May 27th, 2022

Ceramic PCB is used in various fields because of its high-quality thermal and mechanical advantages. The board’s unique features and high thermal conductivity have enabled it to be used in devices big and small. But meanwhile, it is not flawless. There are also some disadvantages.

Ceramic PCB

Pros of ceramic PCB

It is supposed that you are familiar with the features below that the ceramic PCB has.

  • Excellent thermal conductivity.
  • Good insulation.
  • High temperature resistance.
  • Great mechanical properties.
  • Compatible with CTE (Coefficient of Thermal Expansion) of components.
  • High-density assembly possible.
  • Non-toxic, conducive to environmental protection.

Cons of ceramic PCB

There are also a few disadvantages that can be found in ceramic PCB. Some of the disadvantages are stated below.

  • Cost—It has a higher cost compared to other printed circuit boards.
  • Handling—Since ceramic is fragile, it entails careful handling. As ceramic PCB is made for tight spaces, it is very small and this makes it even harder to handle.
  • Availability—It is not as widely available.

Everything has two sides. And ceramic PCB has no exception. But if considering all the advantages and disadvantages, ceramic PCB still takes the win amongst all other boards.

So, this is the end of the article about the advantages and disadvantages of the ceramic PCB. In case if you have any other questions about ceramic PCB or MCPCB, you are welcome to contact us via email at sales@bestpcbs.com. We are fully equipped to handle your PCB or MCPCB manufacturing requirements.

Types of Vias

May 20th, 2022

What is via?

A via plays an important role in multi-layer PCBs. It is used to make an electrical connection between the layers of a multi-layer PCB. Generally speaking, every hole in the printed circuit boards can be called as via.

A via is constructed by placing copper pads on each layer of the PCB and drilling a hole through them. And the hole is plated with copper that forms electrical connection through the insulation that separates the copper layers.

PCB Vias

Types of Vias

There are three main types of vias used in PCB: through-hole via, blind via and buried via.

Through-Hole Via

Through-hole via goes right through the printed circuit board from top to bottom and can be used to connect all the layers of a PCB. It is the most common via and is easiest to construct.

Blind Via

Blind via connects the outermost layer of a PCB to the next layer. Namely, it cannot be seen on the other side of the board and is therefore called blind via.

Buried Via

Buried via is used to connect internal layers of a PCB. And it cannot be seen on the surface of the board.

Via Types

In addition, it is always better to use multiple smaller vias rather than one large via since smaller vias can reduce the inductance and also provide an additional path to the current flow in case any of the vias fail.

So, this is the end of this article. In case if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us via email at  sales@bestpcbs.com. We are fully equipped to handle your PCB  manufacturing requirements.

Types of Metal Bases Utilized in MCPCB

May 10th, 2022

What is metal core printed circuit?

Metal core printed circuit board is abbreviated as MCPCB. And namely, the core or the base material of MCPCB is a metal instead of the traditional FR4/CEM1-3.

Types of metal bases used in MCPCB

The metal cores of the thermal PCB can be aluminum, copper and steel alloys. Apart from being cheaper than copper, aluminum is known for its good heat transferring and dissipation abilities, which is the most common used. However, copper is considered to be a better performer. So, why does the aluminum become the first choice for the material of the MCPCB?

Aluminum base—The aluminum PCB offers good heat dissipation and heat transferring ability. Since they are also light in weight, the aluminum core PCBs are widely used in LED products.

Aluminum Core PCB

Copper base—The copper core board features a better performance than aluminum. But customers will usually choose the aluminum instead of copper, for it is relatively expensive. Also, compared with the aluminum, the copper is heavier and involves a tough machining process.

Copper Core PCB

Various base metals and their properties

Metal Base MaterialThermal Conductivity
(W/m-K)
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
(”m/m-°C)
Aluminum88-25125
Copper38617

Based on the table, it can be known that although the thermal conductivity of the copper is better than that of the aluminum, its ability of thermal expansion does not perform better than the aluminum.

Therefore, there are some reasons why the aluminum is the first choice for the material of the MCPCB, including the lower cost compared to copper, light weight, excellent durability and its heat transferring capabilities.

And these are also the reasons that the MCPCB is widely used in the LED products as we mentioned in the last article.

So, this is the end of this article. In case if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us via email at  sales@bestpcbs.com. We are fully equipped to handle your PCB or MCPCB manufacturing requirements.

Why is the MCPCB Widely Used in the LED Products?

April 30th, 2022

MCPCB refers to metal core printed circuit board. It has a good performance in heat dissipation, so it is often used in LED products.

The advantages of MCPCB

Prevent overheating: 

LEDs tend to get overheated very quickly. If a metal core printed circuit board is used, it solves overheating by transferring the energy from one side to another.

Improve the material’s reliability: 

The MCPCB plays a key role in the elements that heats up overly at times. It helps to divert the heat from one side to another where the heat has vanished, which improves the product’s life, making it much more durable.

Adapt to a high temperature: 

Unlike the FR4 technology, the metal core printed circuit board can adapt to products with a high temperature, hence it proves to be very useful for LED products.

LED PCB

Why is the MCPCB widely used in the LED products?

Since it is well-known that the LED products will emit a lot of heat. Based on the advantages, the metal core PCB can transfer heat quickly and prevent overheating. And Aluminum PCB is mostly used in metal core PCBs, for they can operate longer than other metals and longer shelf life.

Moreover, metal core PCB has a high conductive ability, hence there remains ample space for maximum LEDs, which allows producing sufficient light and achieving high performance.

Therefore, based on the advantages of the MCPCB, it is the prior option of the material for the LED products.

So, this is the end of the article. In case if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us via email at  sales@bestpcbs.com. We are fully equipped to handle your PCB or MCPCB manufacturing requirements.

3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Gray & 3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Translucent

April 22nd, 2022

Both 3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Gray and 3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Translucent are a two-part epoxy adhesive that delivers exceptional performance with high shear and peel strength.

They can bond to a wide range of materials, such as metals, ceramics, wood, fiberboard, glass, rubber and many plastics. So, PCB is no exception. But what are the similarities and differences between them?

Similarities

  • Provide tough, strong bonds through high shear and peel strength.
  • Capable of bonding to a wide variety of different materials.
  • Deliver extended work-life, providing additional time for adjustment.
  • Exhibit good environmental aging properties, delivering long-term durability.

Differences

3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Gray has a moderately high modulus. With a 90-minute work-life, it reaches handling strength in approximately 10 hours and full cure in 7 days at room temperature.

Additionally, this epoxy adhesive has medium viscosity and self-leveling with a 1:1 mix ratio by volume. But its flexibility and elongation are moderate.

(3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Gray)

3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Translucent has a moderately low modulus. With an 80-minute work-life, it reaches handling strength in approximately 10 hours and full cure in 14 days at room temperature.

It has low viscosity and self-leveling with a 1:1 mix ratio by volume. Additionally, it features high flexibility and elongation.

3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190–Translucent

This is all about the similarities and differences between the 3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Gray and 3M Epoxy Adhesive DP190-Translucent. It is supposed that you have known about them.

But if you still have any questions about them or PCB, please feel free to contact us. Because at Best Technology, we are fully equipped to handle your PCB manufacturing requirements.

Thermal Conductivity—Aluminum PCB vs Ceramic PCB Series 2

April 19th, 2022

Last time we have talked about the structure difference between the aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB. So, based on the different structures, whose thermal conductivity is better?

We have known that a single layer aluminum PCB is made up of copper layer, dielectric layer and aluminum layer. Meanwhile, the dielectric layer is the decisive factor affecting the thermal conductivity.

Generally, its thermal conductivity ranges from 0.8 to 3.0 W/m-K, but can up to 8.0 W/m-K. So, in terms of heat dissipation, the aluminum substrate does much better than FR-4 substrate. And it is a good choice for LED lighting products with high power.

Aluminum PCB

However, the heat-conducting property of ceramic PCB is superior to that of the aluminum PCB.

Since ceramic itself is an insulating material with a great heat-conducting property, it does not need a dielectric layer. Therefore, the heat can be dissipated directly through the ceramic.

Because of its excellent performance in heat dissipation, it is particularly suitable for the lighting product with ultra high power and those products which have a high demand of heat dissipation.

Ceramic PCB

To summarize, clearly, we can know from the table below that ceramic PCB does better than aluminum PCB in terms of thermal conductivity and heat dissipation. And this is mainly because of the dielectric layer, which is related to the functions of bonding, insulation and heat conduction.

The better the heat conduction performance of the insulating layer, the more conducive it is to the diffusion of heat generated during the operation to the device, hence it will be more conducive to lower the operating temperature of the device. That is to say, aluminum PCB will be subject to the dielectric layer, while ceramic PCB will not be restricted.    

And, this is the end of the comparison of the thermal conductivity between aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB. If you still have any questions about them, please feel free to contact us.