Selecting PCB Laminate Material

Which materials should you select for your Multi-layer Printed Circuit Board(PCB) Design? What are the material’s performance specifications, characteristics and are there any manufacturability issues?

When you select a material for PCB board, the one common factor that needs to be taken into consideration for all materials is the cost. Considering that the raw laminate needed for the PCB board is the largest costing part of a multi-layer PCB board you need to optimize it. Optimizing material use means achieving maximum material utilization of materials depending on the usable area available.

We at Bittele Electronics are dedicated to offering our customers the lowest possible costs as well as the highest quality and service. Bittele Electronics’ assembly plant are located in both Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Shenzhen, China; in some cases North American materials will be more expensive. To reduce unnecessary cost, we also offer local raw laminates that are the nearest equivalent to North American materials as substitutes. Whenever possible we use the best quality substitutes (based on material availability). However, we take into account your need for meeting signal integrity and HDI requirements and will accommodate your PCB material preferences. Thus North American materials such as Isola 370HR, FR408HR, etc., are also available upon request. We strive to offer a variety of laminate at the lowest possible costs for highest quality material that can match your needs and requirements.

Bittele Materials
Reduced Cost Materials
Signal Integrity
RoHS Compliance
North American Materials
Exotic Materials
RF Materials
High Speed Signal Materials
Automotive Industry Materials

High quality substitutes are selected from offered materials comparing those materials that are the nearest equivalent to their North American counterparts. Below is a chart comparing some of the specifications of various materials from North America and China to distinguish the slight differences between the materials being compared.

Tg = Glass Transition Temperature – important temperature region that a critical change of physical properties occurs, in the case of laminates it transitions from a hard, glassy material into a soft, rubbery material

Td = Decomposition Temperature - the temperature where the laminate chemically decomposes

Dk = Dielectric Constant – quantity for measuring the relative permittivity of an insulator material which is its ability to store electrical energy in an electric field like for capacitors, for insulating purposes a material with lower dielectric constant is better

Df = Dissipation factor – measures for the inefficiency of an insulating material showing the loss-rate of energy of a mode of oscillation whether it be mechanical, electrical, or electromechanical

Originally in North America the material FR-402 was used for when Tg 130 was acceptable while FR-404 for Tg 150. While FR-402 and FR-404 are available they are no longer purchased, offshore suppliers have substitutes available for FR402 & FR404 like above. Now 370HR is the default choice for major PCB manufacturers with FR406 as a replacement at smaller shops.

We at Bittele Electronics consider FR406 to be our default standard. These materials we listed above being compared with FR406 are not equivalent substitutes, but more practical replacement choices.

material price matrix

Above is a comparison chart for comparing approximate prices and lead time estimated for laminate materials from China and North America when fabricated at the two locations. The lead time is based on logistics and variations can be expected depending on core thickness of materials.

Bittele also suggest the following substitute materials. (Please note that extra Lead Time may be required for some of these materials.)

  1. RogersTMM10
  2. Rogers4350B
  3. Rogers 2000
  4. Rogers3006
  5. Rogers4003C
  6. Taconic RF-35
  7. Arlon25FR

Please feel free to contact us regarding any concerns or questions regarding our substitute materials or the substitute materials selection methodology.

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