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As experts in the manufacture and assembly of printed circuit boards, we work to make our blog a helpful resource on PCB topics and the industries that we work with, including automotive, consumer electronics, aerospace and many more. Here you'll find insights into PCB design, tech trends, assembly issues, and trending topics in the general news media as they relate to printed circuit board technology.

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Understanding HDI PCBs and their Advantages

HDI stands for high-density interconnected, and this technology is quickly becoming popular in the field of printed circuit boards. HDI PCBs can provide a range of benefits for technology in general. After all, they help to streamline circuit boards, allowing them to do more while taking up less space. This means that the boards tend to be smaller, which means the electronics that use these types of boards tend to be smaller. They can perform well, but they have a smaller, more streamlined package. Consider just how much smaller so many different types of devices have become over the past decade. One of the reasons for this is the use of HDI PCBs.

What is an HDI PCB?

These boards provide a large number of interconnections in a small space. The components are placed closer together on the board, which helps to reduce the size, but the functionality stays the same as a larger board. If a board features 120 to 160 pins per square inch, then it is an HDI PCB. Components are placed close together while making use of versatile routing. These types of boards are made possible thanks to microvia technology, along with buried and blind vias. They are very efficient, and they are becoming popular in a wide range of different industries, as you will see below.

Biggest Benefits of HDI PCBs

Many want to find ways to reduce the footprint of the products they are making, and one of the best ways to do that is by using HDI PCBs. They are a good solution any time that you need to reduce size and weight, and when you still need to have functionality and reliability in the product. One of the other benefits found with these boards is the fact that they use via-in-pad technology and blind via technology. This allows components to be placed closer together, reducing the length of the signal path, which helps to provide faster and more reliable signals since those paths are shorter.

Even though the boards can provide a wealth of advantages, you will find that they are still very affordable. It is a cost-effective solution for those who are looking for a reliable and durable option for their electronic devices. Still, to determine whether they are the right option for you or not, it is important to learn even more about them and how they are used. You will also want to learn the differences between a regular printed circuit board and an HDI printed circuit board.

Where are HDI PCBs Used Today?

Because of the benefits they offer, you will find that HDI PCBs are utilized in a wide range of electronic devices across many different industries. The medical industry is one of the most well-known. Medical devices that are being made today typically need to be smaller. Whether it is a piece of equipment in the lab or an implant, smaller tends to be a better option, and HDI PCBs can help immensely in this regard. Pacemakers are a good example of a type of product that is using these types of PCBs. Many types of monitoring and exploratory devices, such as endoscopes or colonoscopes, use this type of technology. Once again, smaller is better in these situations.

In addition to the healthcare field, the automotive industry is making use of HDI PCBs. To help maximize the space available in motor vehicles, they are making certain electronic components smaller. Of course, tablets and smartphones use this type of technology. This is why so many of these devices become lighter and thinner through their generations.

You will also find HDI PCBs used in the aerospace and military fields. Their reliability and their smaller size make them useful for a range of different applications. It is likely there will be more and more devices from even more diverse fields that will be using this technology going forward.

What are the Main Differences between a PCB and an HDI PCB?

To get a better idea of some of the main differences between these two options, consider the following list.

  • Per square inch, HDI PCBs have more densely-packed components
  • The boards end up smaller and lighter than with typical PCBs
  • They utilize laser direct drilling, whereas standard PCBs will usually have mechanical drilling
  • The number of layers tends to be lower, as does the aspect ratio

These are some of the differences between HDI PCBs and regular PCBs. However, it doesn’t mean that the HDI option is always the right choice for you. Take the time to consider the project you are doing and then determine which option will be best for your needs.

Properly Design the HDI PCB

While using one of these types of PCBs may seem like the perfect solution for your needs, it is important that you understand how to design them properly if you hope to achieve all of the benefits they can convey. With these types of designs, you will want to make sure that you aren’t using more than three layers in a sequence, if possible. Ideally, the number of sequential laminations will be low.

Take time to thoroughly think through the design, and then test it out in software and with a Gerber file viewer to make sure it works properly. Once you are certain it works, you may want to get a prototype to ensure it is working and then move on with full manufacturing.

Why Work with Advanced Circuits?

Advanced Circuits makes it easy for you to create the type of PCB you need from the ground up. By providing you with high-quality software, testing tools, and even a review process, you can be sure you are creating the ideal board before it goes to manufacture. We offer excellent customer service and have earned a great reputation within the PCB industry. We’ll help you choose the type of PCB that best fits your needs. Contact Advanced Circuits today to get a quote on your circuit boards.

 

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