PCB Plating Finishes

Please reference the chart below to explore the common printed circuit board finish types we offer. As the third largest manufacturer of PCBs in the United States, Supreme Circuits offers a variety of PCB finishes that you can choose from, depending on your application. If you need assistance selecting a finish, our representatives can help. It’s important to have the boards finished so their materials will not decay and so there is a consistent surface for connecting components to the board.

Solder mask:

  1. Clearances are increased to meet a minimum of .005 swell. Standard Spec orders are increased globally to achieve this. If copper is exposed an FYI is sent and order will continue to process. Custom Spec orders with random clearance issues will be placed on-hold.
  2. Text outside of outline is removed.
  3. The board outline will be added to this layer if not already present. This will be used for reference during production

What is scoring?

Scoring is a “v” groove cut into the top and bottom surfaces of an array configuration of multiple PCB’s or a PCB with removable rails or frame. The cut depth is set such that the material left is the lesser of .018″ or 1/3 of the finished thickness. When this process is used the printed circuit boards are typically set up side by side and end to end with no gap between the edges. This results in the v-grove cutting into the area of the boards, so a .015″ clearance between the edge of the boards and any conductors is required.

How do I indicate score lines?

When placing an order that requires scoring please indicate this requirement by checking the score option on the order form. If the CAD files supplied with the order already have the boards step and repeated, indicate the locations of the score line in the fabrication or panel print. If you are supplying the CAD data as a 1-up image please supply a drawing with the array configuration that you would like including tooling holes, fiducials and step and repeat requirements.

Our standard score angle is 30 degree (blade angle total), but we can also do a 60 degree angle at a premium price.

We can set up your scored array for you (Standard and Custom orders), If we have:

  1. Your single board files (1-up files)
  2. The total number of board in the array and if the number of board in the X direction and the Y direction. (boards will be placed edge to edge (0 mils between)
  3. The width of the Top, bottom, left, and right rails (standard is 0.5″), if required.
  4. Select scored array on your order.

PCB Arrays

You may wish to request that your PCBs be delivered as arrays. Below please find instructions and descriptions on why we offer this service. Let us know if you have questions, especially if you are requesting small boards or you are placing a large order. We offer exceptional customer service so our customers can avoid manufacturability issues before the PCB production process begins.

What are PCB Arrays?

For large quantity orders or very small boards you might want to consider having your boards supplied in pallet form (array, or sometimes called “panelized”, “stepped out”, “palletized” and “rout and retain”). Many assembly houses request that printed circuit boards be built on panels with a border. Deciding how many boards can fit on a panel can be quite complicated. We suggest that you consult with your assembly house regarding any suggestions or requirements that they may have.

There are two options available for accommodating the separation of the boards after assembly. The boards can be scored on both the top and bottom surfaces allowing the boards to be fractured apart by applying a bending stress to the score lines. This is not recommended for small parts or those with fragile components close to the board edge. The other option is to tab-rout the boards. This process leaves tabs of material between adjacent boards and between the boards and the frame. The boards are then separated after assembly by breaking these tabs or cutting them away.

Application notes for scored arrays:

  • The dimensions of the individual boards should include the beveled edge that results from the scoring process. It is best if you can allow .025″ from the score line to any copper; we require .015″ for boards .062″ thick or less, .020″ for .093″ or less and .025″ for .125″ or less.
  • When determining how close to the score you can place components, you need to consider the de-panelization method, fragility of the components and parts placement method of each component. In most cases, your assembly house can provide the most accurate information in terms of scoring for components.
  • It is best if you can leave at least .020″ from any conductors on the inner layers to the edge of the board.

Note: Score lines will continue all the way across your array. If the score line cannot be continuous across the entire array (for example, if a part is rotated in part of the array) this will increase process time and price.

What is tab routing?

A tab route is used to create arrays, often called “route and retain”. The customer can place more than one board (same or different design) up in a given area in an array or panelized configuration. This is typically for the convenience of the customer or for assembly requirements that utilize pick and place machines to load components. The PCB’s are then separated by breaking or cutting the tabs. Tabs are usually 0.100″ in width and are placed with at least 1 on each side of the boards. The tabs are usually .050″ is width.

How do I tab rout my board?

We can set up your array for you (Standard and Custom orders), If we have:

  1. Your single board files (1-up files)
  2. The total number of board in the array and if the number of board in the X direction and the Y direction. (Please allow 0.100″ between your individual boards for tab rout spacing)
  3. The width of the Top, bottom, left, and right rails (standard is 0.5″), if required.
  4. Select tab route array on the order.

When placing an order that requires tab routing please indicate this requirement by checking the tab rout option on the order form. If the CAD files supplied with the order already have the boards step and repeated, indicate the locations of the tabs in the fabrication or panel print. If you are supplying the CAD data as a 1-up image please supply a drawing with the array configuration that you would like including tooling holes, fiducials and step and repeat requirements.

Tab Rout Spacing:

Please allow 0.100″ spacing between your individual pcb boards for tab rout spacing.

  • Artwork, drills and rout will be panelized as required when an array is ordered. Additional tooling holes and fiducials will be added upon request.

Unless an array setup is specifically requested the following standards will apply:

  • For tab-rout orders .100″ spacing will be added between boards.
  • No spacing between score boards will be added unless there are routing requirement that would necessitate additional spacing.
  • .500″ rails will be added around entire array.
  • Score lines will extend to the end of the array.
  • Jump scoring will require a minimum of .250″ spacing before the start of the score line and .250″ past the score line.
  • Tooling holes or fiducials will be added per customer specification, in the absence of any specification these will be added based on our standard configuration.

If perforated tabs (mouse bites) are requested we will use a .060 tab with two .018 holes in each tab. The edge of the perforations (mouse bite) holes will be on the edge of the outline.

The files are then saved and stored on our network.