Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) consist of copper layers, which serve as the base of the PCB. All components are soldered onto this board using a soldering machine. These components are connected to each other with thin lines of copper known as traces. Finally, a protective film is applied on the copper traces. The solder mask is coated on both sides of the board.
The solder mask forms the last layer step in PCB manufacturing. These steps are repeated to create multi-layered PCBs. In multi-layered PCBs, the layers are connected to each other using specific inter-connectors.
A variety of materials are used depending on the budget, size of the board, the density of copper traces, number and size of holes, etc. Below are mentioned two popular materials used:
The performance of solder mask will depend greatly on the following factors. The range varies depending on the number of components, traces, and number, thickness and material of layers:
Initially, solder mask was available only in green color. Now a variety of colors can be used to make your PCBs looks attractive. When PCBs feature different solder mask colors, it is easy to distinguish between them as well. The colors are available in glossy as well as matt finish. The array of colors available comprises:
Solder mask is used for both hand as well as automatic assembly. It is an essential step in the entire process of PCB fabrication. For efficient connections and performance, solder mask is of immense importance.