The Flexperts

Nick KoopMany flex designs perform well with panel plating for countless bend-to-install applications.

When copper-plating vias and through-holes, there are several process options in the PCB manufacturer’s toolbox. Typically, they fall into three buckets: panel plating, pattern plating and button plating.

Panel plating (FIGURE 1) means the entire panel surface and all the holes will be electrolytic copper plated to the full plating thickness requirement. The etch process will etch down through the base and plated copper, leaving a pattern with features comprised of both the base and plated copper. Pattern plating is accomplished by creating a pattern of all the circuitry on the two exposed layers with a plating resist, then plating up the pattern of the outer layers. After stripping the resist, the etch process will etch away the base copper between all the plated patterns, leaving a pattern with features comprised of both the base and plated copper. Panel and pattern plating essentially result in the same end-product. For this discussion, we will compare button plating and panel plating.

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Mark Finstad

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Mark Finstad
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