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What are the functions and roles of PCB plating?

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PCB plating is a very important surface treatment process in the PCB manufacturing process, its functions and roles mainly include the following points:

Enhance Conductivity: 

Plating forms a uniform metal layer, such as nickel or tin, on the copper layer of the PCB, which helps to improve conductivity and circuit reliability.

Protecting the Copper Layer: 

The plating layer protects the copper layer from oxidation and corrosion, extending the life of the PCB.

Improve Soldering Performance: 

Plating layers such as tin or nickel-gold provide a good soldering surface to ensure the quality and reliability of soldering.

Realize Interlayer Connection: 

In multilayer PCBs, plating can ensure the electrical connection between the inner and outer layers of wiring.

Improve thermal Performance: 

Certain plating materials such as copper have good thermal conductivity, which helps PCBs dissipate heat.

Improve Mechanical Properties: 

Plating layer can increase the hardness and abrasion resistance of PCB and improve its mechanical strength.

Beautify the Appearance: 

The plating layer can provide a smooth, shiny surface and improve the appearance of the PCB.

Adapt to Special Applications: 

Some special applications may require plating layers of specific materials, such as gold plating for RF applications to reduce signal transmission loss.

Improve Environmental Resistance: 

The plating layer can improve the PCB's resistance to environmental factors such as humidity and chemicals.

Facilitate Detection and Maintenance: 

PCB lines are clearer after plating, which facilitates detection during the production process and maintenance at a later stage.


PCB plating is a key part of the PCB manufacturing process, the main purpose is to enhance the conductivity, corrosion resistance and reliability of the circuit board. The following are some common PCB plating methods:

Full-board Plating (Whole-board Plating): 

A layer of metal, such as copper or tin, is deposited on the entire outer surface of the PCB to enhance conductivity and corrosion resistance.

Pattern Plating (Negative Plating): 

The desired circuit patterns are first formed on the PCB and then plated on these patterns to increase the thickness of the conductive layer.

Selective Plating: 

Plating is performed only on specific areas of the PCB, such as plating only the pads that connect components.

Chemical Plating: 

Also known as electroless plating, a metal layer is deposited by autocatalytic reduction on the plated surface using a chemical reducing agent, e.g., chemically deposited copper, chemically deposited nickel.

Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold (ENIG): 

The surface of the PCB is first chemically plated with nickel, and then immersed with gold on the nickel layer to provide good solderability and corrosion resistance.

Organic Soldering Preservative (OSP): 

Provides an organic film to protect the copper layer from oxidation while maintaining solderability.

Dip Silver Plating: 

Plates a layer of silver on the surface of the PCB for high frequency applications, providing good conductivity and signal transmission properties.

Electroless Nickel Electroless Palladium Immersion Gold (ENEPI): 

Electroless nickel, then electroless palladium, and finally immersion gold are applied to the copper layer to provide excellent solderability and corrosion resistance.

Hard Gold Plating: 

Plating a thicker layer of gold on the surface of the PCB, suitable for gold fingers or applications requiring abrasion resistance.

Pulse Plating: 

Plating using pulsed current improves the quality and uniformity of the plated layer.

Different plating methods are suitable for different application scenarios and performance requirements. Manufacturers will choose the appropriate plating process based on product design and functional requirements.

Xinchenger Electronics is mainly engaged in 2-36 layers of high-frequency microwave RF induction printed circuit board fast sample and small and medium batch strength manufacturers. Specialising in the production of high-frequency, high-precision, high-density environmentally friendly PCB circuit boards. The products mainly include: high frequency PCB circuit board, Rogers high frequency board, Taconic high frequency board, F4B/Teflon high frequency board, microwave RF board, special circuit board and so on. We have rich experience in the production of high frequency circuit boards used in data communication, wireless communication base station, radar system, automotive, medical and military type industries.

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