Your Valuable Military PCB Supplier
The military industry is a unique, highly-rigorous, and mission-critical industry. When customers require military PCB, any quality issues risk human lives or safety will be a disaster, using a reliable and established PCB partner can mean the difference.
Military PCB: 4 Layers, 4.8mm thickness, L Oz+plating, ENIG
Today, China aircraft, public safety, and national security customers and contractors require military PCB suppliers with high-mix low–volume and high-tech manufacturing capabilities, plus cutting-edge facilities. As a one-stop military PCB solutions provider,Venture offers you the convenience of dealing with fewer third-parties, stronger IP protection, and many other advantages which are important in national security& Defense projects.
Military PCB: Rigid- Flex board, 8 Layers, HASL
Venture has provided specialized products and services to China military industry for over 10 years. The military PCB’s tight requirements need for high reliability, and long operation times under extreme environments requires a PCB fabricator partner that is reputable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable about Military PCBs.
Your Leading Military PCB Supplier in China
We have produced military PCBs for aviation, defense, and naval applications. Our experienced knowledge of various Military PCB projects has positioned us to understand how to work with a wide range of materials, composites, substrates, and constructions that are necessary for military applications. The following represents a few military applications we have participated in:
- Automation networks (Command and control systems)
- Air cartographic photography
- Radio communication systems
- Radar Installations
- Power converters
- Power supplies
- LED lighting systems
- Temperature sensors
- Audio interface applications
Long development cycles and high qualification costs require military customers to carefully select reliable, responsible, cost-effective partners, our expert knowledge of Military PCB production and quality control systems are the key that leads to military and defense contractors.
Military PCB: Rogers, 6 Layers, 1.1mm thickness, Gold plating
Through our 2 hours rapid response services from our 24/7 sales and tech support team, and excellent after-sales service, we will be your best military PCB manufacturers and suppliers in China. At Venture we can answer any military PCB questions that you may have, pls feel free to contact us anytime.
Military PCB – The Ultimate Guide
If you’re looking for a reliable military PCB manufacturer, then you’re in the right place.
In this particular guide, I will walk you through the various fundamentals that you should have on your fingertips.
Of course, before embarking on choosing and buying military PCB for your project.
At the end of this guide, you should know what a military PCB is, types, its features, and design and fabrication.
I will also show you where to buy quality military PCBs for your project.
Generally, this guide covers all the basics about military PCBs.
So keep reading to learn more.
Military PCB Definition
A military PCB is a PCB designed for military applications.
But what is a PCB?
A printed circuit board or PCB is a think board used to connect electrical components using copper tracks instead of wires.
Holes drilled in the board are used to fix the electrical components in position.
They are then soldered to secure them in position, and the copper tracks link them together forming a circuit.
The board and the components together are known as a PCB Assembly. (Or Printed Circuit Board Assembly)
Unlike other kinds, military PCBs are designed with efficiency, precision and high levels of resistance.
This is because, during the application, they’re subjected to harsh operating conditions. Thus they must be highly efficient, resistant and above all exhibit high levels of reliability.
In other words, Military PCBs are created to fit the needs of the military.
Military Electronic Equipment
And although they can also be found in a variety of types, their purpose is always the same: to assist our armed forces in a variety of fields such as communication services and electronic warfare.
A good example is the ECM. You will learn more about these applications later in this guide.
With that in mind, let’s find out what types of military PCBs there are in the market.
Types of Military PCB
As I’ve said, there is a variety of military PCB types out there all serving the same purpose.
This is the most typical circuit board and is built with a single layer or base material.
The single layer is coated with a conductive material like copper.
They may also have a silk screen coat or a protective solder mask on top of the copper layer.
A significant advantage of this type of PCB is the low production cost.
The double-sided board is the standard choice for a wide range of applications.
This board has conductive metal layers, components and parts mounted to both sides.
Also, the board has holes to make it easy for circuits on each side to connect.
The different parts are connected using tiny wires that pass through the holes on the board.
The wires are soldered in place to give a strong and reliable hold.
A further option to connect the two sides is through-hole technology. This method can create devices that run at faster speeds and less weight.
They use small leads that are permanently soldered to the board instead of using the separate wires.
The multi-layered board is built with two or more layers with each separated by insulation.
The standard size is in the region of 4 to 10 layers, although there are boards with up to 42 layers. This is the preferred type of board for the most complex electronic configurations.
The different boards are connected using wires passing through the individual holes.
They are very helpful for minimizing issues with space and weight and are mostly used in servers and computers.
Types of PCB (based on function and design)
The rigid circuit board is built with solid, non-flexible material for its layers.
These boards are typically compact and able to handle the intricate circuit designs.
Plus, the signal paths are easy to organize, and the ability to maintain and repair is quite straightforward.
ii. Flexible PCB
This is a very versatile circuit board.
It is not only designed with a flexible layer, but also available in the single, double, or multi-layer boards.
They are a great option when it is necessary to save space and weight when building a particular device.
Also, they are appreciated for high ductility and low mass.
However, the flexible nature of the board can make it more challenging to use.
The rigid-flex variety of PCBs is a combination of rigid and flexible PCBs.
Rigid flex PCB
They are the most commonly used circuits in military applications that need very dense circuits.
Rigid-flex PCBs help save a significant amount of space, resulting in electronic products that weigh much less.
RF or rather radio frequency PCBs are a type of circuit boards designed to operate on signals in the megahertz to gigahertz frequency ranges.
This is in regards to medium frequency to an extremely high-frequency which ranges are primarily used for communication signals in military radars.
Please note that RF PCBs do not use the typical FR-4 PCB materials.
Instead, advanced composites with specific characteristics are used to ensure dielectric constant (Er), loss tangent and, CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion).
You may wonder why not FR-4?
Well, the thing is that unlike FR-4 materials, high-frequency circuit materials with a low, stable Er and loss tangent allow for high-speed signals to travel through the PCB with less impedance.
This, as you may note, is very critical in military communication.
High-speed PCBs are a design specific circuit whose signal integrity starts to be affected by the PCB’s physical characteristics.
These could be simple things like layout, packaging, layer stack up among other things.
So if during PCB designing you run into problems like attenuation, delays, reflections or emission, then you’re dealing with a high-speed PCB.
Now, unlike all the PCB mentioned above designs, issues with high-speed ones tend to get lots of attention.
In this case, most focus is usually put on the small details. For instance, where to place traces, what width they’re going to be, how close they’ll be to other signals etc.
Here, it is not just about component placement and routing. Instead, it is about ensuring that every small detail is put into consideration.
vi.Metal core PCB
Metal core PCB
Metal core PCB also abbreviated as MCPCB is a type of board that uses metals such as copper, iron, and aluminum as the base material.
The design usually has an insulating layer, a metal plate, and a metal copper foil.
In military applications, MCPCBs are preferred due to their heat transferring and dissipation qualities.
Aluminum PCBs are the most common type of metal core PCBs.
It is called an aluminum PCB because its base material consists of an aluminum core and a bit of standard FR-4.
This circuit board consists of a thermal clad layer that dissipates heat very efficiently while cooling components and increasing the overall performance of products.
Aluminium PCBs are prevalent in military applications as they work well in high power and tight tolerance applications.
viii. HDI PCB
HDI (High-Density Interconnector) PCBs are mostly used in emergency response devices.
In military fields, this is important as it ensures officers can respond to emergencies faster and with ease.
Now, an HDI circuit board is one that features a higher wiring density per unit area than conventional PCB.
These tend to have finer lines and spaces, smaller vias and capture pads as well as higher connection pad density.
An HDI PCB, note, is usually used to reduce size and weight and also to enhance the electrical performance of the housing device.
Generally, the design and technology of this type of PCB allow it to provide faster transmission of signals and a significant reduction in signal loss and crossing delays: the reason why they are mostly preferred for use in emergency response devices.
Well, this is all about the different types of military PCBs which include single sided, double sided, multilayer, rigid, flexible, rigid flex, High speed, HDI, metal core, aluminum, and RF PCBs.
I hope that at this point, you’ve got a better understanding of the types of PCBs available for military applications.
With that in mind, let us now look at the features of military PCB.
You can learn more from this military printed circuit board design and Layout guide.
Features of Military PCB
Military PCBs are loaded with high-end features and capabilities to enable them to withstand the rigors of defense applications.
Military and defense oscilloscopes
Here are some features to consider when looking for high quality and durable military PCB:
As I’ve said countless times, quality and reliability are vital in military PCBs.
In this case, a good military PCB should utilize high quality military grade materials.
Remember that boards must meet applicable rigid, rigid-flex, or flex standard and thermal and electrical requirements for reliable operation.
Material, in this case, plays a very significant role. Thus, high quality military grade materials used.
Materials such as high-temperature laminates, aluminum, and copper are excellent military PCB substrate materials.
These have excellent ability to withstand harsh conditions such as high temperatures. Anodized aluminum is also commonly used due to its resistance to oxidation.
The PCB should also feature extremely reliable finishing materials for enhanced protection against harsh conditions.
High quality acrylic is a common finishing material for high quality military PCBs.
·Resistance to environmental factors, i.e., high temperatures and humidity
If you’re looking for reliable performance in a military PCB, this is a feature that you cannot ignore.
First, defense applications are known to be synonymous with harsh environment, High temperatures and humidity, dust and harsh chemicals being the most common.
To curb this, a good military PCB must be able to withstand these and any other rigors in the field.
Use of thermal compounds for heat dissipation, additional shielding and traces, and high-temperature laminates are a great indication that the PCB can withstand any hostile environmental conditions.
·Conformity to quality standards
Any military grade PCB must conform to the set industry standards and regulations.
It shows that the product is tried and tested for reliable use in the intended application.
Primary standards to look out for in military PCBs are ITAR, MIL-PRF-31032, and IPC-A-610E Class 3 for High Performance and Electronic Products standards.
Other than the material, a quality military PCB must utilize military spec components instead of the usual commercial components.
Military space electronic component assembly
This gives it more reliability, robustness, and ruggedness than any other kind of PCBs.
So when looking at the features, ensure that the board is populated with mil-spec components with tighter tolerances of 1-2% instead of the commercial component’s tolerances of 5-10%.
·DFM (design for manufacturability)
Before putting any military PCB to use, you must ensure that it has undergone rigorous testing.
DFM (design for manufacturability) is the most common test performed for military grade PCBs.
It tests for basic performance as well as the essential characteristics of quality and reliable military PCB.
Generally, military PCBs must be designed manufactured and tested to ensure that they can withstand the extreme conditions of military applications.
A good board, in this case, should be able to withstand;
- The demand for signal transmission strength and clarity
- High electrical amperage
- Thermal duress
- Variable humidity
- Multiple ambient waveforms and frequencies
- And many more
The above features should help you figure out if your PCB is fit for your project.
Military PCB Design and Fabrication
The process of PCB design and fabrication undergoes extreme conditions and a lot of steps are involved, like etching, engraving photos, multi-layer processing, and drilling, masking, finishing, and finally electrical testing.
In this section, I will take you through the entire process of how a simple design is turned into a useful military PCB.
So stay with me.
·Military PCB design and layout
PCB layout plays a critical role in the manufacturing of a military PCB.
The layout process produces a graphical representation of the circuitry that is necessary to manufacture a PCB.
The PCB design is a detailed description and graphical representation of the circuit.
Most of the circuit boards manufactured today are assembled and tested by automated machines, driven in part by the data provided by the PCB files.
In this light, the need for PCB layout becomes evident.
Two types of software are often used in the design and layout process: computer-aided design (CAD) for designing an electronic schematic of the circuit.
CAD PCB design
After the schematic is designed, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software is used to produce the PCB prototype.
CAM PCB Design
·Military PCB fabrication
Now, once the PCB prototype is designed, the first step in the fabrication process is to choose the material of the military PCB.
There are many different types of PCB materials available, but the popular ones, for military applications, include Alumina, anodized aluminum, iron, copper and FR4 High Temperature.
The design requirement dictates the dimensions of the PCB (I.e., length, width, and thickness).
After choosing the material, the first process is to apply a coating of copper to the entire board.
Then, the circuit layout is printed on the board by a photosensitive process.
A photoengraving process is next used to etch off all of the copper that is not part of the circuit board.
The resulting copper creates the traces or tracks of the PCB circuit.
To connect the circuit traces, two processes is used.
A mechanical milling process will use a CNC machine to remove the unnecessary copper from the board.
Then, an etch-resistant, silk-screen, printing process is applied to cover regions where traces must exist.
At this point, the board contains copper traces without any circuit components.
Drilled circuit board
To mount the components, holes are drilled at the points where the electrical and electronics parts are placed on the board.
Lasers are sometimes used to drill the holes. For more complex designs, a special kind of drill bit made of tungsten carbide is used.
Once the holes are drilled, hollow rivets are inserted into them, or an electroplating process coats them.
This creates an electrical connection between the layers of the board.
A masking material is then applied to coat the entire PCB except for the pads and the holes.
There are many types of masking material such as lead solder, lead-free solder, immersion gold wire bondable gold (immersion silver, etc.
The final step in the PCB fabrication process is to screen print the board, so labels and the legend appear at their proper locations.
·Military PCB assembly process
After fabrication and before assembling the PCB, the board is tested to verify its functionality.
Generally, two types of malfunctions can cause failure in a PCB: a short or an open.
Illustration of open and closed circuit
A “short” is a connection between two or more circuit points that should not exist.
An “open” is a point where a connection should exist but does not.
These faults must be corrected before the PCB is assembled.
Unfortunately, some PCB manufacturers don’t test their boards before they are shipped, which can lead to problems at the customer’s location.
So, quality testing is a critical process of the PCB fabrication process.
Testing ensures the PCB boards are in proper working condition before component placement
·Military PCB Assembly
Once testing is done, and the board approved for assembly, the next stage is to connect electronic components to the circuit board.
PCB assembly follows two main techniques: surface mount technique and through-hole technique.
Through hole PCB assembly
In military PCBs, both of these techniques are often combined to achieve maximum efficiency in the design and performance of the PCB.
In some other cases, manufacturers employ highly skilled technicians to solder minute or small parts using microscopes.
They also used other equipment like tweezers, soldering tip, etc.
·Testing Military PCB Assembly
After populating the PCB board, testing is essential to check and ascertain the functionality of the components.
Testing can be done in several different ways, and these may include;
- Power on; functional test, checking if the PCB is doing what it is designed for
- Power on; in-circuit test, physical measurements
- Power off; visual inspection & automated optical inspection
- Power off; analog signature analysis, power off testing
·Military PCB Packaging
After the military PCB is designed, fabricated, and adequately tested, what remains is to package the board for shipping.
For military PCBs, packaging usually is crucial and must be done carefully and appropriately.
Generally, all assembled PCBs are sensitive to static.
As such, they should be placed in antistatic plastic bags for handling and shipping.
As you can see, for a military PCB to be complete, not only equipment is important, but also PCB Fabrication, PCB Assembly and PCB Test.
Hence, everything needs proper care.
That’s is why I told you earlier, when choosing a military PCB manufacturer, do thorough research about the company and its background
This will enable you to get genuine and high-quality services in return.
Applications of Military & Defense PCB
Military PCBs have diverse uses.
Their applications can range from PCBs for naval operations, aviation, general defense, general defense, and even space applications.
And because military PCB applications are so varied, it’s important that you know exactly what type of PCB is suitable for your specific application.
That said, here are the specific applications for military PCBs;
Military communication system
1)Over horizon enforcement networks
Over the horizon enforcements, networks are cyber intelligence systems.
These systems are used to protect foreign intelligence operations.
PCBs in this scenario ensure that the cyber counterintelligence systems reliably and efficiently prevent, deter, defeat, or manipulate the possibility of a cyber-intelligence crime.
2)Cross targeting systems
Cross targeting systems also known as cryptanalysis systems, help in the decryption and analysis of codes, ciphers or encrypted text.
These systems use mathematical formulas to search for algorithm vulnerabilities and break into cryptography or information security systems
A quality PCB is vital in ensuring precision and control during cryptanalyses.
Most network systems in the military today are automated.
A quality military PCB enables the secure and reliable implementation of these network automation to control and manage the repetitive process and improve network service during operations.
4)Air cartographic photography
Air cartographic photograph
Air cartographic photography is the taking and processing of air photographs for mapping and charting purposes.
PCBs in this regard is at the center of military air cartography equipment including automatic search jamming systems among others.
5)Radio communication systems
All military radio communication equipment, i.e. tactical cell phones, tower radios, etc. require PCBs to function.
As mentioned many times in this guide, reliability is crucial in the military.
Radar installations help to transmit radio waves which are very important in military communication.
High quality and durable PCBs are thus used in these installations to ensure greater efficiency and reliability.
7)Power converters (ASRAAM – Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missiles)
Power converters are devices used to convert electrical energy from one form to another.
They are critical devices in military applications.
Advanced short range air to air missiles, for instance, rely on power converters to enable them to launch and get to the target as specified.
Any failure in these converters can be very catastrophic.
Thus, military PCBs for power converters are built with features that allow it to withstand any harsh conditions including thermal duress, high electrical amperage, etc.
Military grade PCBs are vital in any equipment that powers a variety of military air crafts, control towers, satellite among other systems.
Failure of these power supply systems is not an option in this case.
That is, PCBs for this application are often designed and fabricated with the ability to withstand fluctuations in power supply and high electrical amperage.
9)LED lighting systems
Most military telecommunication equipment includes LED displays and indicators, which utilize PCBs.
Instruments used to monitor threats, conduct military operations and operate equipment use PCBs.
Specially designed boards are used to enable these indicators.
11)Control tower systems
Military control tower systems rely on PCBs to reliably and efficiently receive and transmit signal from cell phones and other radio communication equipment.
These systems utilize PCBs that withstand the hostile outdoor conditions, i.e., high temperatures, dust, humidity, etc.
Temperature sensors are used to detect and measure rise or drop in temperature within a device.
Any change in temperature primarily a rise is then converted into electrical signals.
Most military systems are subjected to fluctuating temperatures.
Meaning, they require specialized military PCBs that are designed to handle this kind of fluctuations.
Our defense forces use various kinds of monitoring equipment including pressure sensors, accelerometers, etc.
These monitors use military grade PCBs that allow for precision, control, and efficiency during application.
That’s it! The specific applications of military PCBs.
Now that you know them let us find out where you buy one or some for your project.
Where to Buy PCBs for Military
The military industry as we know it is often at the cutting edge of technology.
Some of the most advanced uses of PCBs are for military applications.
And as outlined above, the uses of military PCBs vary widely.
Now, due to the advanced nature of military PCB applications, it is prudent that as a buyer, you find the right product for your project.
Quality performance, safety, and reliability are key in this regard.
So to ensure that you’re buying the right PCB for your military application, you have to work with the right supplier/manufacturer.
How do you find the right military PCB supplier?
Well, by looking at several factors that include;
How long has the company been in business?
You need to know a manufacturer inside out and the way they do business in the industry.
When it comes to PCBs, experience is an aspect you cannot afford to take for granted.
For best results in your military applications, partner with a manufacturer who has a long track record of creating high-performance, secure and compliant PCBs.
·High quality consistent service
When looking for a military PCB manufacturer, you need to ask questions such as will they offer engineering support?
You see, before spending the real money on PCB sourcing, you need to a company that will test all the aspects and will completely surrender to your needs as a client.
The supplier should be willing to tests the designs, to avoid all possible errors in the future.
A good supplier, note, will also spend considerably on enhancing their prospects and capabilities.
Another question to ask when looking for a military PCB supplier is can they handle your requirements?
Some manufacturers just deal with a standard set of specifications and tolerances, mainly because their production capabilities are limited.
If you are looking for something particular, you need a team who can handle that.
Thus, find a supplier that specializes in military grade PCBs.
·Dependable lead times
Now, if you are looking to place a quick order, you need to check this aspect, as well.
Many PCB suppliers require more than a few weeks before they can deliver your order, and that’s not something you would expect in the first place, especially if you’re in urgent need.
If you know of manufacturers enlisted under code-compliance such as DSCC, QPL, or QML list, then you already have enough information to make a follow-up.
Such manufacturers often are known to have excellent standards, latest technology, and high quality measures for manufacturing.
Check that your prospective military PCB manufacturer has all relevant certifications and registrations without any violations before commissioning any military-grade boards.
For instance, many manufacturers with MIL-PRF-31032 certification will also have IPC 6012 certification, but if your prospective manufacturer does not have MIL-PRF-31032, the final product may not be suitable for military applications.
That you have read all the above elements of consideration regarding the selection of military PCB manufacturer, it is also advisable if you check the manufacturer’s home ground facility.
It is essential to verify the background of the manufacturer, the methods of testing they use, the on-time delivery facility they provide and similar measures.
And finally, do ask details for material supply.
With military PCBs, you have to be extra careful about every aspect.
Take your time to evaluate these aspects, and you can always thank me later.
That’s all for today.
I hope you have enjoyed this guide of military PCB. I have tried my best to cover all the basic aspects of this topic.
However, if you feel any doubt or have any question, you can ask in the comment section below.
I’d love to help according to the best of my ability.
Also, feel free to send us an email, we’ll help you get the best military PCBs.