Printed circuit boards are used in almost every electrical system we use today. These circuit boards must be able to withstand a variety of operating conditions. As a result, different types of surface finishes are applied to these circuit boards.
When a copper coating on a PCB comes into contact with air, for example, it oxidizes. Surface finishes are important because they aid in oxidation-reduction and improve electrical efficiency and solderability.
Although several different types of surface finishes, this article focuses on one of the most important: 13 advantages Electroless Nickel Immersion (ENIG) plating or immersion gold PCB finish.
1. Structure that is simple to process
There is a slew of advantages that come with ENIG. One of the most important benefits of this form of printed circuit board surface finish is that it is a natural process mechanism.
Since HASL is one of the clearest processes or finishes to undertake, many printed circuit board designers prefer ENIG plating over Hot Air Solder Leveling or HASL finish or even Nickel Palladium (ENEPIG).
When dealing with printed circuit boards, for example, issues like solderability are critical. Soldering specific finishes like ENEPIG and OSP (Organic Solderability Preservative) has proven to be difficult in the past. This is not the case, however, for PCB immersion gold finishes.
ENIG plating has recently gained popularity as a common surface finish among PCB manufacturers. ENIG is a nickel-based double-layer metallic coating that serves as both a surface and a barrier for designers to solder their components.
It’s a perfect match for current market developments, including the rise of complicated surface components and lead-free standards for flat surfaces, such as BGAs and flip chips. Another benefit associated with ENIG is its ability to blend onto flat surfaces seamlessly.
3.Excellent resistance to oxidation
Surface finishes resistant to oxidation are often sought by experienced and high-quality printed circuit board manufacturers in the market for PCB surface finishes. Another important advantage of the ENIG surface finish is that, unlike other surface finishes such as HASL or Nickel Palladium, it has outstanding oxidation resistance (ENEPIG).
ENIG surface plating is made up of electroless nickel plating protected from oxidation by thin layers of immersion gold. ENIG finishes ensuring that a printed circuit board is corrosion resistant and has an extended shelf life by reducing the chances of oxidation.
4.Excellent electrical efficiency
Every detail matters when it comes to developing printed circuit boards. The positioning of wires, finishing touches, and the board’s overall design all contribute to the creation of a functional printed circuit board.
Surface finishes such as immersion gold PCB manufacturing or ENIG are preferred over others such as HASL or ENEPIG because they have excellent electrical efficiency. ENIG is, without a doubt, one of the most commonly used finishes in the PCB industry because it provides excellent electrical efficiency between all of a PCB’s components.
5.Resistant to high temperatures
Most printed circuit boards, especially those used in military and medical applications, are exposed to extreme temperatures. Unfortunately, many printed circuit board designers struggle when it comes to determining what kind of finish to use on such printed circuit boards.
Many of them – especially those new to PCB design – struggle to decide which finish using, particularly when it comes to HASL vs. ENIG. Nonetheless, not everything is lost. ENIG finish is recommended for designers because it can effectively withstand high-temperature conditions without affecting your PCB’s functionality. ENIG is a temperature-resistant finish with excellent thermal diffusion properties, making it ideal for PCBs.
6.Extended Service Life
The type of finish used in producing a printed circuit board decides how long the board can last in months. A printed circuit board can last for six, twelve, or even more, years, depending on the type of finish used. Unlike other surface finishes used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards, ENIG PCB finishes are preferred by most printed circuit board manufacturers.
The explanation for this is that such finishes guarantee a long shelf life of up to 12 months or more. Immersion gold finishes, for example, last longer than other forms of finishes, such as OSP, Electro-silver, and Immersion tin, which only last six months on average.
7.Can be used on untreated surfaces
As a designer working on PCBs, you must secure the untreated surfaces, which oxidize quickly if left untreated. While such an exercise can seem simple at first, depending on the surface finish you select, you may discover that it is not. Apart from the numerous benefits of ENIG, its suitability for untreated surfaces such as contact points and membrane switches makes it superior to other finishes.
8. It’s a no-lead product.
Regular exposure to high lead levels can result in various problems, including brain and kidney damage, body fatigue, and anemia. Excessive exposure can also result in death. Another important benefit of immersion gold, or ENIG, is that it is lead-free, which means that producers are not exposed to toxic chemicals when used as a surface finish on PCBs.
9. Appropriate for PTH
PTH (Plated Through-Hole) pieces have leads or wires coming out of the bottom or sides, allowing a manufacturer to stick them on a breadboard or sell them into a circuit. Another important benefit of ENIG is that it is ideally appropriate for PTH. In comparison to HASL finish and OPS, ENIG is the highest when it comes to PTH.
10.ENIG does not necessitate the use of electroplating.
ENIG is best known for its corrosion resistance, and it is a popular form of plating used in the production of printed circuit boards. ENIG is made up of a gold layer on top of a nickel layer, as previously mentioned.
Unlike traditional electroless nickel plating, ENIG plating does not require an external source of power to deposit metallic coatings on the base material; instead, it is applied via a chemical reaction.
As a builder, you’ll discover that ENIG is easy to weld based on the various crystal structures created by both Gold plating and ENIG. Furthermore, since ENIG is a bit softer than gold plating, welding ENIG does not result in welding defects.
Compared to gold plating, it is much easier to manage the tension in immersion gold, unlike HASL or ENEPIG solutions, which can be difficult to work with while welding; ENIG is not one of them.
12.ENIG complies with all RoHS regulations.
The RoHS regulation (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) forbids using ten of the most poisonous substances in the manufacture of electrical and electronic products.
Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Dibutyl phthalate, Polybrominated Diphenyl ether, and Hexavalent chromium are only a few of the forbidden substances. ENIG satisfies all RoHS specifications on the plus side, which is a strong explanation of why PCB designers use it extensively.
13. ENIG PCB is used in a wide range of electronic products.
Finally, ENIG (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold) surface coating is used in a wide range of electronic items, including computer motherboards, wearables, and medical appliances, among others.
Unlike other types of solutions that may fail to work as intended across various electronic products, ENIG PCB can be easily integrated into a variety of electronic products.
Are you looking for a superior surface finish for your next PCB assembly project? Victory Professional PCB Manufacturers will welcome the opportunity to have a more in-depth conversation with you. Victory is your go-to source for all of your PCB needs. Even for the most complicated demands and needs, we are adaptable, trustworthy, and dependable.
When it comes to PCB surface finishes, we’re the experts. Call us right now for help deciding on the best surface finish for your PCB assembly. We are here to assist you.