We use cookies. They help to improve your interaction with the site.
Electronics news

PCB masking: understanding the process and types

Masking in the PCB manufacturing process is an important step involving the application of a protective layer to various electronic components on a printed circuit board (PCB).

The main purpose of masking a PCB is to prepare it for the application of a conformal coating. This coating creates a protective layer against external factors, but requires careful masking so that the circuitry and functional components are not compromised.

Manufacturers use a variety of PCB masking methods, each with its own application, material, and cost. The two main categories are masking shields and masking tapes.

Reusable masking screens:

- Common options include masking boots, plugs, and vinyl.
- Customized masking boots are economical and easy to apply, but may require constant cleaning.
- Vinyl plugs are a bit more reusable because they adhere to the components.
- Customized masking plugs are used to fill large interlayer and through holes.
- Masking tapes

Disposable masking tapes:

- Low ESD polyimide tapes provide safer removal.
- Standard polyimide tapes withstand high temperatures and leave no residue.
- Crepe masking tapes are less expensive, easy to work with, and leave no silicone residue.
- Each masking method has its own advantages and limitations, which influences the choice depending on specific PCB requirements and manufacturing considerations.