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JLCPCB's Free Via-in-Pad Process Boosts PCB Design Efficiency by 200%

News  /  JLCPCB's Free Via-in-Pad Process Boosts PCB Design Efficiency by 200%

JLCPCB's Free Via-in-Pad Process Boosts PCB Design Efficiency by 200%

Apr 17, 2024

Have you ever faced this PCB design challenge of trying to route out a pin that is completely surrounded, especially when working with fine-pitch ICs or BGA-packaged components?

This issue is demonstrated in the image below, where pin U1_B7 cannot be easily routed out as it is surrounded on all sides:

PCB routing

Traditional Routing Solutions - Pros and Cons

When faced with a pin that is completely surrounded and unable to be routed out, PCB designers typically have two main options to address the challenge:

Option 1: Redesign the entire routing:

One approach is to delete all previous routing and then re-plan a new routing method, trying to find a way to make this route work. This is demonstrated in the example image.

PCB routing

While this may seem like a straightforward solution, the reality is often much more complicated. Even in the simple case shown, the redesign has introduced new difficulties in routing the adjacent U1_B6 pin. The downside of this method is that it is highly time-consuming, and re-routing does not necessarily guarantee a successful outcome.

Option 2: Drill Holes Directly in Pads

The second option is to take a more direct approach - simply drill a hole directly in the pad and route the trace from another layer. This is a simpler and quicker solution compared to a full redesign.

The advantage of this method is its simplicity and the resulting neat, organized routing. However, the main drawback is that drilling holes in pads can potentially affect the quality of SMT soldering and the mechanical strength of the pads themselves. This introduces reliability concerns that many PCB designers are hesitant to accept.

In most cases, despite the downsides, designers will still choose the first option of redesigning the routing. The risk of compromising solder joints or pad integrity makes the second option less palatable, even if it is a faster solution.

PCB routing

The Introduce of JLCPCB's Via-in-Pad Process

JLCPCB's via-in-pad process uses resin-filled and plated-over vias. It allows vias to be placed on any BGA pad without affecting subsequent SMT.

It involves first filling the via with resin, baking and evening the resin, and then plating copper over the flat surface. This way, the appearance shows no trace of a hole, and naturally, soldering will not be affected. Since this method involves drilling a hole in the pad, it is also known as JLCPCB's via-in-pad process.


Comparison images of actual boards with and without via-in-pad:

with and without via-in-pad

Note: The image above is produced using a 0.7 mm hole for the in-pad via process, hence the slight impression; otherwise, the in-pad via would not be visible at all.

Key Benefits of Via-in-Pad Technology

JLCPCB's innovative via-in-pad manufacturing process unlocks significant advantages for PCB designers and engineers:

Design Freedom

The primary benefit felt by layout engineers is a newfound "freedom" in their design process. The via-in-pad approach allows them to place vias wherever needed, including directly on BGA pads. This dramatically expands the routing options available, enabling more efficient and optimized PCB layouts.

Improved Efficiency

In addition to the increased design flexibility, JLCPCB's via-in-pad technology also delivers substantial gains in PCB layout productivity. Tasks that previously took 7 days to complete can now be done in just 2 days - over a 70% reduction in routing time. These time savings allow designers to allocate resources towards creating additional board designs within the same timeframe.

Reliable Solder Joints

The via-in-pad process eliminates common issues associated with traditional via implementation, such as via tenting and via plugging. By filling the vias with resin and plating a smooth copper surface, the risk of solder defects and joint failures is significantly reduced. This enhances the overall reliability and quality of the final PCB assemblies.

Together, these key advantages make JLCPCB's via-in-pad technology a transformative solution for PCB designers seeking greater flexibility, efficiency, and reliability in their work. The ability to route traces without constraint, while also boosting productivity and solder joint integrity, represents a major breakthrough in modern circuit board design

via in pad

The visual effect can be seen in the comparison image:

JLCPCB Offers Via-in-Pad for Free

Traditionally, the via-in-pad process has been expensive due to the specialized equipment and materials required. However, JLCPCB now provides this advanced capability for free on 6-20 layer PCB orders.

This unprecedented free offering from JLCPCB is a true breakthrough for the industry, allowing all design teams to boost their PCB layout productivity and create more sophisticated, reliable board designs. Electronic engineers who may have previously hesitated to utilize via-in-pad are now highly encouraged to take advantage of this transformative technology at no extra cost.