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In-house HATS (Highly Accelerated Thermal Shock) lab - Evaluating reliability for extended survivability

In-house HATS (Highly Accelerated Thermal Shock) lab - Evaluating reliability for extended survivability


PCB Technologies has an in-house #HATS (Highly Accelerated Thermal Shock) lab. This unique capability allows easy implementation of HATS tests as an ordinary course of action. With the years, we have accumulated vast experience with a variety of materials and their dedicated applications. This provides us with the ability to advise our customers better when choosing the best materials for their needs.

During manufacturing and later during the life cycle of a PCB the material goes through many thermal cycles. The result is constant expansion and shrinkage. This in turn affects the vias, whether they be blind, buried or through. The Copper plating of the vias sees, at times, massive stress during production and in use. This can result in cracks along the via barrel or separation between layers (delamination).

Not opting to conduct this test in the PCB design stage might also affect the PCBA stage when faulty PCBs are not identified and scrapped. That, in turn, might diminish the level of survivability of the whole system and damage the customer’s prestige in the process.

Our All-in-One approach ensures a tight interface between all production levels and their electrical test & inspection processes. Our IPC-9151D standard-based HATS lab evaluates the interconnects reliability and thus the PCB’s survivability. After 6x reflow simulation at 230°C or 260°C, coupons are exposed to extreme heat/cold cycles. This way, we can determine how reliably the PCBs will operate in the field conditions where they are to be deployed.

All-in-One – the lab inspection angle

All-in-One – the lab inspection angle

PCB Technologies has been dedicating resources in an All-in-One solution. The idea is to provide comprehensive service, spanning from PCB design, through PCB assembly and full systems integration. This post provides the lab inspection angle of this holistic approach. As we all know, the production process of high end/high reliability electronic systems requires ongoing inspection and up-to-date lab equipment.


Three main verticals are fundamental in order to get the optimal test & inspection of the process end-to-end:
1. A solid quality & inspection plan throughout the entire production process.
2. Detailed definition of the interfaces between all inspection steps to optimize risk assessment and root cause analysis.
3. Continuous feedback to enable improved yield and system performance


To support these, we have three operational labs:
Chemical lab – inspecting wet chemical procedures and materials involved in the production process.
2. Metallographic lab – inspecting panel coupons and boards: cross-sections, surfaces, plating, hole fillings and lamination, as well as final product inspection
3. HATS (Highly Accelerated Thermal Shock) lab – inspecting PCB coupons for PTH and via reliability.

Lately we have geared up and purchased new state-of-the-art equipment aimed at optimizing and automating our chemical inspection procedure, to which we are committed as per IPC standards and customer’s requirements. These three new machines cover around 60% of all inspections. Their evident advantage relies on the utilization of our information systems documenting all the inspections and their results. This way we are able supply our customers vital information when necessary (during audits for example).

We conduct inspections throughout the production line. Our engineering team sets the order and frequency for the inspections for each and every product. Conducting this high number of inspections guarantees online identification of framework deviation, thus preventing accumulated errors that have the potential of bringing production to a halt. We will not make any compromises when it comes to quality!

Our new equipment:
1. Ionic Contamination inspection machine - reviewing production line preparation prior to the solder mask plating. We can also supply this inspection for PCBA.
2. Elongation and peel strength tests machine – performing tests according to IPC standards, aimed at reviewing copper elasticity required in order to comply with alteration occurring in the PCB while using it.
3. Titrator– enabling the execution of large scale automated chemical inspections in a speedy manor. One of its main advantages is the level of accuracy.

Why just dense when you can miniaturize?

Why just dense when you can miniaturize?


In the endless pursuit of miniaturization of microelectronic devices, aimed at their enhanced functionality and reliability in parallel to higher endurance, PCB-technologies has developed the ultimate substrate integration, relevant for various applications.

The High Density substrate in the picture is based on a unique production technology. A four stack up layered PCB in total height of 260 – 300 µm.!

Furthermore, its dialectical spacing is 50 µm (Z axis), while a typical µBGA package has a pitch of about 400 µm and its line spacing is 2.0 - 2.5 mil (X/Y axis), enabling high density assembly.

The PCB’s via construction allows for drilling through more than just one layer of copper. This capability of miniaturization is achieved by several proprietary processes and equipment, one of them is based on utilizing laser direct image camera and a new laser drill machine, maximizing the accuracy of the PCB design and manufacturing.

To top it all, the time it took our engineering team to come up with the final prototype, pending on customer’s feedback and trials at our end was only 18-20 days!

This product is fully qualified by one of the most advanced aerospace companies in the world and is already in low rate initial production.

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