6 Layer PCB

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What is 6 Layer PCB?

A 6-layer PCB, or printed circuit board, is a type of electronic board that consists of six layers of circuit board material. This type of board is essentially a 4-layer PCB with the addition of two signal layers between the planes.


The six layers of a 6-layer PCB stack up include two internal planes, which serve as the power and ground planes, two internal signal layers, and two external signal layers. The external signal layers are located on the top and bottom of the board and are used to connect components and devices to the internal layers.

6 Layer PCB Manufacturing process

The 6-layer PCB manufacturing process begins with the design phase, which requires CAD software to create a layout for the components and trace signal paths. The next step is the material selection, including choosing the substrate, copper foil, laminate materials, and cores. 


After this comes the drilling of vias to connect the internal layers to the external layers. Copper plating follows, where the board is plated with copper to create conductive paths and interconnects. The excess copper is then etched away before the board is coated with a solder mask to protect it from short-circuiting. 


Furthermore, a silkscreen is added to label components and connectors, and finally, the PCB undergoes testing and inspection for quality and compliance. After passing these tests, the PCB is ready for assembly.


6 Layer PCB Benefits

Here are some benefits of using a 6-layer PCB:


  1. Increased functionality: The additional layers allow for more complex circuitry and increased functionality, making 6-layer PCBs ideal for use in high-performance electronic applications.


  2. Higher component density: With more layers, a 6-layer PCB can accommodate more components in a smaller space, allowing for higher component density.


  3. Improved signal integrity: Using internal signal layers reduces crosstalk and electromagnetic interference, resulting in improved signal integrity.


  4. Enhanced power distribution: The internal power and ground planes provide stable power distribution throughout the board, reducing noise and ensuring reliable operation.


  5. Better thermal management: The additional layers can be used to create thermal vias, which help dissipate heat and improve thermal management.


  6. Increased reliability: Using multiple layers and internal signal planes helps reduce the risk of single-point failures and increases overall reliability.


  7. EMI/RFI shielding: The internal planes also provide EMI/RFI shielding, which is important in applications where electromagnetic interference could cause problems.


  8. Flexibility: The additional layers provide more routing options, making it easier to design the board to meet specific requirements.


  9. Better testability: Using internal test points and probing vias makes it easier to test and debug the board during production and assembly.


  10. Scalability: Using a 6-layer PCB provides scalability for future upgrades or changes, making it a more versatile and cost-effective option in the long run.


6 Layer PCB Applications

A 6-layer PCB, or printed circuit board, is a complex circuit board that is used in a variety of high-performance electronic applications. Here are some of the most common applications of 6-layer PCBs:

  • Computing and data storage: These PCBs are commonly used in computer motherboards, hard disk drives, and other data storage devices due to their high performance and reliability.


  • Telecommunications: These PCBs are used in telecommunications equipment, such as routers and switches, where high-speed data transfer and signal integrity are critical.


  • Medical equipment: The reliability and performance of 6-layer PCBs make them ideal for use in medical equipment, such as MRI machines and surgical robots.


  • Aerospace and defence: These PCBs are used in aerospace and defence applications, such as satellites and missiles, where reliability and performance are critical.


  • Industrial automation: These PCBs are used in industrial automation equipment, such as robotic arms and manufacturing machinery, where high performance and reliability are important.


  • Automotive electronics: These PCBs are used in automotive electronics, such as engine control units and navigation systems, where high reliability and performance are necessary.


  • Consumer electronics: These PCBs are also used in various consumer electronics, such as smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles, where high performance and reliability are  important.


Overall, 6-layer PCBs are used in a wide range of applications where reliability, performance, and high-density component placement are critical.

6 Layer PCB Capabilities

Some of the capabilities of a 6-layer PCB:


  1. High-density interconnect (HDI) technology: With six layers of routing, a 6-layer PCB can use HDI technology to reduce the size of the PCB while increasing the density of the components.


  2. Increased functionality: Additional layers allow for more complex circuits and multiple power and ground planes that can improve signal integrity, reduce noise, and minimize interference.


  3. Controlled impedance: The additional layers in a 6-layer PCB can help to provide a more consistent and predictable impedance throughout the board, which is important for high-speed circuits.


  4. Reduced crosstalk: By separating signal traces on different layers, a 6-layer PCB can reduce crosstalk between signals and improve signal quality.


  5. Thermal management: The additional layers in a 6-layer PCB can be used for thermal vias to help dissipate heat from high-power components.


  6. Design flexibility: With six layers, a PCB designer has more flexibility to route signals, add components, and optimize the layout for performance, cost, and manufacturability.


Furthermore, a 6-layer PCB offers significant advantages over simpler PCB designs and is often used in high-performance applications such as telecommunications, aerospace, and medical equipment.

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