Everything About 6-Layer PCB Stack-Up

Multilayer printed circuit boards (PCB) are complicated and often contain multiple interconnected components, each layer needing its own set of parameters. 4,6 and 8 layer is the most used types in multiple layer PCBs.

In this post, we will discuss in detail all aspects concerning 6-layer PCB stack-up—from what they are and their typical applications, to how you can put together one for yourself! Read on for an insightful journey into the fascinating world of multilayer circuit board construction.

What Is PCB Layer Stack-Up?

6 layer PCB stackup

PCB layer Stack-up is a term used to describe the number of layers present in a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). The individual stacking of these layers dictates how the components will connect, and which connections are available.

This can vary from two simple layers up to more complex boards with more than forty layers. Each layer composes of different materials such as copper, polyimide; solder mask, and silkscreen, depending on their purpose. Adding additional layers allow for further connections while taking up less lateral space in comparison to other types of interconnects such as connectors or wires.

As such PCB layer, Stack-up technology plays an important role in many devices and keeps evolving as new materials become available and miniaturization progresses. Also, the design of the stack-up is critical in achieving your desired performance and helping to minimize costs. Finally, the stack-up is a fundamental part of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Standard 6-Layer PCB Stack-Up

To know what 6-layer stack-up is, let’s have a look at the standard 6-layer PCB Stack-up. The following layers are usually found in the standard 6-layer stack-up.

Signal Layers

Signal layers are the first and usually the second layer of a PCB. These layers carry high-speed signals, power, and grounds in a circuit board by connecting the component pads.

Signals are routed on these layers, as well as vias to connect signals from one side of the board to another.

Plane Layers

As the name suggests, these are the layers that carry large planes of power and ground to better distribute them on the board. This reduces noise and improves signal integrity.

Planes may also be used to control impedance as they hold a constant current regardless of the load.

Inner Layers

Inner layers use to interconnect components, as well as power and ground. They also provide a return path for the signals to ensure they don’t get corrupted along their route.

The best part of the inner layers is that they offer additional shielding and physical support to the layers above and below them.

Shielding Layers

Utilizing shielding layers help prevent external forces from impeding your signals. The shield layer is typically made of metal and is placed near sensitive components to reduce interference from external sources.

Solder Mask Layers

Solder masks are a crucial non-conductive layer made of polymer material that safeguards components and traces from electrical shorts.

Which is the material used in PCB?

In the printed circuit board (PCB), different types of material are used for substrates and components.

The substrate material for PCB is usually made up of fiberglass, composite epoxy, and other laminated materials.

Listing is the most popular material which are widely used in the fabrication of PCB:

  • Flame retardant (FR) (for example, FR-4A1, FR-4A2, FR-4A3, FR-4AB, and FR-4B)
  • Composite epoxy materials (for example, CEM-3)
  • Polyimide laminate
  • Teflon laminate and bonding plies
  • Flexible laminates (for example, polyimide and liquid crystal polymer (LCP) or polyester and PEN)
  • Other common laminates (like as BT, cyanate ester, ceramics,)

Each material has specific features, functions, and uses. The selection of materials depends on the requirement of the applications. And also depends on the electrical, dielectric, mechanical, and thermal properties of those materials.

Advantages of PCB

  • Printed circuit board (PCB) has compact in size. So, you can handle and transport it very easily.
  • It requires less wiring. And the cost of PCB wiring is very economical.
  • This type of circuit creates less electronics noise.
  • In the PCB design, there is very little chance to remove the connecting components or to find short circuit condition.
  • In case any fault occurs in PCB, you can check the fault condition and replace the particular failure components easily.
  • In the PCB, electronics components are properly assembled and fixed. So, you can easily identify and maintain the PCB’s components.
  • The location of the electronic part is fixed and it is easy to simplify components identification. Because of this, the maintenance of equipment is easy for you.

Applications of PCB

Here is the listing of some domestic, commercial, and industrial applications where PCB is very essential and beneficial.

  • Printed circuit boards are used in nearly all domestic electronic products such as clock, watch, VCD, DVD, toy, game console, and other electronic devices.
  • For industrial purpose, It is used for the manufacturing the industrial measuring and testing applications, switching boxes, industrial automotive circuits (for example robotics, industrial IoT), etc.
  • In an aerospace sector, the PCB is used for powering, monitoring, controlling and communication.
  • PCBs are used in safety and security applications such as security cameras, smoke detector, automotive door lock, burglar alarms and other indoor and outdoor applications.
  • The military and defense uses PCBs for different applications, radio communications equipment, computers, vehicles, firearms and controlling systems and much more operating equipment.
  • PCB is very essential for monitoring and controlling the marine appliances such as marine vessel and system, large cargo ship, submarine, communication system, navigation equipment and other systems.

What does PCBA stand for?

PCBA stands for the ‘Printed Circuit Board assembly’. Sometimes, it is known as a ‘Printed circuit assembly (PCA)’, or PCB assembly (PCBA).

The electronic components (i.e. resistors, capacitors, IC, etc.) are attached to the blank PCB board, resulting in ‘Printed circuit board assembly’. And this process is called PCB assembling.

There are two basic ways you can assemble or manufacture the PCB.

PCBA manufacturing process

1. Surface-Mount Technology

The surface-mount technology (SMT) is the PCB manufacturing process which contains the electronic components on the surface of PCB. We can connect components on both sides of the PCB board.

This technology works on automation that helps to place complex circuitries into small components.

This assembly process has more advantages such as require less time for more productions, provide good flexibility, reduce the labor cost and many more.

2. Through-Hole Technology

The through-hole technology is an older type of PCB assembly process.

This assembly process mainly happens into two ways. One is to involve the drilling holes into the PCB and another is to mount the electronic components by leads. The lead inserts through holes on the surface of PCB board and solder onto copper traces on the other side of PCB.

Thus, this technology can be done either fully automated or semi-automated.

It has some advantages over the SMT manufacturing process such as it creates a stronger connection between PCB and the connected components, provides good durable, and reliable assemblies.

With this, you understand the basics of the printed circuit board (PCB) and printed circuit board assembly (PCBA).

What's the difference?

Here is how you can compare PCB and PCBA.
  • PCB is bare electronic board which does not contain the electronic components. While, PCBA is electronic board along with electronic components mounted on PCB board.
  • Due to lack of electronic components, PCB is not a functional board. Other hand, PCBA is functional board that can be easily operated in any electronic devices.
  • For the transportation, PCB requires vacuum type packaging and PCBA requires the anti-static type packaging or compartmental type packaging.
  • Due to functionality and presence of additional electronic components, the cost of PCBA is more than the PCB.


Hope you understand the basic difference between PCB and PCBA. Both are essential for manufacturing a complete circuit board. Without the PCB, you cannot manufacture or assemble the PCBA. We have also seen the applications of PCB and PCBA in domestic appliances, commercial and industrial equipment, etc.

If you have any further queries regarding PCB or PCBA, let’s discuss them in the comment section below.


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