ENEPIG is one of the OCB surface finish, full name is Electronics Nickel Electroless Palladium Immersion Gold. This type of finish offers abundant benefits that make it suitable for variety of applications. Compare with ENIG, it has lower price.
Do you know ENEPIG?
ENEPIG is a type of metal plating for PCBs. Developed around a decade ago, this kind of surface finish has gained popularity in recent years for its comparatively low cost to other types of gold plating for PCBs. Over the past several years, prices for palladium have substantially decreased compared to gold. By using palladium plating for PCBs instead of pure gold, PCB plating services can reduce plating costs, making ENEPIG a more popular electronic plating solution.
Nicknamed the “universal surface finish” for its ability to be deposited on just about any PCB assembly, ENEPIG finishes are primarily used to support soldering and gold and aluminum wire bonding. On top of these functionalities, ENEPIG plating also extends the functional shelf life of a plated PCB well beyond a year.
Benefit of ENEPIG
Cheaper: Although the costs associated with most of the processing steps involved in the finishing of ENEPIG are higher, it is generally cheaper than ENIG electroplating. This is mainly due to the lower cost of materials associated with ENEPIG plating compared to ENEG plating. Due to the deposition method, ENEG electroplating requires a relatively thick gold deposit, while ENEPIG electroplating deposits a thinner layer of gold and palladium. Although palladium prices were much higher at the turn of the century, the cost reduction made it a more cost-effective material than gold.
Durable: ENEPIG multi-layer finishes are corrosion resistant and are mainly due to the corrosion resistance of gold and palladium. This corrosion resistance effectively prevents the formation of black nickel, which is a term used for nickel corrosion appearance. The outer surface of the ENEPIG finish is also smooth and non-porous, which means that more corrosive elements are less likely to be trapped on the plated surface and consumed on the surface.
Excellent solderability: The ENEPIG final coating has excellent solder joint strength. The plating type is compatible with many different alloys during reflow soldering, is lead-free, and can withstand multiple reflow solder cycles without degradation. This compatibility is mainly due to the complete dissolution of palladium in the plating during welding. The result is an oxide-free nickel surface that provides a stable nickel-tin connection for soldering.
High wire tensile strength: ENEPIG plating can support aluminum and gold wire very well. After a series of tests, ENEPIG plating protects the aluminum and gold wires under long-term pressure. It also exhibits good adhesion to gold and aluminum wires.
Low contact resistance: Low contact resistance in the PCB is essential to prevent overheating, energy loss and poor grounding. The ENEPIG finish ensures this low resistance because the controlled deposition of nickel, palladium and gold provides a more uniform coating resistance.
Protective Barrier: Both nickel and palladium in ENEPIG surface treatment can act as a barrier layer to prevent copper from being affected by tin in the solder. These obstacles greatly improve the weldability. They also prevent copper and gold from mixing and affecting electrical conductivity.
Suitable for conductive adhesives: Sometimes soldering is not the best choice for connecting components to PCBs. In contrast, conductive adhesives may be a good choice. ENEPIG supports the use of these adhesives, so you can connect components without using solder.
Unlimited shelf life: Unlike many other electroplating options such as silver, copper and aluminum, palladium and gold do not change color or oxidize. These are gradual conditions caused by exposure to air and moisture. Both of these conditions lead to a decrease in weldability, a decrease in overall quality, and deterioration over time. Using gold and palladium to protect the surface, your PCB can remain unpainted, no matter how long the PCB is stored.
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