Blog  /  Design of a Military-grade Circuit Board 7 Factors Must Know

Design of a Military-grade Circuit Board 7 Factors Must Know

The military-grade circuit board design is more complicated than an ordinary circuit design. Designing these boards takes time and energy as the boards require extra attention. There is no room for mistakes because the demands of the project are high. There are many factors to consider when designing military-grade circuit boards. Therefore, it is essential to choose a manufacturer with the experience, the right skill set, and quality standards to handle the job.

Some factors that you must consider during the design process of military-grade circuit boards include.


Next generation military grade olive color cellular network technology circuit board

(Next generation military-grade olive color cellular network technology circuit board)


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Accurate Design Software


There is an endless need for the demand for new electronic designs in military applications. Staying ahead of military technology is vital to achieving protection and security. As a manufacturer, you must be up-to-date and use the most advanced tools to create these intricate designs.

To navigate and overcome the problems of military-grade PCB, you need tools that will meet these designs' needs. The circuit board layout for the military requires accurate component placement and high-speed routing for optimal success. By using the right design software, your manufacturer will place and route the board quickly and accurately.

Usually, there are two basic types of software you can use in the design and layout process. They are:

  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD): it is any software that helps manufacturers during the creation of PCB designs. You can use CAD for handling complex problems of a PCB design. This software can design the electronic schematic of the circuit and capture final manufacturing output data. Military-grade boards' models require more than a single circuit board, and CAD makes working with multi-board assemblies more natural and correct. CAD has various tools that enhance the functionality of PCBs in this age of technology.
  • This software converts the PCB designs to a production machine format hence, removing any traces of error. It is advisable to use this software when you want to produce many military-grade PCBs because it improves quality and is cost-efficient.
  • Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM): it analyses the design engineers' files and identifies the file format. You can use CAM after CAD. Its primary aim is numerical control drilling and component insertion.
  • Because the software is system-controlled, it affords the products a high level of accuracy and precision. With the aid of CAM, the PCB manufacturer can produce intricate designs without errors. Some functions of CAM include:
  • A thorough check for any form of geometrical mistakes that can affect the manufacturing of your military-grade PCBs.
  • Creation of a detailed toolpath for the PCB model
  • Setting voltage, cutting speed, pierce height, etc.


PCB 3d equipment design wiring scheme

(PCB 3d equipment design wiring scheme)


2.Military Grade Circuit Design Rules


The manufacturer must design the military-grade PCB from scratch. You can do this by using IPC Class 3 part, which is the highest IPC standard. The manufacturer must consider the design, fabrication, layout, and material selection when using this standard. Includes the collection of laminates, coating thickness, material qualification, manufacturing processes, and inspections.

  • Ensure that the boards can handle the highest level of the current load
  • You must separate the components which are high-frequency from low-frequency components.
  • For effective heat dissipation, use of thermal compounds.
  • Verify the thermal profiles for reflow and wave soldering processes before assembly begins.
  • For smooth current transmission, keep the printed circuit board routings at 45 degrees.
  • To verify the PCB design, software simulation programs are necessary.

By following these military rules, the PCB designs will be top-notch and error-free. If the manufacturer uses Class 3, it makes it a high-performance PCB. It implies that you cannot entertain any mistakes, and the boards will perform an excellent job with no form of malfunction. Such circuit boards are reliable, and you can use them to achieve high performances in military operations. Ensure your manufacturer uses the most top class for PCB -PC-6012DS Class 3A.


Orange yellow and blue digital hardware technology

(Orange yellow and blue digital hardware technology.)


3.Selection of High-quality Military-grade Materials


It very important when you are designing a PCB for military operations. Using high-quality materials ensures that the PCBs will withstand extreme temperatures. The manufacturer must have a clear and in-depth understanding of the different elements, composites, and substrates used in military-grade PCBs' manufacturing process.

The boards must meet certain levels of flexibility, rigidity, thermal, and electrical requirements. Some substrate materials that the manufacturer can use in the manufacturing process include aluminum, copper, and high-temperature laminates. The articles should be able to withstand high temperatures and humidity. By using thermal compounds for extra shielding and heat dissipation, the PCB will withstand harsh environmental conditions.

Military or government contracts avoid counterfeit parts at all costs. Using low-quality parts poses a risk to the products. It leads to failure and revenue loss. As a manufacturer, ensure to avoid using low-quality parts by vetting the chain of suppliers of your PCB parts.


Plastic flex circuit board on human palm isolated on white background

(Plastic flex circuit board on human palm isolated on white background.)


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4.Coating and Surface Treatment


The surface treatment is the coating the manufacturer puts on the copper covering, which prevents it from oxidation. For military-grade PCB, there are special requirements for coating and surface treatment. Important for hostile environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures, dust, water, and vibration.

Using thermal compounds serves the boards' insulating function because it prevents them from waves that crack solder and extreme heat. It also protects the copper circuits and makes the circuit board's surface solderable during the assembly process.

The manufacturer must use coating materials such as high-quality acrylic-based sprays or acid-based sprays for coating treatment. This implies that the selection of the right surface finish of the PCB is essential. The surface finish that the manufacturer uses will affect the scrap rate, process yield, cost, amount of rework, and the PCB's field failure rate.

It is essential to choose the right surface treatment for your military-grade PCB by considering the various procedures' pros and cons. It will help save time, energy, resources, and money.

The consequences of choosing the wrong surface treatment can be critical as it will impact the quality, reliability, and cost of the military-grade circuit boards. By considering the environment that you will use the products, the manufacturing process will be easier.


Green printed circuit board

(Green printed circuit board)


5.Complex Functions Represent Complex Designs


Because of the complexity of military operations, it is important to use complex designs for military-grade PCBs. Manufacturers must have the required experience and skill set to implement some specific designs and layout techniques. For instance, thermal management is essential during the manufacturing process to ensure heat dissipation.

Some key design considerations include;

  • correct mil-spec components,
  • maintaining the correct aspect ratio,
  • verifying impedance calculations by using a high-quality software simulation program,
  • using extra termination methods,
  • an extra cushion for mechanical holes to provide higher efficiency when needed,
  • keeping assembly notes,
  • showing a correct drill chart to ensure the resolution of every PCB issue.


Macro closeup of electronic PCB printed circuit board

(Macro closeup of electronic PCB printed circuit board)


6.Extended Military Circuit Life


An essential factor to consider because you will use military-grade PCBs in harsh environmental conditions. Hence the life expectancy of the circuit must be up to several years. Since a typical military-grade PCB takes more time, energy, and money to design, it is not economical to become obsolete or useless after a few years.

Using robust, rugged, and reliable components, the boards will last a couple of years in the right conditions.

The manufacturer must ensure to use quality materials that will prolong the military-grade PCB's life-span for higher efficiency. A typical PCB for military operations should work for 5-15 years or longer.


Electronic printed circuit board PCB for vibration reliability testing

(Electronic printed circuit board PCB for vibration reliability testing)



Before handing out an army circuit board project to a manufacturer, consider the certifications of the manufacturer. Will show the level of commitment to high quality. For instance, the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) is one of the military assembly requirements. All PCB manufacturers must adhere to the regulations of ITAR. Ensure that the manufacturer has the right qualifications to carry out the project.




Before you consider giving the contract to any manufacturer, it is essential to consider these factors for optimal results. Ensuring high-quality components and selecting the software design will prevent the wastage of time, resources, and energy. Make sure your manufacturer has the right skills set and qualifications for the job.


Are you looking for the right manufacturer for your military-grade PCBs? OurPCB is the right option. At OurPCB, we offer quality services and value customers’ satisfaction. Our experts work closely with our customers to understand their PCB needs before proffering unusual solutions. You can contact us today to book an appointment.

Special Offer: Get $100 off your order!

Claim your $100 discount by sending an inquiry today. Act now to save on your next project!
Please email [email protected] for details.