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Heavy Copper PCB: The Backbone of High-Power Electronic Systems

Heavy Copper PCB

In the world of electronics, printed circuit boards (PCBs) are the backbone of most electronic devices. As technology continues to advance, the demand for high-power electronics is increasing. This demand has given rise to the need for Heavy Copper PCBs, which are widely used in various electronic industries due to their high current carrying capacity and heat dissipation capabilities.

What is Heavy Copper PCB?

A Heavy Copper PCB is a printed circuit board that contains more than 3 ounces of copper on the inner or outer layers of the board. The copper thickness on these boards ranges from 4 oz/ft2 to 20 oz/ft2 and can go up to 200 oz/ft2. These PCBs are manufactured using various etching and plating techniques to add copper thickness to the plated holes and sidewalls.

Heavy Copper PCB Manufacturing Capabilities

Victory PCB, a professional PCB manufacturer, offers high-quality Heavy Copper PCB products. They have an extensive range of capabilities, as shown in the table below:

  • Circuit Base Copper Thickness (OZ) Minimum Trace Width (mm) Minimum Trace Spacing (mm) Solder Mask Minimum Solder Mask Opening (single side)(mm) Minimum Solder Mask Bridge (mm)
  • Inner Layer 1/3 OZ H OZ 1 OZ 1.5-2 OZ 3 OZ 4 OZ 5 OZ 6 OZ / 0.10 0.125 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 / 0.10 0.125 0.15 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 
  • Outer Layer 0.075 0.10 0.125 0.20 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.075 0.10 0.125 0.15 0.25 0.30 0.35 0.40 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.025 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.075 0.09 0.09 0.10 0.125 0.15 0.175 0.20

Benefits of Heavy Copper PCB

The advantages of Heavy Copper PCBs over conventional PCBs are as follows:

  • Simple and Strong Structure: The use of high-current circuits in Heavy Copper PCBs allows designers to achieve higher density and reduce the layer count, resulting in a relatively strong but uncomplicated structure.
  • Reduces Failure State: Heavy Copper PCBs conduct heat away from vital temperature-sensitive components, reducing the risk of failure.
  • Lower Production Costs: Although copper is expensive, the use of Heavy Copper PCBs lowers overall production costs compared to using copper cables.

Applications of Heavy Copper PCB

Heavy Copper PCBs are primarily used in high-power distribution, heat dissipation, planar transformers, and power converters. However, their applications extend beyond these to include power supplies for radar systems, safety and signal systems, welding equipment, protection relays, power line monitors, torque controls, overload relays, automotive industry, solar panel manufacturers, and nuclear power applications.

Design Considerations for Heavy Copper PCBs

Designing a PCB with heavy copper requires careful consideration of several factors, such as the desired copper weight, trace width, and spacing, among others. The designer should also take into account the available space for the heavy copper traces and planes, as well as the thermal management requirements.

The substrate material used in the PCB also plays a critical role in the design of heavy copper PCBs. A high-quality substrate with excellent thermal conductivity is essential to ensure efficient heat dissipation from the copper layers to the surroundings.

Manufacturing Process for Heavy Copper PCBs

The manufacturing process for heavy copper PCBs is more complex than that of standard PCBs. The process involves multiple plating and etching steps to achieve the desired copper thickness. The process starts with drilling the required holes, followed by plating the inner layers with copper to the desired thickness. The outer layers are then patterned and etched, leaving only the desired copper traces and planes.

Quality Control of Heavy Copper PCBs

Heavy copper PCBs are used in critical applications that demand high reliability and performance. Therefore, strict quality control measures are essential to ensure that the finished product meets the required specifications. Quality control measures include checking the copper thickness, trace width and spacing, registration accuracy, and surface finish, among others.

Testing Heavy Copper PCBs

Testing heavy copper PCBs involves several procedures to verify that the finished product meets the required specifications. The testing process includes electrical tests, thermal tests, and mechanical tests, among others. Electrical tests ensure that the PCB can carry the required current without failure, while thermal tests verify the heat dissipation capabilities of the PCB. Mechanical tests check the durability and resistance of the PCB to mechanical stresses.

Heavy Copper PCB have become increasingly popular due to their ability to handle high current loads and dissipate heat efficiently. These PCBs are widely used in various applications, such as power distribution, heat dissipation, and power converters, among others. Designing and manufacturing heavy copper PCBs require specialized skills and knowledge due to their complex nature. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a reputable PCB manufacturer with experience in heavy copper PCBs to ensure that the finished product meets the required specifications.

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