Heavy Copper PCB

An increasing number of power electronics products are taking advantage of a growing trend in the printed circuit board industry: Heavy Copper and Extreme Copper Printed Circuit Boards.

Most commercially available PCBs are manufactured for low-voltage/low power applications, with slim copper traces. However, as designers strive to obtain maximum value and performance from their projects, PCB and PCBA are becoming more complex and are driven to higher power densities. Miniaturization, use of power components, extreme environmental conditions and high-current requirements increase the importance of thermal management. The higher losses in the form of heat, that's often generated in the operation of electronics, has to be dissipated from its source and radiated to the environment; otherwise, the components could overheat and failures may result. Therefore heavy copper circuits can help by reducing the I2R losses and by conducting heat away from valuable components, reducing failure rates dramatically.

“Thick Copper Board” is defined as any circuit with a copper weight over 140µ copper deposit.

"PowerLink” is the use of 2 or more copper weights on the same external layer of a PCB.

Heavy Copper and Extreme Copper PCB have been in use for many years in the military and aerospace industry and are gaining momentum as a technology of choice in industrial applications. It's believed that market requirements will extend the application of this type of product in the near future.

Benefits of Heavy Copper Circuit Boards

✔ Increased endurance to thermal strains.

✔ Increased current carrying capacity.

✔ Increased mechanical strength at connector sites and in PTH holes.

✔ Use of exotic materials to their full potential (i.e., high temperature) without circuit failure.

✔ Reduced product size by incorporating multiple copper weights on the same layer of circuitry.

✔ Heavy copper plated vias carry higher current through the board and help to transfer heat to an external heatsink.

✔ On-board heatsinks directly plated onto the board surface using up to 120-oz copper planes.

✔ Reduced product size by incorporating multiple copper weights on the same layer of circuitry.

✔ Utilizing Heavy or Extreme Copper in creating the high current circuits combined with thicker copper plating in the vias and plated through holes will eliminate the need to add duplicate layers in parallel, thereby eliminating any concern of load sharing among multiple layers. Temperature rise due to losses in the boards can be calculated with greater certainty. The thick copper plating in the holes dramatically reduces failures associated with thermal stress. The result is a cooler running and more reliable PCB.

✔ Heavy copper circuit construction advantages include potential cost savings, reduced layer count, low impedance power distribution and smaller footprints.

✔ The heavy copper features can be seamlessly connected to standard circuits.