Benefits And Challenges Of Assembling Heavy Copper PCBs


Benefits And Challenges Of Assembling Heavy Copper PCBs

Assembling heavy copper PCBs can be challenging, because heavy copper removes heat from the components not only when the board is operating, but also while soldering components to the board. This requires additional heat to be supplied to the junction in order to facilitate soldering, which may be harmful to the component being soldered, and may thus result in improper soldering. One of the most likely conditions seen is the metal in the board retaining heat for a long time, leading to an unsuccessful bond between the copper and substrate, thus causing the copper trace to lift off the board. This will have the assembler to make several trial operations to reflow a board satisfactorily with medium amounts of heavy copper, until he gets it right. A suitable thermal profile for a specific board assembly needs to be established in order to get a proper reflow sequence. Moreover, these heavy copper board assemblies also require a good amount of cooling time to prevent de-lamination. Thus, it is always important to choose a reliable and experienced PCB manufacturer to get the best quality error-free PCB assembly from India; one like Miracle Aerospace.

Benefits of heavy copper PCBs

With all of that said above, we can’t say that assembling heavy copper PCBs aren’t a wise thing; or that it mustn’t be done, because these heavy copper PCBs have their own amazing benefits. In today’s demanding environments, electronics need to be designed to operate at higher currents, even under high pressures. Heavy copper PCBs are the ideal options to be used in such electronics as they conduct heat away from components so that failure is highly reduced. These boards are more capable of withstanding thermal stress, thus helping to conduct electricity better. Moreover, they are smaller in size due to layering of copper, and can survive repeated thermal cycling. Plated holes can weaken if a board is subjected to multiple cycles while in production. But, in the case of heavy copper PCBs that are fabricated using plating and etching techniques, copper thickness is added to sidewalls and plated holes, which strengthen them, thus helping them to survive repeated thermal cycling.

Applications where heavy copper PCBs are used

All of these benefits have made heavy copper PCBs most popular in the most challenging industries like military, defense, automotive, solar panel, industrial controls, and welding equipment. The most popular applications that use heavy copper PCBs include –

  • Solar power converters
  • Safety and signal systems
  • Heavy power rectifiers
  • Overload relays
  • Protection relays
  • UPS systems
  • Renewable energies and storage pumping plants
  • Energy storage and power grid backup
  • Torque controls
  • Power converters for railway systems
  • Power line monitors
  • Power grid switching systems
  • Traction converters for rail applications
  • Electric vehicle charging (commercial and industrial)
  • Excitation systems for power regulators
  • Position control systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Nuclear power applications
  • Line reactors
  • Hydro-electric plants
  • Surge protectors
  • Fuse blocks
  • Weapons control systems
  • Radar systems

Factors to consider while assembling heavy copper PCBs

Apart from the above mentioned challenges, there are various other factors that a PCB assembler will have to consider for assembling heavy copper PCB assembly from India in the right manner with a proper soldering process. These include –

  • Providing linear heating
  • Limiting peak temperature to about 240°C
  • Using the end heating zone to achieve gentle cooling
  • Avoiding jumps in gradient during transitions
  • Maintaining uniform progression curve when the temperature is liquidous
  • Reducing conveyor speed, meaning simultaneous temperature adjustments
  • Reducing fan speed to achieve gentle cooling
  • Increasing operating point of chiller for active cooling zones