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Electronics & Test

Using Copper in PCB Design & Fabrication for Maximum Reliability

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tekochip
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Platinum
Another Gerber File?
tekochip   3/26/2013 12:47:06 PM
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Does Powerlink allow me to have heavy copper only on a few traces by utilizing an extra Gerber file?

etmax
User Rank
Gold
Re: Another Gerber File?
etmax   3/27/2013 9:24:16 AM
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My guess is you would create a layer for each different thickness. From reading the article current carrying vias would benefit a lot from this. Basically defining an additional layer in the layer stack associated with those vias would give you this. This is not unlike what you do when you want peelable mask on parts of the PCB.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Another Gerber File?
tekochip   3/27/2013 9:31:13 AM
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That's what I figured, sort of like when you do a carbon layer for for rubber keyboards.

etmax
User Rank
Gold
Re: Another Gerber File?
etmax   3/27/2013 9:34:43 AM
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Yes, that's exactly what I meant, PCB packages are layered 2D by design, so this is the most efficient method.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
A different concern
naperlou   3/31/2013 9:59:52 PM
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In my personal experience, when designing PCBs the concern is centered around high frequency effects.  This is a different realm and the artcicle is very informative.  I think that one often stays away from high current becuase of the typical types of copper thicknesses that are often used.

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Re: A different concern
notarboca   3/31/2013 10:08:19 PM
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I have worked on older thick copper trace boards on aerospace boards in the past, but this is so much more refined and thought out than older boards. The boards used these for current, not signal.

djbres
User Rank
Iron
Re: Another Gerber File?
djbres   4/2/2013 1:23:42 PM
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The PowerLink can be defined as you described by adding an extra Gerber file such as 1A, 1B, or what ever naming convention makes sense to you.  The often easier alternative is to use the fab drawing to identify areas of thicker copper.  Typically these areas are obvious because the track widths are normally much larger.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Cost Impact
Greg M. Jung   4/13/2013 5:34:57 PM
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I definitely see the advantages of the higher current carrying capacity and improved thermal management.  Copper does have a cost associated with it and I was wondering what the cost impact would be.  In what situations would this technique be more cost advantageous versus using other, more conventional techniques?

taimoortariq
User Rank
Gold
Greater current carrying capacity
taimoortariq   7/19/2013 2:06:46 PM
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It is nice to have more advanced and high endurance PCBs out there, with more Ampere rating. I recall working with comercial PCBs for my final year project. The H bridges of a BLDC motor were made by us on a commercial PCB. When the load used to increase(around 16 amps) the copper wires used to melt and burn the PCB. I hope having more powerfull PCBs will cater for higher power applications in Industries.

techengineer
User Rank
Iron
Re: Cost Impact
techengineer   11/1/2013 3:38:42 PM
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Hi Greg,

Heavy Copper circuitry is something all engineers should be considering in their design.  In PTH minimum thicknes should be 1.2 mils.  Heavy copper tracing can not only add strength to your traces, it also aids in convection cooling.  There is obviously a higher cost involved because of higher plating times however in situations where failure is not an option, its the best way to go.  We manufacture heavy copper circuits for military applications mostly as well as high voltage systems.  Bottom line if you need high reliability.. go with a heavier copper.  Check out www.omegacircuits.com for more info.

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