Aluminum Circuit Boards
Epec manufactures aluminum printed circuit boards (PCB) with a full selection of high performance and low-cost materials from leading suppliers around the world. Aluminum PCB consists of a dielectric metal base with a bonded copper circuit layer to create superior heat transfer to help cool components while eliminating problems associated with managing fragile ceramics.
Epec works to be the best aluminum PCB manufacturer when it comes to exceeding all customer expectations. We provide a wide range of electrical and thermally conductive interface pads, thermally conductive gap fillers, thermal phase change materials and thermally conductive electrically insulating materials, as well as specialized equipment for high volume manufacturing.
Aluminum-backed PCBs can consistently increase durability and long-term reliability of a final product through temperature control and associated reductions in failure rates. Aluminum designs also deliver better mechanical stability and lower thermal expansion levels than other available materials.
The following information focuses on single sided non-plated through applications typically utilized in higher volume applications. For information on aluminum plated through hole PCBs, metal core PCBs, flexible PCBs with aluminum and other thermal clad PCBs.
Aluminum PCB Layers
Aluminum PCBs are a unique layered system comprised of the following layers.
Printed circuit foil with thickness of 1oz to 5 oz.
The dielectric layer can have many different options which offer electrical isolation with minimum thermal resistance. Also used to bond the circuit layer and base material together. Each specific dielectric has its own UL recognition. See below for a listing of the different materials that we have in stock to ensure a wide variety of options with quick delivery.
The base layer is most often aluminum but can also be copper. The most commonly used thickness is 0.040" (1.0mm) although many alternative thicknesses are available.
Specification of Aluminum Based Copper-clad Laminate
|Solder Resistance (288°C)||Sec.||Min||600||IPC-TM-650 18.104.22.168|
|Thermal Shock||288°C * 10"/cycle||Min||6 Times||IPC-TM-650 22.214.171.124|
|Peel Strength (Normal status)||lb/in||Min||9||IPC-TM-650 2.4.8|
|Breakdown Voltage||V/mil||750||IPC-TM-650 2.5.6|
|Volume Resistivity (Normal status >E+14)||Ω * cm||1.8x1015||IPC-TM-650 126.96.36.199|
|Surface Resistivity (Normal status >E+12)||Ω||3.5x1014||IPC-TM-650 188.8.131.52|
1 MHz Normal Status
1 GHz Normal Status
1 MHz Normal Status
1 GHz Normal Status
|Water Absorption||%||0.2||IPC-TM-650 184.108.40.206|
(measured on insulation layer only)
|Td||°C||410||TBD (5wt% loss)|
|MOT (RTI)||°C||130||UL 746B|
|CTI (Comparative Tracking index)||V||600 (PLC=0)||UL 746E DSR|
Thickness & Dimension of Aluminum Based Copper-clad Laminate
|Product Category||CS-AL-88/89 L1 (The thickness of resin is 2-8mil)|
300-340 x 500-520
405/400 x 500-520
600-620 x 500-520
1200-1240 x 500-520
1200-1240 x 1020-1060
|Thickness of Single Sided PCB
with Aluminum Substrate
|2.0 1/0||1.5 1/0||1.5 2/0||1.0 1/0||0.8 1/0|
|Thickness of Double Sided
PCB with Aluminum Substrate
|2.0 1/1||1.5 H/H||1.5 1/1||1.0 1/1||0.8 1/1|
* The above thickness excludes the thickness of resin and the thickness of copper and Aluminum can be combined arbitrarily.
* The thickness of copper foil: H oz. - 5.0 oz. The thickness of aluminum plate: 0.2 - 5.0mm.
* Halogen free material.
* Compliance with RoHS and REACH.
Aluminum Based PCB Laminates
We currently support a wide range of laminate manufacturers to provide solutions for various applications.
Our Solutions include:
- Ventec Aluminum Base Laminate – High reliability products all the way up to 10W/m.K of thermal conductivity. Glass reinforced, ceramic filled, halogen free with MOT up to 130C
- ITEQ - IT-859GTA - Halogen free epoxy with metal base, a Tg of 100℃ and thermal conductivity of 3W/m.K
- TOTKING – 180 Tg material with W/m.K from 1.8 to 5
- HuaZheng Electronic
- Improved Product Durability
- Increased Power Density
- Increased Thermal Efficiency
- Reduced Number of Interconnects
- Lower Junction Temperatures
- Reduced PCB Size
- Eliminates Older Hardware
- Minimizes Labor Required for Assembly
- Wide Variety of Form Factors
- Minimize Thermal Impedance
Key Requirements When Selecting an Aluminum PCB Manufacturer
For the most part, all PCB manufacturing follows the same production process regardless of where they are made. The only true differences in suppliers is the level of automation in their process, the newest technology and equipment, and having specific equipment designed to focus on certain types of end products.
For aluminum PCBs, there are several key items that a PCB manufacturer needs to consider if they are going to be able to effectively produce aluminum PCBs in any quantity, including:
Dedicated Imaging Equipment
Many of our aluminum backed PCBs go into LED applications that are much longer than the standard 18” x 24” or 20” x 24” production panels used in traditional PCB manufacturing. To be able to accurately register and economically produce these parts, a manufacturer must have either a custom piece of 60” wide UV light imaging equipment or a setup capable of screen printing (at one time) an image and then UV curing through an oven.
The old manufacturing process of screen printing half the image and then trying to hand register the first image while screen print the second half is much less effective.
Specialized Scoring Equipment
The more common equipment that can V score through traditional FR-4 materials is not suited to manage aluminum PCBs. To get the lowest cost possible, we need to get the best yield possible, which means we need to be able to place these parts as close as possible to each other on the production panel. Without V scoring, you must mechanically rout the parts out, which could result in up to 20% loss of your yield, subsequently increasing cost.
Our engineering team has many years of experience helping our customers design arrays that are the most cost effective for them to depanelize.
Greater Than 40-ton Punch Presses
For aluminum PCBs that are round or have unique features – (slots, large holes, cutouts, etc.) – you will want a manufacturer that can punch out these features. Trying to mechanically rout aluminum PCBs is a very costly way to get these features done in a production environment.
In-Line Hi-Pot Test
A unique requirement of aluminum PCB is that customers want to know that the product they are getting has passed a hi-pot test. While most PCB manufacturers can do this, it is usually a separate process in a lab that is not located in electrical testing. Epec’s electrical test set up includes a hi-pot test, which dramatically reduces cost for the customer.
Aluminum PCB Applications
You can improve the durability and performance of your product by using aluminum boards. Simple designs and low thermal impedance of the dielectric out performs all other printed circuit board insulators for power and high-operating temperature components. The relatively low cost versus copper and the ability to have a lightweight material with excellent durability are the biggest reasons aluminum is used for these applications.
Below are some examples of applications using aluminum backed PCBs.
Aluminum clad offers a variety of thermal performances, is compatible with mechanical fasteners, and is highly reliable.
LED Circuit Boards
Using aluminum with your LEB PCB ensures the lowest possible operating temperatures and maximum brightness, color, and life. With many low-cost options for dielectric materials and specific manufacturing equipment dedicated to single sided production of LED lighting products, we can give our customers the best overall solution.
Thermal clad dielectric choices provide the electrical isolation needed to meet operating parameters and safety agency test requirements.
Solid State Relays
Aluminum offers a very thermally efficient and mechanically robust substrate to drive heat away from the critical system components.
The automotive industry uses aluminum boards, as they need long term reliability under high operating temperatures coupled with their requirement of effective space utilization. Most commonly used in automotive lighting system components.
Most commonly found in street lighting, traffic control lighting, interior building lights, landscape lighting, and camping gear as aluminum PCBs are lightweight and can be very small in size.