Are you looking to select or hire the services of a PCB manufacturer that specializes in the use of aluminum to manufacture Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)? You have come to the right place where the guide you will need will be given to you at no cost.
This content aims at providing in-depth information and guidelines on how you can determine or find out the manufacturer that does a great job on PCBs using aluminum.
What Does Aluminum PCB Mean?
We want you to understand the underlying concept of the aluminum PCB. It is when you understand that it will become easier for you to learn about the benefits and advantages you will derive from using it.
Aluminum PCB is simply the use of metal substrate to manufacture printed circuit boards. It is roundly touted to be robust and efficient more than the standard PCB is.
The reasons for that are quite obvious. We will give you some instances of why aluminum core PCB is making waves all over the world.
You may be thinking that the use of substrate metal in manufacturing PCB has been on only a few years ago. On the contrary, aluminum PCB has been here for many decades.
The history dates back to the 70s when the first model was used. Also known as the Insulated Metal Substrate (IMS), this type of PCB was later to gain traction a few years after the first use.
Ideally, the adoptions began to grow after the use in the Amplification Hybrid Integrated Circuits. It was a few months after the use of the PCB made from substrate metal began to be used in many other applications and use cases.
Why the Preference for Aluminum PCB?
The postulations that the PCBs made under the aegis of aluminum are better are because of some reasons.
That is why we want you to understand the reasons and the factors why this is so. Also, you will now understand why the standard PCBs were relegated to the background after this type of PCBs began to dominate.
Because Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are used in electronics, it means the boards may be usable in many cases. At the same time, environmental factors tend to come in intervals to influence the efficiency or decline of the board.
Therefore, the first reason why aluminum undertones or metal substrate is used in the PCB board design is because of the environmental friendliness.
The ability of this type of PCB to withstand the higher risks when the environment becomes intense is the major reason why it is preferred.
Protection of the Components from Heat
Undue heat and dominance of heat can be a singular factor that will increase the reduced lifespan of a Printed Circuit Board (PCB).
For buyers that are looking at the long-term use and durability of the board, it makes sense to buy quality. And one way to buy quality is to ensure that the board is durable.
The aluminum PCB aids a great deal in that regard because of the higher protection it renders to the board against heat. It will interest you to know that the board can effectively disparate and expel undue heat when it is in use.
Regulating power wouldn’t be a tough decision to make when you buy and use a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) that oozes quality. That is what you will derive from using the multi-layer metal core PCB.
The metal substrate therein is popular for the effective method that it bolsters the functions of the power converters in regulating current in the electronics.
Minimal Circuit Damage
Damages made to the circuit of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) will be minimized when using aluminum PCB as the basis of the project.
How Can I Select the Best and Trusted Aluminum PCB Manufacturer?
Do you want to design aluminum PCB? Are you looking for a PCB manufacturer that can effectively handle the design?
Here are some of the effective tips on how to select a trusted manufacturer for your next aluminum PCB project.
1. Test Out the Project
Sometimes, you may be overly excited about having an aluminum PCB project done for you.
In that state of euphoria, you may not take the time to understand the important aspects of the job.
It is pertinent to have some background information and possibly checks on the board you want to be designed. The use of a third party will help you understand if the project will be worthwhile. Also, the opinion you garnered from the third party (usually another PCB manufacturer helps you to have an idea of the challenges and modifications that may be needed for the project’s success.
2. The Legitimacy of the Company
The other way of finding out the best aluminum PCB manufacturer is by checking for the company’s reputation and legitimacy.
There is no denying that many companies and brands out there will claim to offer the best service. You should take that with a pinch of salt, as every manufacturer will always claim to be the best.
What you should rather be looking at is the authenticity of the company. Check for the public records and the registration with the government or the relevant authorities.
Any PCB manufacturer that doesn’t have a record in the public domain nor registered with the relevant authorities may have some uncertainty hanging over it. That is why you must always check to see that the records are intact and up to date.
3. Schedule a Factory Visit
We must mention that visiting the factory or the PCB manufacturer’s business premises may not be the easiest thing to do but it is doable.
Most times, the manufacturer doesn’t allow such visits either because it has many projects to handle or because it cannot afford to sponsor the visit for some reason.
Whichever is the case, have it in mind that you may not have it easy to visit the manufacturer’s business premises. But, if it is something you are committed to doing, consider budgeting some money to last you for the trip.
And when you get to the factory, try as much as you can to see how things are done there. The insight will help you understand how the manufacturer carries out aluminum PCB designs. At the same time, it helps you to decide if the quality of service there is similar to what you expect.
4. Degree of Specialization
In the selection of aluminum PCB manufacturer, the quality of the project is always paramount.
It is pertinent to mention that the quality of the project may differ. For example, the quality of the aluminum PCB you get from a generalized PCB manufacturer may not be the same as the one you get from a specialized brand.
It is for this reason that we advise that you select the aluminum PCB manufacturer based on the degree of specialization. You can always determine this by the past projects the manufacturer handled and the reviews of the customers.
5. Qualitative Test
The quality of the aluminum PCB must also be tested, as that ensures you will be getting the best from the PCB.
Of course, it may cost you some money to request for preliminary testing for the aluminum PCB but it is worth it.
It is the outcome of the qualitative test that will help you understand the possible outcome of the final design of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).
6. Quantity and On-Demand Design
Understandably, you may need some instantaneous design of the aluminum PCB. In such cases, you will want the PCB manufacturer to get the job done and fast too.
That informs the reason why you must select the PCB manufacturer based on the on-demand design of the aluminum PCB. Also, check for the possibility of getting a few quantities on request.
That way, you can always send out the requests for the aluminum PCB with hopes that the same will be delivered in real-time.
7. Technological Requirements
You should understand that the PCB board design doesn’t end at the components. Most times, the aluminum PCB manufacturer has to prove its mettle in offering the best service. And there may be no better way of doing that than by using the latest technological advancements and requirements.
Further, there are different types of PCB requirements. It makes sense that you understand these as they come in handy when selecting the best manufacturer.
The first technological requirement is the use of specialized scoring equipment. It must be mentioned that the essence of this equipment is there to give the needed scoring that helps to score the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) based on the performance.
The second technological requirement that the PCB manufacturer should have is the Hipot Test. This is the type of test that is used for the evaluation of the performance and overall quality of the aluminum PCB. Besides, the testing uses electrical methods, which is one of the fastest ways of confirming the quality of the board.
Another important technological requirement that the manufacturer must have is the image printer. There may be many options for that out there but the most common is the UV Light imaging equipment. It helps to facilitate the image printing on the aluminum PCB.
8. Learn from the Experience of Others
There may be no better way to uncover the expertise of aluminum PCB manufacturer than to learn from the previous customers.
Reviews continue to remain one of the strongest methods of finding out a PCB manufacturer that can be trusted with your project.
Therefore, do not hesitate to ask for or check the reviews of the previous customers that have patronized the manufacturer.
And if you have some courage and need for it, you may want to ask the PCB manufacturer to give you the references. The company will only be too willing to let you what others are thinking about the services it renders.
9. Attempt a Test Shipping
Try a test shipment to confirm how effective and excellent the shipping method of the PCB manufacture is.
Ideally, the shipment shouldn’t take more than 5 business days. And if it will, the company should take the cue of notifying you on time so you wouldn’t be left waiting.
10. Industry Standards
The design of the aluminum core PCB shouldn’t always go your way. Sometimes, the standards of the PCB industry must be held optimum when designing the board.
At the same time, try to acquaint yourself with the knowledge of the PCB industry standards. Check to see if the manufacturer understands that to so you wouldn’t have any problems with the outcome or quality of the aluminum PCB.
How to Use Aluminum to Make a PCB
So, how possible is it to manufacturer a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) using aluminum?
Here are the steps:
The first thing you must understand is the structure of the aluminum PCB. This is usually four. The components are:
- A dielectric layer
- Aluminum base material
- A layer of copper coil
- Aluminum base layer
The most important aspect of the aluminum PCB design is the use of the metal substrate. This is commonly used when designing the base of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).
How Aluminum Solder on Aluminum PCB Board
Do you want to know how to solder aluminum or the metal substrate on the PCB board?
Here are the simplified steps on how to do that:
The resin used in the aluminum PCB is mostly based on the classification of the boards. For example, the polyimide or polyolefin resin is commonly used when designing the high-frequency aluminum PCB.
The other is the high thermal conductivity resin used in designing the high thermal-conductive aluminum PCB. In this instance, the epoxy resin is the most prominent as it is used in the dielectric layer of the board.
As soon as the resin filling is achieved, the next step will be to apply the solder mask. The idea here is to use the solder mask printing on the aluminum PCB.
It must be mentioned that the two-time solder mask printing is commonly used because of the difficulty that tends to come up when using thick copper foil.
Aluminum PCB simplifies the process of designing and manufacturing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). The other important thing to do is to check for the best aluminum PCB manufacturer that will make the job successful.
You can always leverage the tips we shared above to find the best manufacturer for your next aluminum PCB design.