Key Requirements When Selecting an Aluminum PCB Manufacturer-Aluminum and FR4 PCB Supplier-HitechPCB
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.