Getting the Heat Out


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Increasing consumer demands for high performance and the need for high reliability in sectors such as automotive, LED lighting, and renewable energy mean that thermal management is now front and center on the priority list for PCB manufacturing. This month, industry experts are in the hot seat to explain how to keep everything cool.

Who would have guessed a few years back that the green movement would so heavily involve the PCB industry—and it’s at all not how one would have imagined then. The advent of LEDs in lighting for homes, automobiles, street lamps and much more has created a huge demand for heat-dissipating circuit boards. And the latest high-power chips (power = heat) are requiring innovative ways and materials to keep things cool. Without a doubt the automotive industry is the new big player in power electronics and we are all taking notice.

I am constantly asked or asking the question of articles and columns: Is this design-related or fabricator-related? And truth be told, it’s a mixed bag. But I find it increasingly difficult to separate the two as I feel strongly that each needs to know a whole lot more about what the other does. We often hear about lack of communication between designers, fabricators, assemblers and the final OEM customer—and truly this issue always comes up when talking with people in our industry.

So if you think “this article isn’t for me,” think again and give it a read. Whether you benefit from the detail is only part of the takeaway; it’s always valuable to understand how your customer/supplier thinks.

We start off with Ventec’s Mark Goodwin explaining the surge (pun intended) in power electronics. He presents an excellent, detailed guide to the material choices for thermal management, including new dielectric materials.


This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of The PCB Magazine, click here.

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