May 27th, 2018
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Tonar Industries, Inc. is an Altus PCB franchised distributor. Altus PCB specialized in delivering the highest quality PCBs, technical support, and service to OEM and EMS companies around the globe. They provide total Printed Circuit Board solutions from quick turn prototypes to mass production.

Case Study: Reduce Cost Without Sacrificing Performance


Case Study: Altus engineers worked with a lighting company to replace their copper MCPCBs with a much more cost effective solution.

The Challenge: A lighting company approached the design engineering team at Altus with a dilemma. Although they had been making copper MCPCBs for years, they needed to reduce production costs. They wanted to transform their existing boards so that they were more cost effective without sacrificing on performance.

The Facts: The original raw material used for the PCB was a MCPCB based on 63 mil copper and 1 W/mK dielectric. The lighting company required that the junction temperature did not vary by more than 5ºC.

The Solution: The engineers at Altus recommended an incremental approach. Since copper MCPCBs can be four to six times more expensive than a standard FR-4, the natural solution was to replace the copper with aluminum. The first step was to switch from an MCPCB of 62 mil copper and 1 ounce copper to a core of 32 mil aluminum with 2 ounces of copper foil. Also, in order to compensate for the reduced thermal conductivity of the base a 3W/mk dielectric was used instead of the original dielectric with 1W/mk conductivity. 

After this first phase was implemented, the junction temperature went up by only 2ºC. The cost saving achieved by switching to aluminum was close to 50%. The design team at Altus decided to reduce the cost even further by using a two-layer 20 mil FR-4 with 2 ounce copper on both sides while the bottom side is a non-functional plane, and is used just to contact the overall product heat sink.

The combination of high aspect ratio thermal vias, proprietary copper plating process and via in pad technology allowed the usage of copper as the main conductor of heat through the dielectric down to the main product heat sink. CB100 as plugging material was considered in order to further improve heat conductivity through the thermal vias, but empirical data shows that the benefits do not outweigh the additional cost; therefore they used non-conductive resin for the vias in pad.

The Results: A minimum of 1.25 mil of copper in the vias was acheved, which is 50% more copper than IPC requires for a standard via. Also, the vias in pad were plugged and capped to provide a smooth soldering surface for the LED. Testing FR-4 configuration for the product provided performance that was equal to or better than aluminum. This approach was accepted as an alternative to the original design that used copper as the core backing material, with a total cost savings to the client of over 80%.


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Circuit Boards When You Need Them


Altus PCB is a global PCB supplier providing total printed circuit board solutions to customers around the world. From low volume quick turn to mass production, they deliver high quality boards when you need them. Altus PCB makes offshore manufacturing easy and brings it closer to you.

Keys to Success:

  • End to End Solutions - Schematics to Fabricated PCB
  • Competitive Offshore pricing with front end engineering and back end logistics solutions
  • ISO and UL certified network of manufacturers allows us to optimize delivery and price 
  • Pre manufacturing engineering review including DFM and DRC Domestically
  • Flexible lead times and a variety of inventory programs to match the needs of your supply chain
  • Source and quality inspections conducted regularly on the manufacturers floor result in close to 100% acceptance rate


U.S. Office:

  • In house engineers reviewing every board
  • 24/7 customer service communication
  • Flexible inventory management programs
  • Domestic inventory
  • CAD layout design services with 24 hours turn around

China Office:

  • Combined experience of 25 years in the Chinese PCB industry
  • On site engineering staff
  • On site quality inspection
  • Daily review of order status

India Office:

  • CAM and DFM
  • 24 hours CAD layout turn around
  • SI 8000 Simulation

 For More Information or To Request a Quote: Click Here