Heavy Copper PCB Manufacturer at One-Stop Up to 14 oz

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Introduction to Heavy Copper PCBs

Heavy copper PCBs are printed circuit boards that utilize thicker copper traces than standard PCBs. These boards are designed to handle high currents and provide better thermal management, making them ideal for power electronics, automotive applications, and other industries that require reliable, high-performance electronic components.

What is Considered Heavy Copper?

In the PCB industry, heavy copper is generally defined as copper thickness greater than 3 oz (or approximately 105 μm). Standard PCBs typically use 1 oz to 2 oz copper, which is sufficient for most applications. However, when higher current carrying capacity or better thermal dissipation is required, heavy copper PCBs are the preferred choice.

The table below shows the relationship between copper weight and thickness:

Copper Weight (oz) Thickness (μm)
1 oz 35 μm
2 oz 70 μm
3 oz 105 μm
4 oz 140 μm
6 oz 210 μm
8 oz 280 μm
10 oz 350 μm
12 oz 420 μm
14 oz 490 μm

Benefits of Heavy Copper PCBs

  1. Higher Current Carrying Capacity: Thicker copper traces allow for higher current carrying capacity, which is essential for power electronics and applications that require high current handling.

  2. Improved Thermal Management: Heavy copper PCBs provide better thermal dissipation, which helps to prevent overheating and improves the overall reliability of the electronic components.

  3. Reduced Voltage Drop: With thicker copper traces, the resistance is lower, resulting in a reduced voltage drop across the board. This is particularly important for applications that require stable voltage levels.

  4. Enhanced Mechanical Strength: The increased thickness of the copper traces also provides better mechanical strength, making the PCB more resilient to physical stress and vibrations.

Heavy Copper PCB Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process for heavy copper PCBs is similar to that of standard PCBs, with a few additional considerations and challenges.

Design Considerations

When designing heavy copper PCBs, it is essential to consider the following factors:

  1. Trace Width and Spacing: Due to the increased thickness of the copper, the minimum trace width and spacing requirements may be different from standard PCBs. It is crucial to consult with the PCB Manufacturer to ensure that the design meets their manufacturing capabilities.

  2. Copper Balancing: To prevent warping and ensure the flatness of the PCB, it is necessary to balance the copper distribution on both sides of the board. This can be achieved by adding copper pours or dummy traces in areas with less copper density.

  3. Thermal Management: While heavy copper PCBs offer better thermal dissipation, it is still essential to design the board with proper thermal management in mind. This may include the use of thermal vias, heat sinks, or other cooling methods.

Fabrication Challenges

The fabrication of heavy copper PCBs presents several challenges compared to standard PCBs:

  1. Etching: Etching thick copper layers requires a longer etching time and more precise control of the etching process to ensure accurate trace formation and avoid over-etching.

  2. Drilling: Drilling through thick copper layers can be more challenging, as it requires higher spindle speeds, specialized drill bits, and optimized drilling parameters to prevent drill breakage and ensure hole quality.

  3. Plating: The plating process for heavy copper PCBs may require longer plating times and specialized plating chemistries to achieve the desired copper thickness and uniformity.

Quality Control

To ensure the quality and reliability of heavy copper PCBs, manufacturers employ various quality control measures, such as:

  1. Visual Inspection: Boards are visually inspected for any surface defects, such as scratches, dents, or discoloration.

  2. Electrical Testing: Electrical tests, such as continuity and isolation tests, are performed to verify the integrity of the copper traces and ensure that there are no short circuits or open connections.

  3. Microsectioning: Microsectioning involves cross-sectioning the PCB and examining the internal structure under a microscope to verify the copper thickness, plating quality, and lamination integrity.

  4. Thermal Cycling: Thermal cycling tests are conducted to assess the board’s ability to withstand temperature fluctuations and ensure its reliability under various operating conditions.

Applications of Heavy Copper PCBs

Heavy copper PCBs find applications in various industries and products that require high current handling, efficient thermal management, and robust performance. Some common applications include:

  1. Power Electronics: Heavy copper PCBs are widely used in power supplies, inverters, converters, and motor drives, where high current handling and efficient heat dissipation are critical.

  2. Automotive Electronics: In the automotive industry, heavy copper PCBs are used in applications such as electric vehicle battery management systems, power distribution modules, and high-current electronic control units (ECUs).

  3. Industrial Equipment: Heavy copper PCBs are employed in industrial equipment, such as welding machines, large motors, and high-power lighting systems, where reliable operation under high current loads is essential.

  4. Aerospace and Defense: In the aerospace and defense sectors, heavy copper PCBs are used in radar systems, power distribution units, and other applications that require high performance and reliability.

  5. Telecommunications: Heavy copper PCBs are utilized in base stations, power amplifiers, and other high-power telecommunications equipment to ensure stable operation and efficient heat dissipation.

Choosing a Heavy Copper PCB Manufacturer

When selecting a heavy copper PCB manufacturer, consider the following factors to ensure that you receive high-quality boards that meet your specific requirements:

  1. Manufacturing Capabilities: Ensure that the manufacturer has the necessary equipment, expertise, and experience to fabricate heavy copper PCBs with the desired copper thickness and specifications.

  2. Quality Control: Inquire about the manufacturer’s quality control processes and certifications, such as ISO 9001, IATF 16949, or AS9100, to ensure that they adhere to strict quality standards.

  3. Technical Support: Choose a manufacturer that offers reliable technical support and can provide guidance on design, material selection, and manufacturing processes to help optimize your heavy copper PCB design.

  4. Lead Time and Cost: Consider the manufacturer’s lead time and pricing structure to ensure that they can deliver your boards within the required timeframe and budget.

  5. Reputation and References: Research the manufacturer’s reputation in the industry and seek references from other customers to gauge their reliability, quality, and customer service.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What is the maximum copper thickness available for heavy copper PCBs?
  2. Most PCB Manufacturers offer heavy copper PCBs up to 14 oz (490 μm) copper thickness. However, some specialized manufacturers may be able to produce boards with even thicker copper layers, depending on the specific requirements of the application.

  3. Can heavy copper PCBs be combined with other PCB technologies, such as multi-layer or flexible PCBs?

  4. Yes, heavy copper PCBs can be integrated with other PCB technologies, such as multi-layer boards or flexible PCBs. However, the design and manufacturing process may be more complex and require close collaboration with the PCB manufacturer to ensure feasibility and optimal performance.

  5. Are there any limitations on the minimum trace width and spacing for heavy copper PCBs?

  6. The minimum trace width and spacing for heavy copper PCBs depend on the specific copper thickness and the manufacturer’s capabilities. Generally, as the copper thickness increases, the minimum trace width and spacing also increase. It is essential to consult with the PCB manufacturer to determine the design rules for your specific heavy copper PCB project.

  7. How does the cost of heavy copper PCBs compare to standard PCBs?

  8. Heavy copper PCBs are generally more expensive than standard PCBs due to the increased material costs, longer processing times, and specialized manufacturing requirements. The cost difference depends on factors such as the copper thickness, board size, layer count, and production volume. However, the improved performance and reliability of heavy copper PCBs often justify the higher cost for applications that require high current handling and efficient thermal management.

  9. What are the lead times for heavy copper PCB manufacturing?

  10. Lead times for heavy copper PCB manufacturing can be longer than those for standard PCBs due to the additional processing steps and challenges involved. The exact lead time depends on factors such as the board complexity, copper thickness, and manufacturer’s workload. It is essential to discuss lead times with the PCB manufacturer during the quoting process to ensure that your project timeline can be met.


Heavy copper PCBs offer numerous benefits, such as higher current carrying capacity, improved thermal management, reduced voltage drop, and enhanced mechanical strength, making them an excellent choice for applications that require high performance and reliability. When designing and manufacturing heavy copper PCBs, it is crucial to consider factors such as trace width and spacing, copper balancing, thermal management, and the specific fabrication challenges involved.

Choosing a reputable heavy copper PCB manufacturer with the necessary capabilities, quality control processes, and technical support is essential to ensure that your boards meet your specific requirements and perform optimally in your target application. By understanding the advantages, applications, and manufacturing considerations of heavy copper PCBs, you can make informed decisions when selecting the right PCB technology for your project.