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PCB/PCBA knowledge
Copper Clad Laminate: What makes it an integral element of PCB?

The Copper Clad Laminate, or CCL, is said to be the latest addition to PCBs as it dissipates heat from the circuit to let the electronic devices function nicely. It is made of copper and resin composite to work efficiently in electronic circuits. This article will explain what copper clad laminate is and how it can help improve your PCB design by providing you with an understanding of its properties and functions.

Table of Contents

What is Copper Clad Laminate?

What is copper clad laminate

As a base material for PCB, Copper Clad Laminate, or CCL, is typically sold as a semi-finished product. The outer layer is laminated with copper foil over a resin-impregnated glass fiber sheet (intermediate layer). The intermediate layer provides the basic structure for the finished product, and the copper foil gives it a distinctive look that can be customized to suit your needs.

Benefits of copper clad laminate

  • It’s affordable.
  • It can be customized to fit any space.
  • It doesn’t need any maintenance and will last for years.

In addition, to signal integrity issues, CCL boards are also useful when heat dissipation is needed because they can absorb more heat than standard materials without deteriorating over time like other types of PCBs do.

Types of Copper Clad Laminates

1. Based on material used

Paper-based lamination

●       Consists of a thin layer of paper sandwiched between two layers of copper foil.

●       Cheaper than other types.

Gass fiber cloth-based lamination

●       Uses glass fibers for its core material instead of paper.

●       More durable than paper-based versions.

Compound-based lamination

●       Combines different materials together into one single unit.

●       Doesn’t have any specific designation.

2. Based on resin/insulator used

Phenolic laminates

●       Widely used for power, communications, and other equipment.

●       Good mechanical strength and excellent thermal properties

Epoxy laminates

●       Widely used in high-speed data transmission systems, such as routers and network switches.

●       Excellent moisture resistance.

Polyester laminates

●       Widely used in electronic equipment such as computer motherboards, printers, projectors, and others.

●       Excellent electrical conductivity.

Polyimide

●       Very similar to polyester but has lower resistance.

●       Good at handling high voltages.

3. Based on mechanical support

Rigid CCL

●       The resin used in RCDL is epoxy-based.

●       Epoxy can be FR4.

●       Good electrical insulation properties.

●       Ensuring the stability and reliability of the PCB.

Flexible CCL

●       Made of lexible substrate material.

●       Resins cab be polyimide or polyester.

●       Used in wearable technology or flexible displays.

Hybrid (HCL)

●       This copper clad laminate type combines the properties of both rigid and flexible copper clad laminated (FCCL)

What is the function of copper clad board?

Funtion of copper clad laminate

Copper alone is an important building point of PCBs. But it serves as the advanced printed circuit board’s base material and the circuit’s starting point when clad on impregnated glass fibre or resin.

Etching Process of copper clad board
Through a process called etching, the unwanted copper is removed to create the desired circuit pattern. After etching process, the left-over copper traces on the board shape the electrical connections between the different elements of PCB.

Structural support for the PCB
Apart from its conducting abilities, Copper clad boards also support the formation and retention of PCB structure. It helps to hold the components in place and prevents them from shifting or becoming damaged during handling or use.

Where can copper clad laminate be used?

Where can copper clad laminate be used It is often used in the following applications:
  • Electrical enclosures: Used to make the outer shells or bodies of electrical enclosures, which are used to protect electrical components from the environment and prevent electrical shocks.
  • PCB prototyping: Used to create prototype circuit boards for testing and development purposes.
  • Electrical and mechanical seals: Create seals that are resistant to electrical and mechanical stress, such as those found in motors, generators, and other electrical equipment.
  • Insulation for wiring and cable management: Insulate wires and cables, helping to prevent electrical short circuits and improve safety.

Difference between the laminate and prepreg

Difference of CharacteristicsLaminatePrepreg
Definition:“Composite material made of layers of fibers or fabric bonded together with a resin”“Fibers or fabrics layered with resin that are cured by exposing them to heat and pressure”
Usage:Base material for PCBsIntermediate layer in the construction of multilayer PCBs
Stackup location:Outermost layer of a PCBIntermediate layer in a multilayer PCB
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Manufacturing process of copper clad laminate

Manufactrueing process of copper clad laminate

The manufacturing process for copper-clad laminate (CCL) is a three-step process:

1 The raw materials for CCL include copper sheets, resin, and aluminum foil. The sheets are coated with PCB epoxy resin to protect them from corrosion.
2 The aluminum foil is then pressed into the sheet to form a laminate sheet.
3 The finished product is then heat sealed by placing it between two heat plates so that they bond together. This allows the product to be shipped without any damage caused by air pressure or cold temperatures.

Factors should be considered in copper clad laminate manufacturing

Factors should be considered in copper clad laminate manufacturing

● Quality of the materials used in the laminate

If not checked, it can affect its overall performance, including its strength, durability, and electrical conductivity.

● Design and production standards

It is important to ensure that the laminate meets necessary specifications and performs as expected.

● Performance requirements for the laminate

The performance requirements for the laminate, such as its required electrical conductivity or strength, should be considered when selecting materials and designing the laminate.

● Reliability of the key components of the product

A copper clad laminate is a fine combination of insulating layers and copper foils that provide longevity and performance of the product components.

Considerations when choosing copper clad laminate manufacturers

Choosing the right copper clad laminate manufacturers is crucial for the success of your project. The first thing to look for in Copper Clad Laminate manufacturers is their material selection and product durability. The second important factor is the expertise of your chosen manufacturer. Choose a company that has been around for a long time and has a reputation for providing quality products.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a company that can advance your electronic circuit, then IBE is the right choice for you. IBE is one of China’s leading copper clad laminate manufacturers with years of experience in manufacturing high-end CCLs.

FAQ about copper clad laminate

As a base material for PCB, Copper Clad Laminate, or CCL, is typically sold as a semi-finished product. The outer layer is laminated with copper foil over a resin-impregnated glass fiber sheet (intermediate layer). The intermediate layer provides the basic structure for the finished product, and the copper foil gives it a distinctive look that can be customized to suit your needs.

  • Electrical enclosures;
  • PCB prototyping;
  • Electrical and mechanical seals;
  • Insulation for wiring and cable management;
  • Quality of the materials used in the laminate;
  • Design and production standards;
  • Performance requirements for the laminate;
  • Reliability of the key components of the product

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