Heavy copper PCB manufacturer Guangdong Sayfu can make reliable printed circuits for Aerospace and satellite. Aerospace is a hot topic right now. In the next 20 years, the number of planes could be double, and people can travel to space. SpaceX will fly around over the word in less than an hour.
This means that the number of PCB for these applications has started to increase. Faced with a huge demand, PCB designers must learn the specific rules for designing aerospace circuits. Guangdong Sayfu group has a strong and professional technical team, they can clearly understand that PCB design(layout), production, and after-sales service must be able to meet customer’s requirements.
Reliability is the key
For aerospace, the main goal is to build reliable products. Aerospace or satellite customers expect their electronics to last 15 to 20 years with zero failures. Therefore, the longevity and zero failure of electronic products are the key.
To improve circuit board reliability, you need to start with PCB design and fabrication. The first thing of SAYFU designer needs to do is to design the board to be reliable. Don’t use cutting edge technology, but use reliable and standard techniques that we know well.
Most space applications use very heavy copper pcb, much heavier than 2OZ, even up to 5oz. I saw some 20 layer products with 4oz copper in every layer. How they manage heat in space is basically through dissipation. They use a very thick copper design, make a lot of thermal vias, and use the chassis to dissipate heat. Because the energy in the satellite is the key. You can’t use a fan to cool the system, so you need to use the natural properties of copper itself as part of your heating and cooling strategy.
Polyimide is probably 95% of the application. It depends on the satellite. If it was a 15-20 year old geostationary satellite, it would need polyimide. Other materials are available for some low-orbit satellites that may only be in use for two to three years. Companies like Rogers are starting to produce materials that are now attractive to customers which researching space applications.
Choose a Standardized Process PCB Manufacturer
When you choose a heavy copper PCB plant to manufacture PCB for aviation and aerospace, ensure every process is standardized and repeatable. You must have process control and measurement to ensure repeatability is always 100%. Customers can request data from the manufacturer’s process. A lot of satellite customers will ask for a DPA type analysis, basically destroying a good product to prove you have the right plating thickness etc, and need SPC process control analysis of all different processes.
Reliable design and choosing the right supplier for a reliable product
ROHS does not apply to the defense, aerospace and aerospace fields. One reason is that aerospace may never leave leaded HASL, the risk is simply too high. Change to a different surface finish, change to a different SMT, the risk of elevated temperatures, actually increases the potential risk for aerospace products. I deal with most aerospace customers on a regular basis, and it makes absolutely no sense to see a RoHS type program in aerospace. The thick copper PCB is always HASL.
You can use different surface finishes on the thick copper PCB. For example, you can use ENIG, but during assembly, you need to use leaded materials.
On airplanes, most electronics, such as engines, are exposed. The only electronics inside will be your entertainment system, all kitchen lighting systems, etc. The cockpit is also a controlled environment. However, there is no difference between the inner and outer body. You build electronics in exactly the same way. They must be encapsulated and controlled.
The fuselage, engine and wing electronics are basically housed in a sealed box. Therefore, the board itself is not exposed to any elements. But they are affected by temperature, heat and cold cycles every day, then the heavy copper based PCB is extremely important.
Test, test and more test
Heavy copper Printed circuits have to go into a whole different set of testing requirements to ensure they don’t fail. Many satellite customers have their own vacuum chambers where PCB can be temperature cycled. They have to mimic objects like zero gravity in a vacuum, and they need to go from -50 degrees to +125 degrees, depending on whether they’re working on low-orbit or geostationary satellites.
For aviation, if you imagine the engine controls on a plane, one of them is in Alaska, and a similar plane is in the deserts of the Middle East, now you can see huge temperature changes. When the plane flies from one of the environments to the other, you need to make sure the plane can operate it. When the plane is up to 10,000 feet, it’s at -50 degrees, which means any exposed electronics( mainly refer to thick copper PCB) must be able to withstand that temperature. Apparently it faces elevated temperatures when it lands on the ground. Aircraft must cycle through these temperatures multiple times a day.
So when you make a heavy copper circuit board for the aerospace industry, it requires a whole set of test loops that you need to through to prove that the design is reliable. You need to be able to manufacture reliable designs for these types of environments.
IPC 6012DS is a document required by the military and space. It’s basically an enhanced IPC Class 3. The release requirements, quality requirements, minimum plating, etc. are all elevated within those specs.
In aviation and aerospace, the standard document is enormous. The amount of quality control, testing, reporting, microsection analysis, FAIRS, etc. is very strict. It’s even stricter for satellite customers who have just taken it up a notch. Typically, you can microsection 100% of IPC Class 3. Some satellite customers have micro-slicing at 200%. They just want to make sure everything is built the way they want, their own specs even go beyond IPC Class 3A. They are very strict about design rules, very strict about process control and release etc.
The following are some applications on aerospace:
- Radio communication systems
- Radar installations
- Power converters
- Power supplies
- LED lighting systems
- Control tower systems
- Temperature sensors
- Audio interface applications
- AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles)
- APU (Auxiliary Power Units)
- ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missiles)