Shedding light on new materials

dk thermalEvolving LED technology has put pressure on buyers to source new PCB materials that are cost effective and thermally efficient. DK Thermal can help

The world of LED lighting has changed a great deal in recent years. Brighter and more powerful LED technology has been developed in almost every sector of lighting. This rapid evolution has put inevitable pressure on the suppliers of integral component parts, including printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers. Customers demand low cost product, yet also require increased efficiency and longevity, which has forced many PCB manufacturers to seek out lower cost raw materials – but at what cost to quality and reliability?

Metal standards

There are more metal laminate grades on the market now than ever before, yet shockingly, there is no uniformly-accepted international standard to control or identify their quality of production or performance. Think about this fact for a moment. Effectively, it means there is no recognisable feature to identify a 0.5W/mK material from a 4.0W/mK material, which is somewhat of a proverbial elephant in the room.

The metal laminates industry is very different to the FR4 market for PCBs, which is well established, with clear technical specifications for manufacture that are adopted worldwide. In lighting, with its inherent emphasis on thermal efficiency for the long term survival of the LED chip, it is therefore concerning to observe that ‘aluminium PCB’ is the only specification on some drawings. The phrase ‘or equivalent’ is also widespread when a material is specified, but it begs the question: ‘equivalent to what?’

So how can your company reap the benefit of new, more cost-effective materials without compromising reliability and quality? How can you guarantee that the product you receive really will perform to your specification from a thermal perspective? And ultimately how can you be sure to preserve your company’s professional reputation for reliability?

Best-fit laminates

This is where DK Thermal can help as it carries significant inventories of a range of laminate types. This ensures it can offer the best-fit thermal laminate for each customer, based on the required parameters for each specific application. Currently, it has 16 UL approved laminates on file.

In addition, new laminates are constantly being sourced and are tested rigorously by the company’s engineers to ensure consistency and compliance to specification. Key parameters are tested to ASTM D5470, ASTM E1461 and IPC TM-650 standards. Product is only ever manufactured in DK Thermal’s own factories in Europe, America and China, all of which hold TS16949 accreditation.

DK Thermal has built its reputation on customer satisfaction and quality, with the added benefit of free in-depth advice from a team that boasts great experience. As a further benefit, it is also able to utilise its purchasing scale in order to bring high quality materials to customers at competitive prices.