Power distribution connections within cabinets and 19” rack systems are typically hard wired. There is obviously a trend to reduce assembly time and increase modularisation and customisation with PCB (Printed Circuit Board) solutions. However, the challenge is to achieve the same current carrying capacity and meet the same industrial and safety standards with a PCB assembly. Cross sections of copper traces are smaller, compared to these of cables, but with thick copper technology, the PCB itself is capable for higher current applications.
The wiring with cables for power distribution is one solution, but it takes some time for installation and testing. Another approach is a PCB assembly that connects circuits and components with the embedded traces on each layer.
Advantages of PCB solutions are:
- Reduction of failures caused by to wrong wiring during installation and the resulting assembly and test time
- Additional components like relays or circuit breakers and further electrical functionality on the PCB.
- Modularisation with adding various connector interface for additional modules.
- Customisation with versatile assembly Variants
- Possibility of adding identification areas, i.e. RFID or chips to store inventory data.
The design of PCB’s requires some good knowledge and understanding about industry and safety standards to set up design rules and constraint for each net.
The design of PCB’s requires some good knowledge and understanding about industry and safety standards to set up design rules and constraint for each net. The requirements are depending on the normative references for distribution boxes, laboratory environments, rolling stock applications, etc. It requires wide traces to achieve the same cross-section of a cable wire.
The different layers of multi- layer board, stitched together with plated thru holes, allows the distribution of the cross-section on several layers. The copper thickness is a limiting factor for current carrying capacity. Some PCB manufactures in the market enable technologies to increase the copper thickness in the inner layers. One solution is thick copper technology.
The PCB has some areas for power input and output and shows a typical example for a panel mounted applications with a 90° semi-flex area and power to connect the high current between the rigid PCB’s.
HARTING has the in-house capabilities to evaluate the current rating and integrity based on analytical calculations, simulations or measurements.