AT&S has observed that while it can offer a range of special processes, materials and technologies that are optimized for specific requirements such as high-density wiring, enhanced thermal performance or high frequency (HF), many real-world designs only need these high-performance but more expensive technologies in small areas of the PCB. It therefore makes sense, the cmpany argues, to combine low-cost standard boards with the relevant higher-priced, high-end technologies – but only where they are needed. This is the basis of the X-in-Board concept.
X-in-Board enables a combination of different technologies and materials within any common PCB, such as a standard FR4 board or multi-layers with vias and PTHs (plated through holes). The principle is that the main board is combined with a high-performance inlay, e.g. to optimize heat dissipation, HF characteristics or wiring density.
Elements with high-density wiring (multi-layer inlays) can be partially integrated directly into the overall structure, so the designer can reduce the overall PCB thickness. For HF applications such as radar systems in automobiles, special HF inlays can be integrated (for example, based on ceramic materials such as those by Rogers).
X-in-Board technology can assist with heat management, for example in the case of high-power LEDs in the automotive sector that place greater thermal demands on the PCBs. The PCBs that are currently used, with conventional via and PTH structures, may not be able to adequately dissipate this heat, which can cause LEDs to malfunction. Using metal core PCBs based on IMS (insulated metal substrate) or solid copper (Cu) components as an inlay allows optimal thermal transfer through the PCB, and means that power electronics and control electronics can be combined. The power electronics can be LED applications, or alternatively conventional power electronics such as MOSFETs.
AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik Aktiengesellschaft; www.ats.net