Busbars have been a mainstay technology in power applications for many years. Sometimes also called bussbars or bus bars, these conductors provide the vital electrical pathways for conducting significant current flows between elements within sub-systems.
Busbars continue to play a key role in power, motor, industrial and automotive industries. However, the challenges of efficiently integrating busbars have become increasingly pertinent as power systems become smaller, faster and more complex. The evolution of these new application requirements is driving the need for both small-footprint busbar interconnects to PCBs and greater flexibility for configuration and production of the busbars themselves.
This Tech Bulletin provides an overview of new busbar technologies that offer configuration options through PCB interconnects like the compact BusMate® power busbar connector, and busbar options such as laminated busbars and flexible busbars.
In power-intensive electrical applications, a busbar is a critical element for conducting significant current levels between functions within the sub-system. Typically, they take the form of a strip, a bar or sometimes a tube made of copper, brass or aluminum optimized for the target application’s current requirements and performance specifications.
While busbars primarily perform electrical rather than structural functions, designers should also consider how busbars mesh within the form factor constraints, as well as the heat dissipation parameters when in operation.
New-generation power applications are increasing in complexity and manifesting themselves in more compact forms. As such, conventional methods for busbar attachment in larger power applications, such as bolting, welding, or clamping connections to busbars, are not always feasible.
Soldering can be problematic because a busbar’s heat dissipation may not be compatible with mainstream automated assembly processes, instead requiring specialized secondary manual soldering steps. In addition, it can also be time consuming, costly, and risk exposure of populated sub-assemblies to the heat of secondary soldering processes.
Interplex’s BusMate® power busbar connector provides a small-footprint to minimize PCB real estate usage and maximize design flexibility, while also delivering excellent electrical interface characteristics. By enabling a compact, solderless and economical interface for connecting busbars to a variety of small PCBs, BusMate® gives engineers a highly reliable and assembly-friendly solution for new power designs.
Key features of the BusMate® Power Coupler include:
BusMate® applications span across a variety of industries including, automotive, energy, transportation, industrial, datacom & telecom and medical & life sciences. It is especially useful for applications such as motors and pumps, hybrid vehicle power systems, electric power steering, charging systems, power mechatronics, Brushless Servo Motor (BLDC) systems, traction drive inverter busbar systems and other emerging power applications.
Characterized by low impedance and low inductance, the enhanced electrical performance of laminated busbars is repeatable and reliable. In contrast with traditional, time-consuming and cumbersome wiring methods, the use of modern laminated busbars enables design simplification and quick installation of well-structured power distribution systems.
Laminated busbars empower product designers with a space-efficient option for packaging, effectively delivering on overall electrical performance within the physical space constraints of a system. They are widely used across a multitude of industries and in an extensive range of applications, including but not limited to:
Flexible busbar designs consist of high-conductivity copper foils (“lamels”) that are bonded together at the mounting areas, but provide flexibility throughout the rest of the busbar. Each foil lamel can be from 0.05 to 0.3mm thick, depending on the specific application requirements. Molecular diffusion welding is used to bond multiple sheets at the mounting area, while leaving the individual lamels separate along their length in order to provide flexibility.
Each lamel can slide against each other, allowing flexible busbars to be shaped, twisted and bent to adhere to the various space constraints of the particular system layout. In addition to making applications more pliable, flexible busbars also bring about a host of other benefits such as:
Flexible busbars are a versatile and reliable option for engineers to create vibration-free connections for a myriad of power applications in various industries, including:
Interplex’s flexible busbars are easily customizable for compatibility with specific assembly environments and end application requirements. As a leader in customized application solutions, our expertise covers end-to-end design, production and testing support for product engineers seeking to incorporate flexible busbars into power systems.
Key steps within the production and testing workflow include slitting, diffusion bonding, piercing of mounting holes, deburring, bending, cleaning and voltage testing. Prototypes can be created in as few as 7 days followed by rapid ramp-up to volume production.
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