What are Laminated Bus Bars?

Rather than use one solid bar of copper, the industry prefers laminated bus bars. These are fabricated components with layers of engineered copper bars separated by flat dielectric materials, bound together into a unified construction. Laminated bus bars offer several advantages—improved reliability and reduced system costs. They are available in various sizes and shapes, some as big as a fingertip while others more than twenty feet in length. Several industries use multilayered bus bar solutions routinely and they include telecommunications, computers, industrial, military, transportation, alternative energy, power electronics, and many more.

Laminated bus bars are good for reducing the system costs, improving system reliability, increasing capacitance, lowering inductance, and eliminating wiring errors. Additionally, the physical structure of the bus bars also acts as structural members of a complete power distribution subsystem. Multilayer bus bars function as a structural integration that other wiring methods cannot match.

The decreased assembly time and the internal material handling costs for laminated bus bars bring down the overall manufacturing costs. Assembly operating procedures can be difficult to follow and assemblers often resort to guesswork, leading to wiring errors. Using laminated bus bars eliminates this totally, as installers have to terminate various conductors at specified locations. Not only does this reduce the parts count, it also reduces ordering, inventory costs, and material handling.

Fabricators can make laminated bus bars fit specific needs and customize them for maximizing efficiency. The use of laminated bus bars, therefore, helps the organization build quality into processes. With reductions in wiring errors, the organization has fewer reworks, and they can lower their quality and service costs.

Laminated bus bars offer increased capacitance and lower inductance, resulting in lower characteristic impedance. The benefit to the industry is greater noise cancellation and effective noise suppression. Manufacturers can control the capacitance by using dielectrics of various thicknesses and different relative K factor.

Multilayered bus bars can replace cable harnesses—this eliminates mistakes in wirings. Moreover, failure rate of bus bars is extremely low, while wiring harnesses fail very often. That makes repairing and or replacing wire harnesses an expensive process, while using bus bars in the system is adding an effective insurance.

According to physics, a conductor carrying current develops an electromagnetic field around the conductor. As laminated bus bars have thin parallel conductors with thin dielectric material separating them, the effect of inductance on electrical circuits is a minimum. With opposing potentials laminated together, the magnetic flux cancellation reaches a maximum. Semiconductor applications routinely use laminated bus bars to reduce the proximity effect. GaN and or SiC high frequency circuits also use laminated bus bars to reduce high electromagnetic interference.

Using wide and thin conductors and laminating them together to form bus bars actually decreases the space requirement, thereby allowing a better airflow in systems and improving system thermal characteristics. Moreover, the flexibility of these bus bars provides the industry with a wide variety of interconnecting methods. Assemblers commonly use tabs, embossments, and bushings for installing laminated bus bars. Manufacturers also offer pressed-in fittings that can integrate into the design. This makes laminated bus bars compatible with almost any type of interface.