Laminated flexible busbars are electrical conductors that are designed to provide a compact, flexible, and highly efficient solution for power distribution. They play a critical role in various power applications. Here, we will dive into the various benefits of laminated flexible busbars and explain how they are used in the automotive industry.
Laminated Flexible Busbars Explained
EVs often rely on busbars to conduct the battery’s high-voltage power to the vehicle’s E-powertrain. International Wire designs busbars to customers’ specifications, accounting for operational needs, current-carrying capacity, temperature requirements, and insulated bar dimensions.
Laminated busbars consist of multiple layers of conductive material (usually electrolytic tough pitch (ETP) bare or tinned copper or aluminum strips) and are protected by an extruded flexible PVC insulation.
The construction of flexible laminated busbars allows for a reduction in size and weight compared to traditional rigid busbar systems. The flexible nature of the busbars enables them to be easily bent, twisted, or shaped to fit into tight spaces or conform to complex geometries, making them suitable for applications with limited space or irregular layouts.
Flexible busbars are commonly used in various industries, including power electronics, automotive, renewable energy, telecommunications, and aerospace, where they are employed for power distribution and interconnection purposes in devices, equipment, and systems.
Benefits of laminated busbar applications
Flexible laminated busbars offer several advantages, including improved thermal performance, reduced electrical losses, and increased reliability due to their lower resistance and enhanced heat dissipation capabilities.
Flexible busbar assembly successfully and cost-effectively replaces systems consisting of cables, supporting components and connections. It is simpler and quicker to install than wiring systems.
How Are Busbars Used in the Automotive Industry?
In the automotive industry, laminated flexible busbars find their application for battery connection, battery pack connections, inverter and electric motor connection, EV powertrain connection.
Advantages of Using Laminated Flexible Busbars in Automotive Design
The following are some of the specific advantages that explain why these components are integral in automotive design:
Power Distribution. Flexible busbars enable the distribution of high currents and voltages from the battery pack to various components and subsystems within the EV. They ensure the efficient transfer of electrical energy from the source to motors, inverters, chargers, and other power-hungry components.
Space-saving and compact design. Laminated flexible busbars are highly flexible and custom-designed to fit into tight spaces and irregular shapes within the vehicle. This compact design allows for optimized space utilization, which is particularly crucial in the limited space of modern vehicles where every square inch matters.
Enhanced thermal management. Automotive systems generate a significant amount of heat, especially in electric and hybrid vehicles. Laminated flexible busbars can be engineered with materials that have high thermal conductivity, such as copper or aluminum, to efficiently dissipate heat from power electronics components, batteries, and other high-temperature areas. This helps to maintain optimal operating temperatures, prolong component lifespan, and prevent thermal failures.
Vibration and Shock Resistance. Electric vehicles are subject to constant vibration and mechanical stress due to road conditions. Flexible busbars, being more resilient and resistant to vibration and shocks compared to rigid cables, provide enhanced durability and reliability. They can withstand these harsh conditions without compromising the electrical connections.
Weight Reduction. The lightweight nature of flexible busbars contributes to overall weight reduction in EVs. This is particularly important for electric vehicles, as reducing weight improves energy efficiency, extends battery life, and enhances the overall performance and range of the vehicle.
Laminated Flexible Busbars from International Wire
If you’re in need of high-quality flexible laminated busbars for your application, turn to the professionals at International Wire for busbars and other components.
To learn more about our products and to find the right solution for your application, contact us today to speak with a member of our team.
The grounding strap is one of the most important parts of an electrical system. While many people overlook this integral component, it’s crucial for safety and performance in many industries, including automotive. Knowing more about how grounding straps function can help you select the right one for your specific application.
What Are Grounding Straps?
Grounding straps, or ground straps/earthing braids, are an important component to ensure proper grounding and electrical safety in applications that require durability and flexibility. Grounding straps are more flexible than wire or busbars and provide connection of equipment in tight spaces. They are typically used in multiple industries as a direct electrical connection between different metal components or parts that may accumulate static charge or carry electrical current.
In automotive industry ground straps based on copper braids connect the vehicle’s battery negative terminal and the chassis or engine block. The primary purpose of the battery ground strap is to provide a low-resistance path for electrical current and establish a reliable ground reference for the vehicle’s electrical system. It allows for the safe dissipation of electrical charges and helps prevent electrical shock hazards.
Depending on the needs of the intended application, International Wire offers a wide range of earthing braid connections with curved or square ends made of the following materials:
Tinned or tin-plated copper (to prevent oxidation)
Our earthing braids are UL 467 certified (Standard for Grounding and Bonding Equipment). Those ground straps are designed from flat braids made of tinned copper wire to carry charge to ground.
Why Are Grounding Straps Essential for Automotive Safety?
The battery ground strap creates a direct electrical path from the negative terminal of the battery to the vehicle’s metal structure. This connection ensures that any fault currents or stray electrical charges are safely conducted to the ground, preventing damage to electrical components and minimizing the risk of electrical hazards.
One end of the battery ground strap is securely connected to the battery’s negative terminal, usually with a ring terminal that fits over the battery post and is fastened with a bolt. The other end of the strap is connected to a suitable grounding point on the vehicle, such as the engine block or chassis.
How to Choose the Right Grounding Straps for Your Application
When choosing the right grounding straps for your application, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure proper electrical conductivity, durability, and compatibility with the specific requirements of your application. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the appropriate grounding straps:
Conductive material: select grounding straps made of high-conductivity materials, such as bare copper, tinned copper, or nickel-plated copper. These materials offer excellent electrical conductivity and are commonly used in automotive applications.
Size and Current Capacity: Consider the size and current capacity required for your application. Larger vehicles or systems with higher current demands may require thicker or wider grounding straps to handle the electrical load effectively.
Flexibility and Length: Evaluate the flexibility and length requirements based on the installation needs of your application. Grounding straps should be flexible enough to bend and route as needed without excessive strain. Ensure that the chosen length of the strap allows for proper connections between the components that need to be grounded.
Corrosion Resistance: Automotive environments can be harsh, with exposure to moisture, chemicals, and temperature variations. Choose grounding straps that are resistant to corrosion and can withstand these conditions to ensure long-term reliability. Look for straps with appropriate coatings or materials, such as tinned copper or stainless steel, that offer corrosion resistance.
Terminal Connections: Consider the type of terminal connections required for your application. Grounding straps usually come with ring terminals or lugs at each end for easy installation and secure connections. Ensure that the terminal connections are compatible with the battery terminals, grounding points, or other components you need to connect.
Compliance and Standards: Verify that the grounding straps meet relevant industry standards to ensure quality and safety. Compliance with standards ensures that the grounding straps have undergone testing and meet specific performance criteria.
Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Consult the recommendations provided by the manufacturer.
Choose International Wire for High-Quality Grounding Straps
When looking for the right grounding straps for your application, it’s important to source them from an experienced provider that can help you with the selection process and meet your project’s needs. For reliable wire products used in grounding straps and other equipment, turn to International Wire. Contact us today for more information about our wire products.
Copper wires conduct electrical currents that power our homes and electrical appliances we use every day. Copper wire is the preferred conductor for many electrical applications because of the high conductivity of copper, which contributes to its optimal performance. Suitable for a wide range of applications due to its versatility, copper requires less insulation and can be stretched more effectively than other metals. Though copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, there are several different types of copper conductors to choose from, and it is important to understand the variances when selecting wire for your application.
Copper conductors are available in many different varieties, each with its own benefits. The types include:
Copper Bare: As indicated by the name, bare copper does not have any coating. Bare copper wire has excellent conductive properties, high strength, good ductility, malleability, and creep resistance, making bare copper conductors ideal for applications in electrical transmission, jumpers, grounding electrical systems, electrical hookups, and electrical appliances.
Copper Tin Plated: This is uninsulated copper wire coated with a thin layer of tin to protect against oxidation. A tin-plated copper wire has exceptional conductivity, weldability, and resistance to corrosive environments and is suitable for water treatment, desalination, power generation, and chemical processing applications.
Copper Wire Plated with Nickel or Silver: This copper alloy conductor is often used in aerospace, defense, petrochemical, nuclear, and medical applications.
Oxygen-Free Copper Wire: can be bare or plated. This is a top-grade type of copper wire that’s been refined in an electrically charged solution of copper sulfate and sulfuric acid, causing the copper to have an exceptionally low oxygen level (0.001%). Oxygen-free copper wire offers high thermal and electrical conductivity, great corrosion resistance and solderability, and higher temperature resistance, recrystallization, and workability making it suitable for applications that demand high durability and accuracy.
Copper Clad Steel (CCS): This type of wire combines the high tensile strength of steel as its core and the conductive properties of copper as its outer layer. Common applications of copper-clad steel wire include temperature measuring instruments, medical products, motors, intelligent pressure, hardware, magnetic assemblies, and power supplies.
Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA): With an aluminum core and an external layer of copper, copper-clad aluminum is a more affordable alternative to pure copper wire. CCA possesses increased strength compared to copper and enhanced conductivity compared to aluminum.
Copper Alloy: Conductor made of copper alloy might include different chemical elements, which define the properties of the final product – copper alloy wire. Here are a few examples of copper alloys: Zirconium, Beryllium, Chromium, Cadmium, Brass and Bronze. Application and requirements for strength, solderability, durability, and insulation define which copper alloy conductor to utilize.
Copper Wire Applications
Copper wires are used in various applications:
Electrical wiring: Copper wire is most commonly used in residential and commercial buildings to generate power. Approximately half of all mined copper is used to produce electrical wiring.
Industrial machinery: Copper wires are used in industrial applications such as factory automation, robotics, mining operations, railway infrastructure, residential and commercial construction, industrial heating, and watercraft applications.
Power generation: Copper wires are used in power generation systems as electrical conductors.
Telecommunications: While fiber optic is taking over in the telecommunications industry, copper wires are still being used for High Digital Subscriber Line (HDSL) and Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL).
Automobile industry: Copper wire applications for the automobile industry include aftermarket electrical components, battery cables and charging stations, shielding products, busbars for EV battery interconnects, and airbags.
Aerospace: Valued for its thermal and electrical conductivity, copper wire is commonly used in aerospace applications such as airframe wiring, in-flight entertainment, cabin management systems, and more.
Benefits of Copper Wire
Electrical and thermal conductivity: The high electrical and thermal conductivity of copper makes it stand out from other metals. This makes copper wiring the go-to option for applications such as transformers, switch gears, and many other electrical applications.
Ductility and malleability: Copper wires are highly ductile and malleable and can be formed and stretched easily without breaking or affecting their electrical properties.
Good tensile strength: Copper wiring has a high tensile strength which prevents breakage, stretching, and other physical damage.
Creep resistance: Creep is the deformation of metal conductors that occurs when they expand and contract under cyclic loads. Copper has higher creep resistance compared to other metals like aluminum.
Corrosion resistance: Copper wires generally have good corrosion resistance properties and keep good performance when affected by moisture, humidity, industrial pollution, and other environments.
Copper Wire Products at International Wire
Copper wiring is the most versatile wiring product with applications across industries. It offers excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, malleability and ductility, tensile strength, creep and corrosion resistance, as well as impressive alloy compatibility. At International Wire, we provide a wide range of copper wire products which include single-end wire and copper wire on bobbins, metal and textile braided products, stranded conductors, and flat wire. Contact us today to learn more, or request a quote.
Unlike pure copper, copper alloys are complex formulations of metal with a copper base and alloy elements such as nickel, aluminum, silicon, tin, and zinc in varying concentrations that give the alloy desired properties. Learn more about popular copper alloys and their common applications.
ETP and OF Copper
Two popular alloys of copper are electrolytic tough pitch (ETP) copper and oxygen-free (OF) copper.
ETP Copper (C110)
For ETP copper properties, this alloy is extremely versatile and is the most commonly used copper alloy. It offers 100% IACS minimum conductivity, making it popular for electrical applications and those necessitating low resistance levels.
OF Copper (C101)
OF copper is a 99.99% pure copper alloy with 0.0005% oxygen content. This alloy has 101% IACS conductivity rating, it is resistant to oxidation, and less vulnerable to hydrogen embrittlement.
Both ETP and OF coppers are malleable, making them easy to work with and form during manufacturing. These alloys offer high levels of thermal and electrical conductivity and low chemical reactivity. They also have resistance properties for oxidation, corrosion, microbes, and bacterial contamination.
Some of their most common applications include:
Elements in heat exchangers
Power transmission lines and components
Cadmium Copper (C162)
Cadmium copper is a high-performance alloy made from 98 – 99 % % copper, 0.1 – 1.5% cadmium and sometimes minor amounts of other materials. The cadmium imbues the metal with more strength and makes it responsive to some heat treatments.
Cadmium copper offers an extended flex life and good tensile strength characteristics, making it a more pliable option for industrial and scientific applications. The alloy also has excellent thermal stability and a high degree of electrical conductivity.
Some of the most popular applications of cadmium copper include:
Electrical components (circuit breaker switches, connectors, spring contacts, electrical conductors)
Geophysical exploration equipment
High strength transmissions lines
Tensile-Flex High-Performance Copper Alloy
This alloy is recognized as a high-performance conductor alloy that can perform specialized functions while meeting or exceeding the requirements of industrial regulations. Tensile-flex high-performance copper alloy complies with the following industrial standards:
This alloy has high tensile strength and maintains this key characteristic even at elevated temperatures of 700° F and higher. The material also has high thermal stability and excellent conductivity characteristics and can resist annealing at high temperatures.
Because this alloy retains its positive characteristics at high temperatures, it’s an excellent choice for:
80EF: Environmentally Friendly Copper Alloy
80EF copper is a Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)-compliant alternative to cadmium copper. This alloy doesn’t have cadmium and other heavy metals like lead or mercury in its composition.
Despite not having cadmium, 80EF still has extremely favorable characteristics, such as good flex life and tensile strength, and it operates similarly to cadmium copper. It’s also highly conductive and offers good thermal stability.
This alloy is ideal for applications that must comply with RoHS regulations and requirements. Additional applications include:
Commercial aerospace applications
Geophysical exploration components
35EF: Environmentally Friendly Copper Alloy
35EF copper alloy is free of heavy metals like cadmium, lead, or mercury. Alloy 35EF copper also complies with several specialized industry standards, including:
35EF is thermally stable and offers excellent conductivity. It also has a high tensile strength that makes it ideal for a variety of applications.
This alloy is a popular choice for any RoHS application due to its directive compliance.
CS-95: Ultra-High Strength Copper Alloy
This alloy has a composition that offers increased strength for use in extreme environments. It allows manufacturers to decrease the size and weight of components without sacrificing strength or integrity.
Ultra-high-strength copper alloy has excellent strength- and conductivity-to-weight ratios as well as a high degree of tensile strength. This durable alloy has excellent flex life in mechanical applications, and it’s another RoHS-compliant alloy.
Components fabricated from ultra-high strength copper alloy CS-95 are used in the following applications:
Aerospace and aeronautic cabling systems
Medical diagnostic equipment
Miniature Invasive Medical Sensors and Probes
Bronze alloys are composed primarily of copper and about 12-12.5% tin, as well as other metals, such as aluminum, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, or silicon.
Regarding bronze’s properties, the alloy is well regarded for its strength, resistance to corrosion and conductivity.
Some of the most common applications of bronze include:
Electronic and electrical components, including contacts and relays
Copper Alloy Wires at International Wire
As a leading U.S. manufacturer of copper alloy wire products, International Wire Group utilizes high-quality metals to meet clients’ unique specifications.Contact us today to learn more about our selection of copper alloys or our in-house cable services.
Electrical wires and cables made from copper are designed to conduct electric currents. Depending on the application, you may require either bare copper or tinned copper conductors. International Wire Group offers reliable bare and tinned wires and cables that provide top-notch performance in various industries and applications. Learn more about the features, benefits, and applications of tinned copper and bare copper wires.
What Is Tinned Copper Wire?
Tinned copper wire is an uninsulated wire that is coated by a layer of tin. Why do you need tin-plated copper wire? Recently manufactured, fresh bare copper conductor works very well, but bare copper wire is prone to oxidation over time much more than its tinner counterpart. Oxidation of bare wire leads to its degradation and failure in electrical performance. The tin coating protects wire from oxidation in humid and rainy conditions, high heat environments, and in some soil types. Generally, tinned copper is used in environments with long-term exposure to excess moisture to prolong the lifespan of copper conductors.
Benefits of Tinned Copper Wire
Bare copper and tinned copper wires are equally conductive, but the latter provides robust protection against corrosion and oxidation. Here are some other benefits of tinned copper wires:
Corrosion resistance, especially in wet or saltwater environments
Extended cable life
Tinned Copper Wire Applications
Tinned copper wires are preferred for humid and high-temperature environments. The following are some specific applications:
Test lead wire
Wastewater treatment facilities
What Is Bare Copper Wire?
As the name suggests, bare copper wire is a copper wire with no coating. Bare copper possesses unmatched conductive properties and can be made in hard, medium-hard, or soft annealed tempers. Bare wire is also known as grounding wire. Bare conductors are available in stranded, braided, or solid (single-end) constructions, depending on the requirements of the application.
Benefits of Bare Copper Wire
Copper is one of the best conductors of electricity, second only to silver. These are several other benefits of bare copper wires:
High thermal conductivity
Good ductility and malleability
High melting point
Resistance to damage while handling a large amount of electricity
Bare Copper Wire Applications
Bare copper wire is best for use in dry environments, including these applications:
Grounding electrical systems
Copper Wire Products at International Wire Group
When choosing between bare copper and tinned copper conductor, the most crucial factors to keep in mind are the type of application and the environment. Copper wires are often preferred over other metals due to their excellent high conductivity and great performance. They are also known for high tensile strength, making them less likely to break under extreme conditions.
International Wire Group provides a range of wire products and services designed with your specific application in mind. Whether you need bare copper or tin-plated copper wire, you can trust us to meet your specific needs. Our dedicated team of engineers and customer service representatives is ready to guide you in making the right choice for your project. To learn more about our bare copper, tinned copper, and other wire solutions, contact us today.