Copper was originally considered to be the top choice in busbar metals back in the 1970s. These early busbars were most often found in switchboards where low voltage was required. Later, in the 1980s the demand for busbars that could be current-rated increased, but they were also difficult to work with and the horizontal configuration was not the best option for the much larger applications.
In the 1990s the use of aluminum to create vertical busbars changed the entire look of the configurations. This included the option to have different current ratings to satisfy different requirements with various applications.
Today, there are aluminum busbar configurations that are combined horizontal and vertical configurations. This is much more compact and provides a greater design possibility with a wider range of current ratings while keeping the system compact.
Why Use Aluminum?
There are several reasons to turn to aluminum busbar suppliers over copper suppliers. Aluminum is lightweight and can result in systems that are up to 70% lighter than the same system in copper. It is also softer and easier to work with and can be created in custom extrusions to give just the shape required for any system.
Also, and this has always been an advantage with aluminum, it is excellent at heat dissipation. This is important in complex configurations where heat dispersal is essential to maintain the system. It is also highly conductive, making it a perfect option for this type of application.
The lower price is also a factor that many consider as a top reason to use aluminum over copper. To add to this higher corrosion resistance and the ability to use inside or outdoors makes this a very good choice.
Choosing a Supplier
It is important to keep in mind that not all aluminum and not all aluminum busbar suppliers are the same. Working with professionals that have an in-depth understanding of the different alloys and the specific properties of each alloy can be instrumental in getting the right aluminum busbar for your specific job.
Look for aluminum busbar suppliers producing a product that has value-added considerations. This can include specific types of busbar that can decrease energy loss, offer high levels of weldability and have exceptional thermal and electrical conductivity.
Comparing products and finding out which suppliers have the superior product that is a good match for your requirements will be important. You will find these suppliers start with superior quality material to create their busbar products, providing a consistent, stable and flat busbar that is a clear difference to low-quality products on the market.