You have probably heard of printed circuit boards (PCBs)but don’t actually know what they are. You may not be aware that these boards are present in almost all electronic gadgets at home and at work.There are also alternatives to printed circuit boards such as wire wraps. These days, the manufacture and assembly of boards are already automated.
If you need to understand the basics of PCBs, this article will be very helpful.The most fundamental thing that you need to know is that the main function of a printed circuit board is to mechanically support and electronically connect components.The main material to fulfill this function is a conductive pad.The features of the printed circuit board are etched using copper sheets.These copper sheets are laminated on a substrate.The substrate where they are laminated should be non-conductive.
You may also distinguish PCBs according to their features and components.There are several kinds such as the single-sided PCB, a double-sided PCB, and a multi-layer PCB.You can see the difference in the number of copper layers.As expected, PCBs with multiple layers have more advantages because they have a higher density.The conductors on several layers of multi-layer PCBs are connected using holes that are called vias.
If you look closely at a printed circuit board, it is composed of an insulating substrate.The material that is primarily used for this purpose is a glass epoxy called FR-4.A layer of copper foil is used to laminate either one or both sides of an FR-4 board. Circuits are then etched onto the layers of copper to make the PCBs.Using PCBs in circuit manufacturing is faster and cheaper than employing other wiring methods.Wiring errors are also minimized.
The global demand for printed circuit boards is continuing to rise, and is expected to rise for the coming years.In 2012, the world market for PCBs was already worth around 60 billion US dollars.China is still the world leader for printed circuit board demand and production.Given the forecast made last year, China’s PCB production share is projected to increase further by 5%.You’re probably wondering about the reason behind this increased global demand.It is simply mankind’s increased dependence and use of machines. According to Daryl Plummer, Distinguished Analyst for PCB Magazine, the roles that machines play are shifting dramatically.Computer-based machines are now being used to create an expanding variety of experiences.
The ideas behind the modern design of printed circuit boards were started in Germany, when an inventor named Albert Hanson described in his writings foil conductors that are laminated into an insulating board.Even Thomas Edison experimented with plating conductors.However, you should give credit to an Austrian engineer by the name of Paul Eisler who invented the printed circuit.It is the USA that began using it on a large scale for making fuses during World War II.A company called Globe Union, particularly its Centralab Division, won the bid to manufacture them. These proximity fuses used in World War II needed an electronic circuit that could withstand being fired from a powerful gun.The proposed technique of Centralab proved to be viable.Harry Rubinstein, the head of Centralab during that time, was honored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1984 because of his early contributions to the development of PCBs.
One of the basic things that you should know about PCBs is that they also have different assembly methods. It could be through-hole construction or surface-mounted technology.Starting from the 1980s onwards, small surface mount parts have been utilized instead of through-hole parts.This has been proven to be more economical as it led to smaller boards that significantly lowered production costs.
Hopefully, this article contributed to your basic understanding of PCBs.