Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) are thin plates which are usually made of fiberglass, laminated materials, or composite epoxy used as physical base to support chips and electronic components. These boards are printed or etched with conductive pathways to form circuits that will power electronic devices or gadgets. They support different electronic components like integrated circuits, resistors, and transistors, which are interconnected in the copper tracks. These components are put by drilling holes in the board and soldering them into the circuit pattern.
Printed circuit boards are the motherboards of any electronic device from simple beepers, phones to computer systems, radars, and state of the art communication technology. They are self-contained modules that accommodate elements to form electrical circuit in order to activate electronic devices. Most televisions, cellular phones, radios, tablets and digital cameras have one or more PCB’s.
Desktop computers and laptops have bigger printed circuit boards which serve as platforms of internal components such as video cards, network interface cards, expansion cards, and controller cards – all these are connected to another PCB, the motherboard.
Here are some of the reasons why PCBs are essential to electronics and technology industries:
1.They give mechanical support to electronic components.
2.They connect different components to others essential materials.
3.They give input/output connections that make devices functional.
4.They provide electrical impedance matching or the practice of designing opposition of the signal source to minimize or maximize the transfer of power.
5.They serve as conductors of heat transfer.
6.They provide electromagnetic shielding to guard the electronic components and cables against emissions of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF).
The PCBs are the main partners of any electronic design. They are the unsung heroes of devices, equipment, and modern gadgets that mankind use for different purposes. These small power-packed components are the fundamental elements that help every industry function with convenience and ease. From automotive, transportation, defense, aeronautics, technology, medical, industrial and office tasks, PCB plays a great role. They connect computers to LCD monitors, hard disk and disk drives. They help write or read DVD and CD-ROM drives.
The popularity of small but powerful smartphones, however, poses a big challenge to PCB manufacturers. The need to squeeze more processing capacity, functionality and memory to smaller circuit board brings pressure to manufacturers of this essential plate. The designs become multi-layered and ready to deliver more than 20 voltage rails to optimize the interactive circuit. This miniaturization of layouts that lead to higher densities is vital to electronics and telecommunication business.
This growing trend makes printed circuit boards the most in-demand part of any electrical or electronic device. In 2012, PCB market was valued at around $ 600M. Different international manufacturing companies like Samsung, Sony and Panasonic became more aggressive in supplying their consumer market with the latest products. Europe, Japan and America remain the top contenders in mobile and electronic equipment. Modern PCB designs tools assist manufacturers of PCB to produce such components quickly, easily and cost-effectively.
These gave rise to a three-part methodology in order to create quality boards. These three steps are schematic capture, simulation, and final layout. Schematic capture is creating design, picking the essential components, and placing them to the scheme. The electrical interconnection is then checked to ensure the board’s capacity. Simulation tools manipulate the model scheme to check the magnetics, signal integrity, and physics. Final layout is the final phase and with the use of internet, the board design can be changed according to real-world specifications that make data accessible anytime and anywhere. This ensures that evaluation and re-evaluation can be done easily before the actual manufacturing process.