Top 6 PCB Industry Trends and the Manufacturing Challenges They Present
Overview of PCB Prototype Industry Trends
PCB prototypes are slowly becoming pervasive in our daily lives, and this popularity will surely continue in the future. We can all agree that the increase in adoption results from an increase in consumer demand for products that are both smart and functional. It is what you can observe in almost industry; aerospace, medical devices, health, retail, and even the military. Here are the trends we expect to see in the coming year.
High Power Boards
Low-power PCB boards are already ubiquitous, and their applications are numerous. But research tells us that there’s going to be a thrust towards PCBs with higher power specifications. Do you know the reason for this? The increased usage of solar energy and the anticipated emergence of electric vehicles! Remember that the boards operate at 24V or 48V. PCB prototypes with high power specification will come to the rescue when we are mounting components like batteries and panels.
High-Density Interconnect (HDI)
We came up with this technology when the demand for compact products grew. With HDI, we have fewer layers in the PCB stack, and the signals are transmitted at a higher speed. The challenge we can expect in this area is the ability to deal with noise and interference.
PCB Prototypes and Internet of Things
IoT is what enables wireless and swift sharing of data between different components in an ecosystem. IoT is what assures us that our smart home technology and smart cities will come to fruition. One challenge, however, is adhering to the several standards and regulations, especially to enforce security.
You know that flex PCBs are slowly taking over, right? Have you read the report that says that in a couple of years, 33% of the PCBs that are produced will all be equipped with flex abilities? Flex boards have an advanced capability, small Size, and they are reliable.
Commercial-Off-The-Shelf Components (COTS)
COTS components are inevitable if we are serious about bringing standardization to PCB prototypes used in systems with strict requirements. One area where this application is merely inevitable is in space manufacturing; the components are under immense scrutiny. The fact that the industry is leaning towards commercialization even brings up the need for COTS components.
Component Supply Chain Control
At the beginning of this chapter, we mentioned how the demand has risen. Well, this has also increased the need for advanced security features. We are currently seeing how virtual reality and augmented reality can aid PCB prototypes, and the future is merely exciting.
Cool Facts about PCBS That You Probably Didn’t Know!
Why Are PCBs Green?
You’ve probably taken a moment to ponder why most PCBs you see have that trademark dark green color. Even if you haven’t, it is a fascinating fact that would stimulate your curiosity buds. All right, here’s it.
The green color visible to us is the color of the solder mask showing from the glass. There are speculations that green was the regulation standard when the American military used PCBs, and then it just spread naturally. Other theories postulate that green is the color of the original solder mask resin. So, even though the material isn’t being used anymore, we’re merely following convention by sticking to the color green. However, you should know that in circuits nowadays, the solder mask can take on any color.
One last reason why we haven’t changed from green: so far, green works. The color is one reason why engineers can easily see any fault in the traces.
Who Invented PCBs?
It is a million-dollar question. We’re giving you the answer for free. Paul Eisler is credited with being the father of PCBs. Paul Eisler is an inventor of Austrian descent, and he is the one who developed the first PCB. He did this in 1936 while working on a radio set at the time, although we can trace the development that led to the invention back to the 1890s. After Paul developed the first PCB, it became widely accepted in the 1950s, which marked the beginning of its growth.
Look Around You, PCBs are Everywhere
It is a fact that you might not have paid attention to in the past, but we shall open your eyes to this reality. You will see that printed circuit boards are in use almost everywhere you go. You are reading this paragraph from a device that we made using a PCB. If you’re not, then you printed it out using a device that contains a PCB. You cannot take five steps without seeing a tool that is underpinned by the PCB technology.
Do you know the most exciting fact? This technology has come to stay! There’s a very high chance that you’re within touching distance of a computer system (not necessarily a PC), which uses a PCB. The development of PCBs also leads us to believe that they will not easily surpass them. Research and development are heavily devoted to IoT capabilities, flex PCBs, and other features that make the PCB technology futuristic.
We Design PCB Using Computer-Aided Software (CAD)
If you’ve ever sat to wonder how a printed circuit board is designed, this paragraph is all you need. Both the schematic and the layout of a PCB are done via the CAD program. And this is what allows the board design to be tested and checked for functionality. Several tools are used for this purpose, but they all achieve the same primary aim.
The Surface Mount Technology
Have you heard about the surface mount technology? Probably not. Nowadays, the term is no longer as popular as it used to be in the 1980s. At that time, it was the most common technique employed to manufacture a PCB, and it gained prominence during the period. Before the surface mount technology came along, we had the through-hole method.
The through-hole technique worked like this; the components were attached to the board by inserting the ‘lead’ of an element into individual holes. As expected, this was slow, and many flaws and defects arose as a result. But with the surface mount technology, the leads were glued onto pads on the surface of the PCB.
If you want to learn more PCB knowledge or want to order PCB products, please check PCBBUY homepage for more information.