A printed circuit board(PCB)is one of the essential components of almost all modern electronic devices and gadgets.It is a component found in computers, mobile phones, televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, and even coffee makers.It is a key concept in electronics, but it is often neglected or left unmentioned during conversations.The reason behind this is because it is so basic and fundamental that people often forget to explain what it is.The simplest explanation is that it provides the intelligent and interactive features of gadgets. In fact, many engineers concede, although it is debatable, that the PCB is the most important component of any device or equipment.
This “often-forgotten” printed circuit board is actually very important.It is so important and essential because it is the basic component of a worldwide production of electronics that reached up to 1.5 trillion US dollars in 2013.The global production value of PCBs is estimated to be 58 billion dollars.Asia has the most number of PCB production facilities worldwide, accounting to 44% of the global market share.Among Asian countries, China has the bulk of these PCB manufacturing facilities, and they are dependent on the West’s (Europe and North America) value as an export market. Since PCBs play a significant role not only in the electronics and appliances industry but also in automotive, military, and transportation products, global demand is continuing to increase.In fact, it is surprising to note that despite the financial crisis that hit the market in 2008 to 2009, the PCB market was not affected and did not experience a significant downturn.
The two essential functions of a PCB are the following:first, it gives mechanical support for electronic mechanisms, and second, it interlocks the components to each other so that the electronic device will be able to interact with the user.
The fact remains that when the PCB is not correctly designed and manufactured, the entire assembly of an electronic system will fail to work properly. Looking at it from a statistical point of view, the reliability of the printed circuit board affects the reliability of each of its indigenous components.A poorly-designed PCB will be reflected on the final product. Therefore, the design of the PCB is essential to the overall performance of the final product.
The three basic factors that determine the success of a PCB are its fundamental design, the materials used in the fabrication process, and the actual procedures used in the fabrication.With this in mind, it somehow becomes clear that the task of designers and engineers who are involved in these processes is not simple.The electronics design engineer and the layout specialist have to be familiar with both the design concept and the philosophy behind the electronic equipment or device for which the PCB is designed.All the steps involved in these processes are extremely important. Excellent workmanship as well as strategy and design skills are needed.
These days, the main challenges of PCB manufacturing are the miniaturization and high demand for utmost packing density of integrated circuits. Printed circuit board designers should be able to squeeze in as much functionality as possible into an increasingly smaller space. According to David Wiens, a business development manager at Mentor Graphics, “It is not uncommon for a design team to put double the functionality in a smaller form”.Surely, most technology experts and PCB manufacturers agree with his stance, as they too usually manage to accomplish such a feat.
As a basic component of electronic equipment, whether big or small, the PCB is of vital significance in creating the overall design of a device.