It's an exciting time for PCB designers and electrical engineers worldwide. Let's play a simple game: think of one device you use daily that wasn't developed with a PCB.
In this article, you will learn some insane facts about PCB that will leave you amazed. Do you know the inventor of the PCB?
Do you know why the color is green? What are those lines called? Do you know the laws that govern the operation of the PCB?
Also, we leave you with tips on how to go about your PCB prototype project. How do you know the best company for your project? There's a lot for you to learn; sit back and enjoy.
1、 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 increased consumer demand for smart and functional products.
You can observe it in almost every 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 there will be a thrust toward 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 specifications will cause when 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 enables wireless and swift data sharing between different components in an ecosystem. IoT assures us that our smart home technology and smart cities will come to fruition.
One challenge, however, is adhering to several standards and regulations, especially in enforcing security.
You know that flex PCBs are slowly taking over, right? Have you read the report that 33% of the produced PCBs will all be equipped with flex abilities in a couple of years?
Flex boards have advanced capabilities, small in size, and 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 raises 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 seeing how virtual and augmented reality can aid PCB prototypes, and the future is merely exciting.
2、12 Cool Facts about PCBS That You Probably Didn't Know!
1、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 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 original solder mask resin color. 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 engineers can easily see any trace fault.
Image 1: PCB Prototypes
2、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, 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, marking its growth.
Image 2: PCB Prototypes
3、Look Around You, PCBs are Everywhere
You might not have paid attention to it in the past, but we shall open your eyes to this reality, and you will see that printed circuit boards are in use almost everywhere you go.
You are reading this paragraph from a PCB device we made. 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 underpinned by PCB technology.
Do you know the most exciting fact? This technology has come to stay! There's a high chance you're within touching distance of a computer system (not necessarily a PC) that uses a PCB.
The development of PCBs also leads us to believe they will not easily surpass them.
Research and development are heavily devoted to IoT capabilities, flex PCBs, and other features that make PCB technology futuristic.
4、We Design PCB Using Computer-Aided Software (CAD)
If you've ever wondered how a printed circuit board is designed, this paragraph is all you need. 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.
5、The Surface Mount Technology
Have you heard about surface mount technology? Probably not. Nowadays, the term is no longer as popular as it used to be in the 1980s.
It was the most common technique employed to manufacture a PCB and gained prominence during the period. Before 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. But with the surface mount technology, the leads were glued onto pads on the surface of the PCB.
Image 3: PCB Prototypes
6、What You See Are Traces, Not Wires
What do you call those lines that run along the surface of the PCB? Well, here's what they are not wires. Maybe you are thinking,
"Most electronic devices transmit energy via wires unless it is a wireless device."
Yes, this is correct. However, the PCB is unlike most devices/pieces of technology you're used to.
PCBs stands out in this regard. They use copper traces instead of copper wires to facilitate the flow of electrons. The significant advantage of using a path rather than a wire is that the PCB is much smaller.
It is because the traces are flat and do not take up much space. Also, at the time, it was beneficial because the use of hints meant that through-hole technology could transfer a hole in the circuit board.
7、pcb prototypes--The Number of Potential Components of PCBs
It is a fun fact that will come in handy; how many components have you imagined in a PCB? Unless you thought of a high number (which you didn't), the number of members would exceed what you proposed. Surprisingly, every one of these components has its unique properties and features.
Here are some possible components;
Many more components can be added; indeed, the potential is enormous.
8. pcb prototypes--Silkscreens
The definition of silkscreen is, in itself, a remarkable fact to know. Can you remember those white etchings you noticed on the PCB solder mask?
Yes, that's what we refer to as a silkscreen. It is used to identify which particular component we have and contains some other PCB information.
Texts and associated information are printed using silkscreen print, which is the reason for the name. However, recently, we have seen printing done using digital ink-jet printers. Cool, right?
Image 4: PCB Prototypes
9、pcb prototypes--You Can Personalize Your PCB Completely
Some companies allow you to make a PCB specially customized to your taste. It means that they suit the specific specifications that you have in mind.
Here's the good news, though, making every PCB suit a unique specification is not a must. Why shouldn't you do this? Well, because it will prove very costly.
But as far as personalization goes, there's also what we call quasi-personalization.
Some companies have standard services available to order a 'personalized' PCB. In doing this, it is not as expensive as you would have thought it would be.
10、pcb prototypes--The PCB Technology is Constantly Evolving
It is a fun fact you already know. Wrong! Evolution is unprecedented. Do you remember the story of Paul Eisler?
When comparing the PCBs, we had in his time and those we have now, you will appreciate how far we have reached technological advancement.
Do you want a peek into future evolutions? You've heard about flex PCBs with IoT capabilities, but you might not know that research is ongoing to develop the next generation of biodegradable PCB. It will contribute to our goal of a sustainable future.
Another important innovation is the development of graphene. Once this technology becomes commercially mature, the operation of solid-state electronics will change forever.
11、pcb prototypes--PCBs and Size
The future is small and compact; why shouldn't our PCBs be? Well, it's just a matter of time before we have tiny PCBs.
Since its inception, you can observe that the PCB has also been shrinking in Size.
This trend is set to continue, and the pressure is even heightened. Developers see the need to make smaller and smaller PCBs for many applications.
Here's an example of the technology driving the reduced Size; using the surface mount technology that we discussed earlier, we can design PCBs up to a tenth of the size of the ones we create using through-hole technology.
You can confidently predict that the PCB will be as small as you can imagine in a few years.
12、pcb prototypes--The Law Governing PCBs
Do you think these little devices are autonomous? What governs their actions? How do we even know how to utilize them properly?
There are so many questions that pop up regarding this topic, but there's just one answer.
Ohm's Law. It is the most famous law among electrical engineers and PCB prototype designers, and we shall explore it shortly.
Ohm's law establishes the relationship between current, resistance, and voltage. Putting it in words, we can say that Ohm's law states that electrical current is directly proportional to voltage, and it is inversely proportional to resistance.
This simple law tells designers and engineers how to develop PCBs and PCB prototypes, telling them the design implications of their choices.
3、pcb prototypes--Ways to Identify the Best PCB Prototype Manufacturer
Why Do You Even Need the Best PCB Prototype?
It is not unusual to see people questioning the importance of getting only the best in PCB prototypes.
It seems to be the motivation behind the many PCB prototype companies we have had in recent years.
But you need to only work with the best, not just because it will help you maintain your credibility in the future, but because of other benefits, which we shall mention in the following paragraphs.
pcb prototypes--Use of High-Quality PCB Material
It is not uncommon to see manufacturers using low-quality adhesive and conductive materials. But this is not a norm when dealing with a quality company.
Different raw materials can cause a significant gap in the quality of the produced material. Features like copper thickness and flame resistance are equally important.
PCB prototypes--PCB Production Progress Should be Trackable
Do you have conversations with your PCB prototyping expert to know how you can track the project? You should have a schedule to work with, and you should also affect the predefined objectives when it is not going as planned.
The support service you receive while the ongoing project is one factor that makes a manufacturer outstanding or mediocre.
pcb prototypes--A Rich Community with Vibrant PCB Enthusiasts
The manufacturing team should be diverse, comprising professionals eager to get work done and share insight with you based on the project. It is what drives growth, and it will also contribute to a very intuitive PCB prototyping experience.
pcb prototypes--After-Sale Service
Does the agreement end after you get your delivery? What if you have questions? What if it doesn't meet your specified requirements?
Will you get the attention of the professionals if you have concerns? If the answer to these questions is no, consider your choice and do what is best for you.
pcb prototypes--Trusted Reviews and Referrals
It is not always available, but you will find it beneficial when it is. If you have a friend who cannot stop raving about the PCB prototyping service rendered at a particular company, there's a perfect chance that that company is top-notch. You can also view the company's testimonials or, better yet, request one.
From all that we have stated so far, there's no doubt that you have learned many facts that will help you in your PCB prototyping quest. We tick all the checkboxes, and we are even poised to go the extra mile in helping you achieve your goals.
We understand the importance of safety in PCB prototyping, which will help you build your brand, maintain your integrity, and make profits.
Our engineers devote care and attention to every design and implementation, and we would love to help you with your next PCB prototyping project. Give us a trial today, and you will be glad you did.