In an age where technology is fundamental to everyone in all that we do, nearly every single industry across the globe has benefited from PCBs, and their evolution is rapidly expanding into further fields.
But what exactly is a PCB and what is its purpose? In this article, explore all of this plus the common uses that PCBs come in handy for.
What is a PCB?
A PCB stands for a Printed Circuit Board and is essentially an ordinary circuit board that connects electronic components. It was first created in 1927 by Charles Ducas in the US, who patented the technology once he had established it. A printed circuit board is the basic building block of any electronic design and has developed over the years into an incredibly streamlined component. Printed circuit boards are used in nearly all technology around the world, including our computers and laptops. It is for this reason that these small, yet powerful circuit boards are so fundamental to the world as we know it today.
Types of assembly process
There are two main methods used when operating PCBs, known as ‘surface mounting’ and ‘thru-hole mounting’.
Surface Mounting – In the surface mounting process, components are welded directly to the surface of the circuit board using hot solder. This method was established in the 60s and was became increasingly popular over the next twenty years. Today, it is the most commonly used method when it comes to component mounting. The main advantage of surface mounting is that it is much quicker. It allows you to attach small components, such as resistors, to both sides of the circuit board. Alongside this, the surface mounted components also tend to be much smaller in size, meaning more parts can fit on a single board. This reduces the overall costs of materials needed and has enabled electronic devices to decrease in size over time.
Thru-hole Mounting – In the thru-hole mounting process, you simply place component cables into small holes that have been drilled into a printed circuit board. This type of thru-hole mechanism creates a stronger, fused connection than that of surface mount technology, so it’s typically used for large scale applications that require consistency and reliability. This is because the leads run all the way through the board, as opposed to being attached with solder.
Common uses for PCBs
There are a vast array of uses for PCBs in our every day life that you may not be aware of. Here are just a few of the areas we utilise PCBs:
- Medical devices – in monitors, scanning technology and control systems
- Consumer electronics – in smartphones, laptops, stereos, and even refrigerators
- Industrial applications – in industrial equipment and measuring
- Automotive applications – in car monitors, navigation systems and control systems.