All About Printed Circuit Boards: What You Need To Know

If you are using a smartphone to read this article, you are handling a printed circuit board. Printed circuit boards are found in almost every piece of modern technology. PCBs make up parts of appliances, automobiles, medical equipment, and solar energy systems, to name a few.

More complex PCBs will need to be manufactured due to the increasing development of telecommunications networks that use Wi-Fi and 5G technology. The printed circuit boards market is expected to grow by 6% through 2021 to meet these demands.

What Are Printed Circuit Boards?

Printed circuit boards are a type of circuit board containing alternate layers of conductive material and non-conductive material. The layers of a printed circuit board include copper engravings that allow electricity to pass through the circuit board and power any connected component. Each layer of a PCB consists of an insulating material until finished. It can contain one to 30 or more layers, depending on the PCB’s design requirements.

A PCB is first manufactured, and extra electrical components are then added to the board’s surface. Sometimes as “through-hole” components that get soldered into place. Then, the printed circuit board gets plated. A coated solder mask gets added and printed with information for using the PCB in the later stages of manufacturing.

Need To Know PCB Terminology

It can be hard to understand new technology when you encounter new words associated with it. Here is a shortlist of a few words to help you along the way.

  • Trace: the copper pathways on a PCB that connect all the electrical components
  • Through-hole Technology: a method of electrical component mounting that allows parts to get placed on the board with no holes
  • Finger: exposed metal at the edge of a PCB that helps connect a separate board
  • Pad: exposed metal at the surface of a PCB where extra electrical components get soldered
  • Solder Mask: a protective material added to a finished PCB to prevent corrosion and short-circuiting
  • Surface Mount Technology: a method of connecting electrical components to holes in the circuit board
  • Silk Screening: printing process that adds numbers, letters, and symbols to the PCB
  • Slot: a hole in the PCB that is non-circular

Keep reading for more interesting facts about PCBs.

What Are the Manufacturing Standards for PCBs?

The manufacturing process for PCBs involves a series of high-tech machines. These machines get operated by knowledgeable engineers and trained manufacturing facility employees. One device used to create printed circuit boards is a circuit board printing machine.

Here are a couple of compelling facts about the manufacturing standards for PCBs:

1.90% of the PCB industry uses contact image processing for PCB production. More refined lines get printed with this process. These lines create a better imprint for the copper pathways, according to Toradex.

2.Many different materials are often printed on the same layer of a PCB. Thick film technology allows each material to have a wider resistance range. This creates a safer, more stable conductive material.

Want To Learn More About Printed Circuit Boards?

We hope this article has given you an introduction to the technology of printed circuit boards and also answer the question what is a tactile switch. Feel feel to provide us with any other PCB-related topics that you may want us to cover in future articles in the comments section below.