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Printed Circuit Boards Their Value in Technology

Fast pcb prototype

They are often green, with tiny rods of metal in them.

Wires, sometimes copper, run through them.

They help drive electronics industry.

They are printed circuit boards and the stunning impact of these devices ranges from computers, to cell phones, to televisions. Here’s how they developed, how they are made, and the billion dollar industry that creates them.

From the 1800s to today

PCBs are built on a practice that dates back to the 1800s. The electronic connection systems at the time used metal strips to connect large electric components mounted on wooden bases.

In the 1940s, an Austrian, Paul Eisler, patented the etching of a conductive pattern (circuits) onto a piece of copper. The U.S. military noticed–who used it for proximity fuses in World War II. It took on a new life when the transistor was invented.

The transistor altered the fabric of the technology industry. Prior to its invention, vacuum tubes and other parts of devices were large–so traditional wiring worked perfectly fine. However, the transistor shrunk those components, so that the wire needed to shrink as well. Therein came the printed conductor board.

How they are made

Printed circuit boards are made out of copper.

They are designed using computer-aided design systems with special software to lay out the circuit pattern on the board. The spaces between electrical conducting paths are often a small percentage of an inch, registering in at 1 millimeter.

Before this design software, printed circuit boards were designed on Mylar sheets, often up to four times the size of the circuit board itself. The designers would create a transparent photomask of the proposed design.

Two kinds of circuit boards are the double-sided circuit boards and the multi-board circuit board.

Double-sided circuit boards connect the circuits on each side by using one of two methods: through hole technology and surface mount technology. Through hole technology involves the use of leads which are inserted into holes drilled into the printed circuit boards. The leads are then soldered in.

Surface mount technology is often used on circuit boards that are smaller than those using through hole technology. Some examples include resistors, capacitors, LEDs, and integrated circuits.

For the soldering, temperature plays a huge part. Prior to 160 degrees Celsius, temperature rising rate should be controlled for one to two degrees Celsius per second. If the temperature rises to quickly, components suffer heat and can become damaged or destroyed.

That’s just a quick overview. PCBs involved a complicated engineering process.

That Billion Dollar Industry

From the 1940s to 1995, the printed circuit board industry grew from thousands in revenue to a $7.1 billion industry. By 2000, it was a $10 billion industry and by 2012, it had reached $60 billion worldwide.

There is little doubt that the growth of technology has spurred circuit board assembly. Printed circuit board assembly has applications in televisions, GPS navigation systems in cars, cell phones, lap tops, desktop computers, iPads, and many other devices.

Some companies offer a prototype pcb service to handle growing demands within the PCB industry. A prototype pcb service involves the creation of a specific printed circuit device for testing by the client. A prototype pcb service is cost-effective when compared to design many more of them–and for them to all fail. Their services are useful.

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