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Jun 30 / Robert Vanalstyn

PCB: An Introduction to Innovation

What is a PCB?
The acronym PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board. PCBs are a versatile and very critical part of an electronic circuit, they are the crucial part in an electronic equipment.

PCBs are basically no other than electronic circuits designed in a beautiful way on an insulating substrate. Apart from the aesthetic appearance, they also bring other benefits like more complex circuiting, easy component placement and better trouble shooting capabilities. The conducting links consist of etched or deposited conducting tracks unlike traditional wire connections.
PCBs have evolved over the years and there are many types of them used in the industry. Their suitability is a function of the application, size and the working environment it has to be used.

An early PCB
The first formal PCB came into effect was a PCB circuit for radio developed by Dr. Paul Eisler. Though the PCB didn’t achieve the deserved recognition in the earlier stages, it only gained importance during the World War II.
The earlier PCB manufacturing techniques were mainly based on neat circuiting for reliability and durability but the reduction in size came as an added advantage. The manufacturing process were mainly based on chemical acid etching method and turret boards.

Current trend
Today’s approaches to PCB manufacturing are far superior than the earlier techniques with more merits like size reduction, working environment suitability and extensive enhancement in data transfer capabilities.

In simple applications, single and double sided PCB boards are used. Single sided PCBs are conductively etched on one surface and the other surface is used for soldering the legs of the components to be mounted on the circuit. In double sided PCB boards, the other side is also etched or left fully cladded to allow it to be used for signal source or ground common.

The more advanced multilayer PCB were used for massive size reduction and added features in a lesser space. The multilayer PCB consisted of multiple layers of designed circuit boards sandwiched together with the help of a non conducting laminating material in between.

With technological advancement, the PCB has not lagged behind. To keep in pace with the industry, software applications for circuit designing were invented. With this, the 2D and 2.5D trend in the PCB manufacturing started booming giving them an extra edge over their earlier counterparts. They have reduced dimensions, more features and better data transfer capabilities. With latest tools available, the track resolution as small as a few 1000th parts of an inch can be achieved.

Significance of PCBs
The significance of PCBs can not be overlooked. It has revolutionized the consumer and industrial electronics. As a result, we can now witness the miniaturization of gadgets and equipment within a short span of time. They come now loaded with extra features at the same time. The mass production of the PCB has reduced the cost of manufacturing and has helped the electronic industry to cater to the need of consumer in a more economical way. As a result, the technology has become cheaper and is easily accessible. It has led to over all development of the living status and the mankind in whole.

Future prospects
The future is likely to see more new applications and innovation. This is likely to happen: with the dimensions getting smaller, more features will get loaded and extremely fast data transfer capabilities. The development of the 3D technology and the quest for new materials are on to meet the needs and expectations of rapidly transforming electronic industry. With the developments expected to be concluded in due time, we can expect to witness healthy and important changes in the years come.

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