The PCB Market Continues to Grow — What Will You Use Them For?
PCB stands for printed circuit board, and not surprisingly, there are a wide number of applications for this type of technology — they are used in pretty much every electronic product. Although they need to be initially designed, they are cost-effective because they can be produced by an automated assembly line. How much is the market for these products worth? Global spending recently surpassed $60 billion, and will likely continue to rise as more uses are determined for this technology — especially with developing interest in interconnected appliances.
What is it Made Out of?
Electronic components on a PCB are connected by using pads, conductive tracks, and more. These are created from features etched from copper sheets. There are several types of PCBS. A single layer PCB is common, but has a lower component density than a double sided or multi-layer PCB. In most cases, the base material of a PCB is fiberglass, which allows it to stay rigid. Thickness of the board itself can vary from 1.6mm all the way down to .8mm.
Can?t Get it Right Every Time?
Not surprisingly, an automated manufacturing process means that sometimes printed circuit boards don?t work. Printing out the board is a fairly complex task, with multiple steps. If metal traces are not insulated enough from each other, for example, an arc can occur between them, which will typically ruin the entire circuit — as well as damage the board. Most board failures are due to either errors in design, errors in manufacturing, or environmental stresses once the board is actually in use.
How Etching is Completed
You?ve heard that PCBs make use of etching, but how is this done? Chemical etching in a manufacturing setting is done using either ferric chloride, or ammonium persulfate. Copper is electroplated into drilled holes, and then the boards are plated with tin/lead. The unnecessary copper can be etched away, then, using tin/lead as a resist. In a smaller setting where automation and speed is not as important, immersion etching is popular. It takes longer, though, and small-time producers then need to deal with disposing of their used etchant (usually ferric chloride, in this case).
Flex PCB Suppliers
Flexible Printed Circuit Boards are, not surprisingly, very versatile in their potential uses thanks to the flexibility of their design. They were originally designed as replacements for traditional wire harnesses in WW2. Flex PCB suppliers can create single, double, and multisided flex PCBs depending on the intended usage.