Printed Circuit Boards, also known as PCBs, are key components in many electronic devices. Here we will be exploring what these applications are.
What is a PCB?
Printed Circuit Boards are constructed from boards made of a non-conductive material with conductive copper lines etched into them to create a circuit that connects the electronic components within a product. PCBs can be single-sided, double-sided, or multilayer, depending on the application, and can also be rigid, flexible, or both.
What are PCBs used for?
Because of their versatility, PCBs are used in a huge range of electronic devices across a multitude of industries. Some of these applications are:
Smartphones, computers and IoT devices such as smart speakers are some of the most common devices that require PCBs. Household electronics such as microwaves and refrigerators also rely on PCBs.
As more devices become IoT compatible, they too will need to use PCBs. PCBs used in devices such as smartphones and home assistants need to be small, with a high density of connections, due to the wide-ranging and complex demands of the device.
Modern cars rely much more on electronic processes than older models did. For these systems to work effectively, they use a range of different PCBs. Automotive PCBs are used for parking and proximity sensors, navigation, audio and video systems, engine management systems, resource monitoring and management, and fuel regulators.
Modern cars contain many interconnected and sophisticated sensors that cannot function without a high number of advanced high-frequency circuit boards. As development furthers within the industry, especially with the advancement of electric vehicles, PCBs will be in even higher demand.
PCBs have varied applications within the healthcare industry. They are used in medical imaging systems such as ultrasonic, CT and CAT scanners, monitor technology for vitals such as blood pressure and heart rate, and implants and internal devices such as pacemakers. In these applications, PCBs are HDI (high-density interconnect) models because they need to be very small and must also meet strict sanitation regulations.
LEDs are the lighting technology of choice across many sectors due to their compact size, energy efficiency and longevity. Smart bulbs, electronic signs, automotive displays, and laptop screens all use LEDs.
PCBs are used with LED technology to transfer heat away from the bulb, which can otherwise shorten the LED’s lifespan. PCBs in these applications are usually made with aluminium, which transfers heat more effectively than other metals.
Flexible PCBs are essential for aerospace technology. Aerospace vessels are subject to a tremendous amount of turbulence during their flights and rigid PCBs can easily become damaged. Flexible PCBs, on the other hand, are designed to be light and resistant to vibration damage.
These high-functioning and precise PCBs are used for a range of aerospace applications, such as monitoring equipment, communications equipment, and power supplies.
Industrial equipment such as high-powered drills and presses operate using PCB electronics, as does the equipment used to measure and control variables, such as pressure and temperature during the manufacturing process. PCBs are also essential for automation applications, which are becoming increasingly common in manufacturing settings. They improve operational efficiency whilst also reducing the risk of human error.
Different types of PCBs are required for industrial equipment, depending on the application. Many PCBs need to be durable to withstand extreme conditions such as the intense vibration of machinery, extreme temperatures, high voltage electrical currents, or exposure to harsh chemicals. PCBs made from thermal-resistant materials, through-hole technology, rigid-flex PCBs and thick copper PCBs may all need to be employed.
These are just some of the major applications that make use of PCBs, but there are many more! Printed Circuit Boards are one of the most widely used structures in electronic devices, most of us come into contact with PCB-operated devices every day, even if we don’t realise it.
If you are interested in PCBs, we have been working with manufacturing partners in Asia and Eastern Europe to supply high-quality PCBs for over 25 years. You are welcome to get in touch with us to hear more.