Considering that printed circuit boards are used with all but the simplest electronic devices, it comes as no surprise that the market for PCBs was nearly $60 billion in 2012. PCBs that are in your kitchen refrigerator, furnace unit, auto, computer and entertainment devices all started out as prototype circuit boards created by a company that specializes in prototype PCB manufacturing. And just as PCBs are in electronics in your house, they can be compared to the foundation of a home. It doesn’t matter how well designed the entire structure of the house is, if it isn’t built on a solid foundation, the structure faces instability, poor structural integrity, and no hope for sustainability. Designers want to build their products on a solid foundation, and that starts with high quality and dependable prototype circuit boards.
To illustrate the importance of the underlying foundation of any product requires some understanding of the process of creating prototype circuit boards and why choosing a skilled and dependable company is so important.
Since each client’s need is unique to the product they hope to manufacture, that means each board must be uniquely designed for its use and must be the ideal size to fit the required space. PCB designers use computer-aided design software to layout the circuit designs on the board. The spaces between electrical paths can be as small as 0.04 inches (1.0 mm) or even smaller. This is also the step where the location of the holes for component leads or contact points are laid out.
Ink jet printing, silk screen printing and liquid photo imaging are three methods to print the legend, which contains the component designators, switch settings, test points and other indications helpful in assembling, testing and servicing the circuit board.
There are a variety of soldering techniques used to attach components to a PCB. High volume production is usually done with SMT placement machine and bulk wave soldering or reflow ovens, but skilled technicians are able to solder very tiny parts (for instance 0201 packages which are 0.02 in. by 0.01 in.
Components on a printed circuit board are electrically connected to the circuits by two different methods: the basic thru hole and standard surface mount to the newer ultra-fine-pitch BGA Rigid, and Flex-Rigid printed circuit boards. Single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layered are the three types of printed circuit board construction used in most PCB fabrication.
Delivery and Customer Service
Clients needing prototype PCBs are depending on high quality to serve as that foundation. The product needs to be perfect in order for them to have complete confidence in supporting their own business model.
Future of PCBs
Engineers are currently working on making circuit boards so small that they can be put in very tiny devices, some of which might be used in the medical field. These nano circuit boards could be implanted in order to transmit health information in a non-invasive way. The future for companies specializing in prototype circuit boards is limitless considering all the uses we currently have and those that have yet to be dreamed up.