Cutting Edge Applications of Printed Circuit Boards

February 6, 2020 , in Blog

Did you know that the first electric cars were produced during the mid- to late-1900s? Moreover, electric cars were in fairly common usage before gasoline engine automobiles. However, in the early twentieth century, the tide turned and Henry Ford and others took over the automobile industry. The history of electric vehicles is just one in which technology was developed, but not fully embraced at the time, only to resurface later with much wider acceptance. It is certainly true that in some cases, timing is everything!

Fast moving cutting edge technology

The speed of technological advancement

Today, it seems as though technological advancement moves almost at the speed of light. This is especially true for electronics and PCBAs, which are the driving force behind much of the advances. The demands for greater functionality, more versatility, and smaller size, along with the traditional thrusts for cheaper and faster production necessitate that you are aware of where the PCB market is headed. With this goal in mind, let’s take a look at what’s new in applications of printed circuit boards and their manufacture.

What’s New in Applications of Printed Circuit Boards?

Printed circuit boards or more accurately assembled printed circuit boards (PCBAs) are everywhere today. Common applications include consumer electronics, medical devices, industrial equipment, aerospace systems, automotive, telecommunications, security and safety systems. Due to the wide range of board types, such as high-speed, high power, HDMI, micro PCBs, and non-standard form factors, virtually all industries include electronic devices for monitoring, measurement, control, and communication. In addition to these common applications, recent board developments have emerged for specialized usage as listed below.

PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD APPLICATIONS

Application(s)Attributes

Board Innovation

Residential, medical and storefront lightingMade from aluminum for fast heat dissipationLED boards with a metallic substrate
Medical instruments, consumer products, surveillance equipmentComplete very small cameras that can be mounted on virtually any-sized boardMiniature PCB cameras
HDI, complex designsUse of stacked in-pad vias to provide connectivity on all layers.Every Layer Interconnect (ELIC)
Gauges, antennas, sensorsSubstrate and trace layout created by additive manufacturing or 3D printer3D Printed Electronics (PEs)
Space-based internet constellationLarge group of satellites (thousands) for integration in space to achieve a common missionSatellite on a single PCB (Sprite)

The first three PCBA types are currently in use, while the latter two are still in development, although a number of constellation satellites, known as Starlink, have already been launched. It is expected that all of these board types will increase the range of applications of printed circuit boards.

What’s New in the Manufacturing of Printed Circuit Boards?

PCBAs are not the only area of circuit board development that is experiencing advancement. In fact, it may be that the way boards are manufactured is expanding at an even faster pace. Some notable manufacturing technologies that are or will significantly impact the industry are listed below.

PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD MANUFACTURING APPLICATIONS
Manufacturing TechnologyAttributesApplications
Agile ManufacturingSoftware-driven manufacturing that can be quickly modified to adapt to design changesAny industry, but primarily applicable for critical industry applications, such as medical devices, aerospace, and industrial production
Internet of Things (IoT) ManufacturingThe gathering, processing, and distribution of data and information, typically wirelessly, to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing processCan be used for all board development, but the greatest benefit is realized for traditionally long development processes
Sustainability ManufacturingManufacturing that seeks to minimize negative environmental impact, conserve energy and natural resources and increase the safety of employees, community, and productCan be applied to any application; however, most relevant for high power consumption electronics
Green ManufacturingUse of materials and chemicals that are not harmful to human or animal life, components and elements that are reusableBiodegradable electronics, electronics recycling
AutoplacingMerging of autorouting (ECAD) and pick-and-place (assembly) functionsBoards with complex routing schemes and dense component landscape

All of the manufacturing advancements listed above have the primary objective of increasing the efficiency of board builds. And with the exception of autoplacing, all are being implemented today. Autoplacing, although promising in theory, has been limited as the best means of dealing with mechanical constraints is under study. However, the prospect of making the routing of board traces and component placement faster and simpler would be welcomed by any PCB designer or engineer.

Tempo‘s Custom PCB Manufacturing Service
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600 and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Accurate quote in less than 1 day.
  • Performs entire turnkey process in as fast as 3 days.
  • Emphasizes DFM to eliminate time-consuming back-and-forth design corrections.
  • Sources components from the most reputable suppliers in the industry to reduce procurement time.
  • Performs multiple automated inspections during assembly to ensure PCB quality for prototyping.
  • Provides support throughout the PCB manufacturing process, beginning with design.
  • Smooth transition from prototyping to production.

PCBAs and the way they are manufactured are continuously evolving. These advancements are required as the demands placed upon boards and electronics will only become more stringent and challenging. Tempo Automation is the industry leader in quickly producing high-quality PCBAs for prototyping and low-volume production. We employ smart manufacturing that is software-based and agile. We are also committed to incorporating and contributing to the cutting edge in board manufacturing to ensure that your design embodiment meets its objectives.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on applications of printed circuit boards, contact us.

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