A printed circuit board or a PCB is able to provide mechanical support to electronically connected electronic parts of a device using traces which are etched using copper sheets, conductive pathways, etc. laminated on a substrate of a non conductive nature. Usually, there are preset IPC organization standards that help to design the PCB layout, maintain a certain level of quality, and follow a proper assembly pattern accepted by the industry. PCBs usually follow the IPC 2221A standard in terms of design and quality control, and it is the same for any material the PCB is made with.
An insulator is a prime component of any PCB, which is home to a variety of layers of materials attached to the insulator itself. All these layers act as a form of grounding to the entire PCB. Now coming to the copper traces – they are created either by mechanical laying of individual lines, or by applying a copper coat to the entire board and stripping away what is left after your work is done. The second process is much more efficient, as this ensures that you have the exact amount of copper traces required on the PCB for connecting electronic components.
There are many expert firms and private designers who can actually assist you in your endeavour to design a PCB in the best possible way. With these experts, adding high end features, viz., trace optimizer, auto router, etc. becomes a whole lot easier, and decreases the amount of layout time required. Some manual routing may be required to make the PCB much more efficient, but with the help of these experts, coupled with pcb design software with altium, the process can be made less time consuming and more productive.
There are various ways by which a custom PCB may be manufactured. Flexible circuit boards, or flex circuit boards for the more initiated are of a flexible nature and allows the placement of components in locations thought to be otherwise impossible places for component placement.
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If you want to know how important PCBs are and why the manufacturing process is so intricate, just look at satellites. There are many satellites out there, floating about above outside our atmosphere, whose main component is a PCB in all its mechanical and electrical glory. These PCBs usually come equipped with rigid copper cores, which have the ability to conduct tremendous heat away from all the sensitive components on the board, so that they can be protected from the solar heat waves.
Let us now take a look at a few advantages and disadvantages of PCBs. Read on to find out more.
- PCBs are very much reliable and highly cost effective in nature
- In case of high volume or bulk production, PCBs are quite economical
- All connections on the PCB are color coded, making installation a whole lot easier
- A certain rating range is mentioned, which makes maintenance easier
- The PCB layout requires more effort and focus
- PCBs are costlier than wire wrapped or P2P constructed circuits
- The production of a PCB produces a chemical which can be quite harmful
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