Application and Use of Manufacturing PCBs

From smartphones to kitchen appliances, electronics play a large part in our daily routine. At the heart of each of electronics is a printed circuit board (PCB). It is the foundation of a majority of electronic products today. These components come in a vast array of configurations, allowing them to serve a variety of functions. As electronics expand and develop across industries, PCB applications continue to grow as well. Today, the use of PCBs spans just about every industry and continues to evolve into new industries and applications. PCBs are the major functional centers of most electronics in the modern world. Circuit boards connect components to one another through a series of related circuits.

Most people will recognize printed circuit boards when they see them. You'll find these small green chips at the hearts of electronics. PCBs come in an infinite number of configurations and are made with a variety of materials. Such flexibility allows PCBs to function in a variety of capacities and applications. We've explored a handful of these applications in more detail below.

Medical Devices
Most common medical pcb applications
Medical PCB applications grow as quickly as the medical device industry itself. A few of the most common medical PCB applications include the following:
• Monitors: Personal and healthcare monitors including blood glucose monitors, heart rate and blood pressure monitors, and more.
• Scanning Technology: CT scanners and ultrasonic technology often use PCB-based electronics.
• Control Systems: The equipment controlling fluid infusion, flow rate and dispensation is electronically controlled.
• Internal Devices: Heart pacemakers and similar internal medical devices maintain patient health, run by minuscule PCBs at their centers.
• Scientific Instrumentation: Medical research uses numerous scientific instruments to study disease and test patient outcomes. These include electronic microscopes, photometers and control systems for generators and compressors, among other things.

Consumer Electronics
The applications of PCBs in consumer electronics are extensive. The following are just a few of the common uses of PCBs in consumer electronics:
• Mobile Devices: Smartphones and tablets are at the heart of our daily routine, functioning as everything from our alarm clocks to our GPS.
• Computer Electronics: Desktops and laptops both contain PCBs at their cores, as do the screens and peripheral devices associated with them.
• Recording Devices: Camcorders, digital cameras, microphones and other recording devices all rely on their internal PCBs to function.
• Entertainment Systems: Everything in your home entertainment system, from your DVD player and video-game console to your television and stereo set.
• Home Appliances: Almost every modern device runs using electronic components: Alarm clocks, microwaves, refrigerator, coffee makers, etc.

Industrial Applications
In such a fast challenging environment, industry standards is equally rigorous. Currently, thick copper PCBs (significantly thicker than standard ounce PCBs) are often seen in other applications. This kind of PCB facilitate high-current industrial applications and battery chargers.
• Industrial Equipment: Many electric drills and presses used in the manufacturing industry operate using PCB-controlled electronics.
• Measuring Equipment: Equipment used to measure and control pressure, temperature and other variables in the industrial manufacturing process.
• Power Equipment: DC-to-AC power inverters, solar power cogeneration equipment and other power control devices.

Automotive Applications
Just a few of the common applications of manufacturing pcbs within automobiles include the following:
• Surrounding Monitors: Newer car models are often designed with substantial safety systems to help the driver monitor blind spots and more accurately judge distances. Many cars now come with full-perimeter monitor systems, using radar or cameras to measure distances and alert the driver to close-proximity objects. These systems require high-quality PCBs in order to function correctly.
• Control Systems: Car control systems, including engine management systems, fuel regulators and power supplies, use PCB-based electronics to monitor and manage resources. Some control systems even drive the car for the driver in certain situations. For example, some cars on the market today offer automatic parallel-parking functions.
• Navigation Devices: Incorporated navigation devices are now common in modern vehicles, using GPS computers to help drivers find their way through unfamiliar territory or identify the fastest route to their destination.

Aerospace Applications
Just a few of the more common aerospace applications of PCBs include the following:
• Monitoring Equipment: Instrumentation, including accelerometers, pressure sensors, microphones and torque and force sensors all use PCBs as part of their basic function. These products are used within the engines and cockpits of airplanes and rockets, both to monitor the function of the vehicle and to communicate with ground control.
• Testing Equipment: In addition to the function of an aircraft, PCBs are involved in the development and testing of air vehicles. Testing equipment that collects data during structural, vibration and flight testing procedures uses PCBs at its core. This data can then be used to develop more effective, efficient and safer aircraft.

Lighting Applications
A few of the most common applications of PCB LEDs within the lighting industry include the following:
• The Telecommunications Industry: Telecommunications equipment often uses PCBs to control their LED indicators and displays. Within this industry, lightweight and durable PCBs tend to be favorable, primarily because of the density of machinery within the industry. Because Aluminum PCBs tend to feature improved heat transfer properties over FR4 variants, it is commonly found within telecommunications lighting applications.
• The Automotive Industry: PCB LED displays are commonly found in the automotive industry, specifically on dashboard indicators, in headlights, brake lights and advanced panel displays. This industry particularly favors PCB LEDs for their low manufacturing cost and impressive durability, which improve the value and longevity of the vehicle.
• The Computer Technology Industry: PCB-based LEDs are becoming increasingly common within the computer technology industry, commonly found in desktop and laptop displays and indicators. Because of the heat-sensitive nature of computer technology, aluminum-based PCBs are particularly favored for LED lighting applications within computers.

Other Applications
PCB-based products are used in hundreds of applications across several industries beyond those listed above. A few examples include the following:
• Firearm Applications: Both military and civilian gun manufacturers often use PCBs in their testing equipment. Manufacturers will often use such equipment to ensure the safety and functionality of explosives, guns and ammunition before putting these products on the market. Some of the equipment used includes penetration shock recorders and impact testing equipment.
• Marine Applications: Both underwater and sailing applications are common places to find PCBs. PCBs often control the navigation, engine management and power distribution systems used on sailing vessels. The fluctuating amounts of pressure and vibration result in a variety of considerations designers have to make to guarantee proper, continuous function.
• Security Applications: Security systems in and around homes and businesses make use of PCBs to coordinate the various components and signals used to detect the presence of an intruder. Smoke, fire and burglar alarms all use PCBs, as do electronic door locks and motion sensors.

The applications of PCBs extend far beyond those listed, as broad and varied as the market itself. Wherever electronics is applied in the modern world, you can be sure to find applications for PCBs of all types.

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