Printed circuit boards or PCBs
are key components of electronic components. Most people use them every day without even thinking about it, and they are vital to a variety of industries. There are tons of applications for PCBs, but we'll cover 10 of the most common printed circuit board uses.
1. Medical Devices
As technology advances, more and more PCBs are being used in the healthcare industry, showing new capabilities. PCBs play an important role in devices used for diagnosis, monitoring, therapy, and more.
Special care must be taken to ensure reliability when producing medical PCBs, as the proper operation is critical to patient health. In many cases, PCBs must also meet stringent hygiene standards, especially for implants. Plates for implants and many other applications, such as emergency room monitors, must also be relatively small. Because of this, many medical PCBs are high-density interconnects or HDIs.
2. Light Emitting Diodes
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are an increasingly popular lighting technology used in residential and commercial lighting as well as in numerous industries including automotive, medical, and computer technology. LEDs are favored for their energy efficiency, long life, and compactness.
One of the roles of the PCB in LED applications is to transfer heat away from the bulb. High temperatures reduce the average lifespan of LEDs. Therefore, PCBs used for LEDs are usually made of aluminum, which transfers heat better than other metals. This eliminates the need for an extra heat sink for the design and means it can be more compact.
LEDs are becoming more common in a variety of applications, which means that PCBs are likely to continue to play a more prominent role in lighting.
3. Consumer Electronics
Smartphones, computers, and many other consumer products that people use every day require PCBs to function. As we add electronics to more products, PCBs have become an essential part of our daily lives.
Manufacturers are producing smaller and smaller smartphones and laptops that still have many advanced features that require small PCBs with lots of connections. PCBs used in consumer electronics also need to be relatively low cost to keep the price of the final product low. Manufacturers also need reliable circuit boards because they need their products to perform as expected in order to stay in business.
The use of PCBs in consumer products is certainly not slowing down. The percentage of Americans now owning a smartphone is 77% and growing.
4. Industrial Equipment
Printed circuit boards are used in a wide variety of industrial fields. Electronic components power much of the equipment in manufacturing and distribution centers and other types of industrial facilities.
PCBs used in the industrial sector often require particularly high power and are durable enough to withstand the harsh conditions that exist in industrial facilities. PCBs may need to withstand rough handling, vibrating machinery, extreme temperatures, or harsh chemicals.
To meet this need for durability, industrial PCBs can be made of durable metals or heat-resistant materials and be thicker than other types of PCBs. Industrial PCB assembly services may include through-hole technology for improved durability.
As robotics, industrial IoT technology, and other types of advanced technologies become more commonplace, new uses for PCBs are emerging in the industry.
5. Auto Parts
Automakers are using more and more electronic components in their vehicles. In the early days, PCBs were only used for things like windshield wipers and headlight switches, but today they implement many advanced features that make driving safer and easier.
Depending on which part of the car the PCB is used in, it may need to be able to withstand extreme temperatures or vibrations. When it comes to the safety features of the car, their reliability is also important. Because of these challenges, manufacturers may use high-temperature laminates, aluminum or copper substrates, or through-hole mount components. They also use rigid-flex PCBs because they can withstand vibration.
These sensors are part of what enables the car to drive itself. Fully autonomous vehicles are expected to become common in the future, which is why a large number of printed circuit boards are used.
6. Aerospace Components
Electronics used in aerospace applications have similar requirements to those used in the automotive sector, but aerospace PCBs may be exposed to harsher conditions. PCBs are used in a variety of aerospace equipment, including aircraft, space shuttles, satellites, and radio communication systems.
Aerospace PCB manufacturing requires the use of materials that can withstand large amounts of vibration, extreme temperatures, and other harsh conditions. Some aerospace PCBs even need to be able to operate in outer space and must be very durable. Plates made from lightweight materials such as aluminum are also beneficial for aerospace. Anodized aluminum can be used to increase oxidation resistance.
7. Maritime Applications
Various ships and systems rely on PCBs to function. This includes small boats, large cargo ships, submarines, communication systems, and navigation equipment.
PCBs used in marine applications must also be able to withstand harsh conditions. Maritime PCB manufacturers emphasize reliability, as the proper functioning of electronic equipment is critical to the safety of crew and passengers.
8. Security Equipment
Many aspects of security systems, whether in homes, businesses, or government buildings, rely on PCBs. They play a more role in our safety and security than many realize.
The ideal type of PCB depends on its specific application, but all PCBs used in safety and security applications need to be reliable because these products must always perform as intended to be effective. Some safety equipment may be used outdoors and a PCB that can withstand the outdoor environment should be used.
PCBs play an important role in many different types of security devices, especially as more and more of these products are able to connect to the Internet.
9. Telecommunication Equipment
PCBs are an important part of the telecommunications industry. They are necessary for both consumer devices like smartphones and the infrastructure that makes these devices work.
The telecommunications industry uses many types of PCBs due to the many different types of equipment used in the industry. Some equipment remains in a stable indoor environment, while some infrastructure must be able to withstand outdoor conditions including storms and extreme temperatures.
The telecommunications industry is constantly evolving, and so are the PCBs used in the industry. As we generate and transmit more data, powerful PCBs will become more important for communication.
10. Military and Defense Applications
The military uses PCBs for a wide range of applications, including communications equipment, computers, vehicles, firearms, and more.
PCBs used in military applications must be very reliable and durable. They may be exposed to extreme conditions and may play a role in national security. The military uses materials such as high-temperature laminates, aluminum, and copper because of their ability to withstand harsh conditions such as high temperatures.
Anodized aluminum can be used because of its resistance to oxidation. Some military printed circuit board applications may also benefit from the enhanced reliability of through-hole technology.
The military is often at the forefront of technology, so some of the most advanced uses of PCBs are for military and defense applications.
PCB printing plates are ubiquitous in our lives. The top ten applications of PCB have been introduced above. If you have any questions or want to buy custom PCB printing plates, please contact us
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