One of the most important components of every electrical device, appliance or gadget is the printed circuit boards. The PCBs link together the important parts of the device and allow electricity to flow from one part to another.
The printed circuit boards were first introduced in the 1850s and originally made using metal strips or rods and wires mounted on wooden bases. However, even though it helped improve the performance of machineries and electrical devices, it took up too much space. That’s when engineers and electricians started inventing new ways of creating smaller and more efficient printed circuit boards.
As the years passed, new and better ways of making PCBs made it possible to manufacture smaller and thinner circuit boards. The name printed circuit board was derived from the stencil printing method that Charles Ducas introduced. This method uses stencil to print out the schematic diagrams into the copper boards.
By the 1940s, Paul Eisler came up with the etching method.
The etching method removes the unnecessary copper parts from the base body. This method uses a non conductive material in making the base body such as plastic. This method was recognized and used by the US military in manufacturing weapons used during the World War II. During the 1950s, PCB making companies started using this method to manufacture circuit boards. This method helped improve the quality of circuit boards, making it smaller and more durable.
Several methods have been developed in order to make circuit boards faster. From etching to printing methods, special equipments and machineries were also invented to make assembly of printed circuit boards faster. For more methods specification visit www.pcbnet.com.
At present, there are four popular etching method used in producing PCBs. These are the UV etching method, acid etching method, routing method and laser method.
The UV and acid etching method are the simplest methods out of the four though it requires great care in handling the materials and equipments. It follows simpler steps in etching the copper base. It is commonly used in assembling circuit boards at home.
The routing method and laser method are more complicated and used by large PCB manufacturing companies. It uses special tools and machines to etch the copper boards, enabling the companies to manufacture PCBs at a faster rate. Aside from that, these methods produce finer circuit boards since it uses high grade materials and equipments.
As for the printing method, there are three methods used. These are silk-screening, photo-resist and milling. Photo-resist is usually used by PCB companies. It uses a light sensitive covering to imprint the PCB layout on the circuit board to aid in etching and drilling. On the other hand, silk-screening uses silk cloth to transfer the design. The circuit board is covered with a silk cloth. Then, the layout is printed on the silk cloth using ink. When the silk cloth is removed, the design is transferred to the circuit board.
After printing and etching the base of the PCB, the next step is drilling. A special drilling tool is used to maintain accuracy and precision in making the holes that will be used to mount the components in place.
Once all the holes are made, the components and parts such as clips, chips and copper wires are mounted into place. Then, the components are soldered into place. After assembling the circuit boards, it is tested for quality control. The PCBs that pass the quality control are packaged and delivered.
Printed circuit boards are affordable and durable. Aside from that it can also be used for home use. Old PCBs can be recycled into accessories such as bracelets and necklaces. Some are even recycled into boxes and clocks. PCBs are very useful and highly functional.