Talking about the advancement in the revolutionary industrial era of mankind has ever seen is the time in which we are living. Our lives are completely dependent on technology, high tech advance machines, our daily routines are automated and we are surrounded by countless scientific miracles that happened in earlier few decades ago. Considering mechanical, chemical, biological, architectural, fields and not considering about the electronics and electrical engineering industry would not be fair.
Infact the only industry that has seen rapid growth and research potential is none other than electronics and electrical engineering. This field is so vast that it covers today's most advance industrial sectors like automotive, robotics, space, defense, micro-biological, medical, nuclear, petrochemical, chemical, computer and consumer electronics industries. In this article we will discuss about PCB types and applications in the last two i.e. computer and consumer electronics industries.
What you see around yourself..?
Just take a pause for a moment.. and see what things are in your surroundings. You will be amazed that majority of things/stuff around you is based on electronics and when we say electronics it is the "Printed Circuit Board (PCB)" in mind. PCB is actually the heart of electronics or we can say it is like the skeleton in human body because the things you see are not directly exposing PCBs but PCBs are hidden inside and are responsible of those things functionality.
Consumer Electronics Applications:
Like Television, LED TV, LCD Screen, TV remote control, Home audio stereo system, speakers, your mobiles phones i.e. smartphones, simple old phones, intercom, calculators, security camera at your home door step, door bell, electric kettle, electric oven, electric stove, electric iron press, washing machines, air conditioner, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), electric heater, your car electronic lock, car lock remote, Proximity sensor installed at the doors, home, rooms, Wearable electronics like smart-watch, smart rings, Bluetooth hands free, optical devices like camera and CCTV, wireless devices like Bluetooth speakers, RF based remote controls to control and monitor the water levels in underground or overhead tanks, IR sensor based devices that sense the presence of object or obstacle, children toys, e-cigarettes etc etc..
You can count on and on.. These all devices mentioned above and many others are totally based on functionality of PCBs hidden inside them. These PCBs are thick rigid boards, that are available in various sizes and shapes and colors. Mostly the color of PCBs is green but it can be brown color because green solder mask is not used in most cheap electronic products that are manufacturer at mass scale production. These PCBs are commonly seen in home automation, kitchen appliances and home appliances. These PCBs are mostly single sided or two sided PCBs so as to reduce cost and limited functionality. Majority of these are not much advance PCBs like remote control, toys, e-kettle, and similar.. Some of them may have multiple layer PCBs like LED TV, Smart TV, Wifi devices, because of more functionality on minimum board space leads to complex PCB design and ultimately costly PCB and expensive products.
Computer Electronics Industry Application:
Another major and broad domain in the field of electronics is computer industry. Infact the basis of electronic PCBs was started from computer invention. When the first ever computer Mark-1 was built based on vacuum tube technology and size of computer was equal to a complete room, then scientist felt necessary to find solution and invent computer device that will take less space and consume less electricity and dissipates less heat. Hence the invention of semiconductor devices and we all know about the history.. Just to mention that today's computer can fit on a finger tip
So there are countless applications of PCB in computer industry. The mother board, Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), Central Processing Unit (CPU), RAM, ROM, SD-Cards, SDRAM, DDR1,2,3,4, EEPROM, microcontroller boards, keyboard, computer mouse, gaming mouse, LED screen, laptops, tablets, notebook, etc..
There are also many devices in your office premises that you find PCBs inside. Like printers, scanners, fax machine, smoke and fire alarm system, attendance machine, thumb impression machine, facial recognition machine, walkthrough scanning doors, metal detectors, personal computers etc..
Computers are widely used in many networking devices like servers, routers, network switches and telecommunication equipment.
The type of PCB used in computers industry is complicated, multilayer, high density Interconnect (HDI), complex design, containing BGA, QFN and QFP IC packages. These PCBs are costly and end product containing these PCBs are also expensive. Requires special manufacturing steps like ENIG, X-Ray, AOI and flying probe test. Assembling of components on these PCBs require robot for automatic pick and place, reflow soldering, exclusive precautionary handling measure have to be taken because majority of components are ESD sensitive.
Aerospace and Defense:
As the computing electronics is the integral part of aviation electronics, military and space grade devices so PCBs related to these are high grade, high quality and have zero tolerance to error in functionality. Components used are military specs and special considerations of outer space environment are taken. Vibration and shock testing, high temperature and pressure test, electrical test, are performed before qualifying such PCBs.
Applications of PCB in military and space grade devices in computing electronics are Switch mode power supplies, FPGA, DSP, Analog to Digital converters, RF modulator, IF mixer, VCO, transponders, transceivers, power amplifier, filters, oscillators, digital filters and modulators, on board memory, active antenna circuits, DC-DC converters, solar panel motor drive circuitry etc..
Flight control, autopilot, navigation electronics, GPS, Air traffic control (ATC) electronics, GPRS
As we have seen that our society is totally based and running on electronics industry. Infact the most demanding and popular field today is electronics. People are preferring more lighter, faster, high quality, sleek and slim gadgets and engineers and scientist are constantly working to come up with new inventions. The latest development in the field of consumer and computer electronics is the MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) and NEMS (Nano-Electro-Mechanical Systems). These technologies are now being implemented by electronic giants in their products like gyroscope, accelerometer, human body implantable circuits, nanobots and more mega million dollar projects.
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