What Are the Primary Uses of Printed Circuit Boards
To discuss the primary uses of printed circuit boards, we have, to begin with, a discussion of what they are – and what they do.
What are Printed Circuit Boards and What Do They Do?
In its simplest format, a printed circuit board is a tool that provides mechanical and electronic connections by routing signals and power through conductive pathways that are etched onto circuit boards.
Before printed circuit board assemblies, electronic and mechanical connections were established by wire-to-wire connections. The durability of these devices was problematic, as the wire insulation failed often, causing device failure. As the demand for electronics increased, printed circuit board assemblies became more common. Also, as electronic devices became smaller and more ubiquitous the technology of for cost- printed circuit boards became the cost effective answer.
What are the Primary Uses and Applications of Printed Circuit Boards?
First, staying close to home, printed circuit board assemblies have an application in almost every electronic appliance in your house, including:
- Computers and Computer Printers
- Home Appliances (some Refrigerators, Dishwashers and Microwave Ovens)
- Digital Clocks
- Cell Phones
Outside of your home, many industries and sectors use printed circuit boards for a variety of applications. Some are discussed below:
Printed circuit board assemblies are used for high power industrial applications, such as high power motor controllers, industrial load testers, and high current battery chargers. They are also used in many control systems, such as controls for ultrasonic technologies, field controls for water treatment plants, and process thickness measurement controls.
For many medical applications, creating the smallest package possible is needed – making high-density printed circuit boards the perfect solution. Additionally, flexible printed circuit boards are often used in medical device applications, as often the ability of the device to flex is integral to its ability to function. Examples of products that use printed circuit board assemblies include hospital inventory control devices, eye measurement products with transmitters and receivers, and 2-axis body movement tracking devices.
Aerospace applications often involve a great deal of vibration – again, making flexible printed circuit boards the perfect choice for use in aircraft. They also conform to tight spaces, are very lightweight and are an adaptable solution for multiple applications in the aerospace industry.
Examples of uses include robotic cable assemblies, data acquisition equipment, panel instrumentation, and transducer power supply assemblies.
Printed circuit boards are the basis for most high luminosity output LED applications, allowing for the expanded use of low-cost LED lighting solutions. Circuit boards allow for higher levels of thermal heat transfer that allow for compact and low-cost designs. Examples of uses include lighting systems for commercial as well as for residential uses.
In our next post, we’ll take a look at what our world might look like if there were no printed circuit board assemblies.