Printed circuit boards – Types, components, and top manufacturers

Printed circuit boards – Types, components, and top manufacturers

Printed circuit boards (PCBs), also called printed wiring cards, are the key elements in modern electronic devices like TVs, laptops, microwaves, and even car sensors. These boards connect various electronic components in gadgets, helping them function. PCBs are made using layers of different materials, such as substrate (FR4), copper, solder mask, and silkscreen, which are laminated together. This article explores the different types of circuit boards, their components, and the leading PCB manufacturers.

Types of PCBs
Circuit boards can be categorized depending on their manufacturing process, design, and application. The most popular types of circuit boards are:

Rigid PCBs
These are the most commonly used circuit boards due to their strength and durability. Rigid PCBs are made of a hard base material like fiberglass, and their components are attached to the surface using soldering techniques.

Flexible PCBs
A malleable substrate material, like polyimide, is used to manufacture flexible PCBs. These boards can be bent and folded to fit into tiny spaces. As a result, they are suitable for usage in wearable electronics and devices with limited room.

Rigid-flex PCBs
Rigid-flex PCBs combine the benefits of rigid and flexible PCBs. They are manufactured by combining stiff and pliable substrates into a single board. Rigid-flex PCBs are incredibly reliable, making them suitable for sophisticated electrical devices like digital cameras.

PCB components
The common components one would find on a circuit board are:

Integrated circuits
Integrated circuits, popularly called ICs, are the most vital parts of a PCB. They consist of many transistors, resistors, and capacitors attached to a single chip. ICs are utilized in virtually every electronic device, from mobile phones to large-scale manufacturing equipment.

Connectors
The various circuit board components are linked together via connectors. Connectors are utilized frequently in computer systems as well as consumer electronics. They can be found in various forms and dimensions, such as USB, HDMI, and D-sub connectors.

Switches
Electronic circuits can be turned on and off using switches. Switches can also be used to select between different PCB functionalities. Most consumer electronics and industrial machinery use switches. They come in different forms, such as slide, toggle, rotary, and pushbutton.

LEDs
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are used in electronic devices to convey specific information, such as whether the device is on or off. LEDs come in different colors and sizes and are often used in displays, status indicators, and backlights.

Transformers
Transformers are used to change an electrical circuit’s voltage or current. They often perform the function of converting AC voltage into DC voltage in power supplies and audio equipment.

Top PCB manufacturers
The leading PCB manufacturers provide various services, including prototype creation, assembly, and quick-turn PCB production. Businesses that need circuit boards and components should compare manufacturers and choose one that focuses on quality and customer satisfaction. A few noteworthy companies to consider are:

PCB Power
PCB Power is among the most well-known PCB manufacturers. They offer PCB prototype, assembly, and turnkey services, with a focus on delivering high-quality products at reasonable prices. PCB Power has over 35 years of industry experience and caters to small, medium, and large-scale enterprises across industries, including aerospace, health care, and public transportation.

Advanced Circuits
Advanced Circuits offers a wide range of PCB services, including prototype assembly and high-density interconnect PCB manufacturing. They are known for high-quality products and fast turnaround times. Advanced Circuits has been an industry leader for over 25 years and claims to be the country’s third-largest PCB manufacturer.

Rush PCB
This manufacturer caters to aerospace, military, healthcare, and other industries. They provide services like PCB prototyping and assembly and also make rigid-flex PCBs. Rush PCB has over 20 years of experience manufacturing different types of circuit boards.

PCB Universe
PCB Universe offers various services, including PCB prototype, assembly, and quick-turn PCB manufacturing. They focus on customer satisfaction and offer 24/7 support. PCB Universe might suit those needing circuit boards and components that cost less but work efficiently.

PCBQuick
Founded over a decade ago, PCBQuick provides services like PCB prototype creation, assembly, and design. The company emphasizes quality and dependability and employs cutting-edge production methods to ensure the finished goods are of the highest possible standard.

Circuit boards are essential parts of modern electronic devices. They facilitate the formation of an efficient connection between various electrical components, enabling the smooth operation of these devices. Different types of circuit boards are available, each with a unique application. As technology advances, PCBs will continue to play a vital role in powering the electronic devices we rely on every day.

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