INTechHouse BLOG 16.05.2023 15 min.
What Is a PCB?
INTechHouse BLOG 16.05.2023 15 min.

What Is a PCB?

Printed Circuit Boards, commonly known as PCBs, are essential components of modern electronic devices. They provide a platform for mounting and interconnecting electronic components compactly and efficiently, enabling the development of sophisticated and complex devices. PCB design, therefore, plays a critical role in the success of any electronic product. However, for many businesses and individuals, printed circuit board design may seem daunting and complicated and may be a major barrier to bringing their ideas to fruition. In this article, we will provide an overview of PCB design, how it works, and why it is important for electronic product development.

What is PCB Design?

PCB design can be complex for some businesses because it requires specialized knowledge and expertise in electrical engineering, circuit design, and manufacturing processes. Designing a PCB involves various stages, such as schematic design, layout design, component selection, signal integrity analysis, and testing. Without a deep understanding of these stages and their implications, businesses may struggle to create efficient and reliable PCBs that meet their requirements. Additionally, printed circuit board design involves working with advanced software tools, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and simulation software, which require specific training and skills to use effectively.

A printed Circuit Board (PCB) design is creating a circuit board that connects and controls electronic components. The printed circuit board is responsible for routing the electrical signals and power between the various elements on a circuit board, and it serves as the backbone for any electronic device.

The printed circuit board can have single layer pcb assembly, double sided and multi layer. However, all PCBs consist of solder masks, copper layers (or copper traces, sometimes people say) and substrate.

Short PCB Story

The development of printed circuit boards (PCBs) can be traced back to the early 1900s when electrical engineers were looking for a way to eliminate wire connections in circuits. The first patent for a printed circuit board was granted to Austrian engineer Paul Eisler in 1943, during World War II. Eisler’s invention was a printed circuit board made from a flat piece of insulating material with conductive tracks printed onto it.

However, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that PCBs became widely used in the electronics industry. With the advent of transistor technology, the demand for smaller and more reliable electronic components grew rapidly. Printed circuit boards offered a way to connect these components compactly and efficiently, leading to their widespread adoption.

Today, PCBs are an essential component in virtually all electronic devices, from smartphones to medical equipment to logistic systems. The use of PCBs has enabled the development of increasingly sophisticated and complex electronic products, and their importance in modern technology cannot be overstated.

PCB Market Insights

The global PCB (printed circuit board) market has been experiencing steady growth in recent years, with a current market size of over $60 billion. The increasing demand for consumer electronics, such as smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, has been a key driver for this growth. In addition, the automotive industry’s shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles has also contributed to the demand for advanced printed circuit boards. The market is also being driven by the growing adoption of IoT (Internet of Things) embedded systems and the trend towards miniaturization of electronics.

Asia-Pacific is the largest regional market for PCBs, with countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan being major manufacturing hubs. North America and Europe also have significant markets for PCBs, with the United States and Germany being the leading countries in these regions.

Source: MordorIntelligence, WebinarCare

In terms of technology, the multilayer printed circuit board segment is the largest and fastest-growing segment due to its ability to accommodate multiple layers of circuitry, resulting in smaller and more compact designs. Flexible PCBs, which can be bent or twisted to fit into various shapes and sizes, are also gaining popularity.

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Main PCB Design Stages

The PCB design process involves several stages, including schematic design, layout design, and fabrication.
PCB design typically involves the following stages. The stages can be unique and they depend on the client’s request and requirements for the project.:

  1. Schematic Design: In this stage, the engineer creates a schematic diagram that represents the connections and functions of all the components in the circuit.
  2. Component Selection: The engineer selects the components required for the circuit and ensures that they are available, suitable, and compatible with each other.
  3. Layout Design: In this stage, the engineer places the components on the PCB and connects them using traces and vias.
  4. Routing: The engineer routes the traces to ensure that the signals flow correctly and minimize noise, interference, and crosstalk.
  5. Design Rule Checking (DRC): The engineer checks the design against the manufacturer’s specifications and industry standards to ensure that the design meets the requirements.
  6. Gerber Generation: The engineer generates Gerber files that contain all the information needed to manufacture the PCB.
  7. PCB Fabrication: The printed circuit board manufacturer uses Gerber files to produce the PCB.
  8. Assembly: The components are assembled on the PCB using automated or manual techniques.
  9. Testing: The printed circuit board is tested to ensure that it works as intended and meets the specifications.
  10. Debugging: If any issues are found during testing, the engineer must identify and fix the problem.
  11. Documentation: The engineer documents the design, including the schematic, layout, and BOM (bill of materials), for future reference.

However, there are core 5 steps the company should follow in each case.

Printed Circuit Board Importance

What is a PCB? It’s a critical component in modern electronics and plays a crucial role in the functioning of many devices, from smartphones and computers to medical equipment and automobiles. Without printed circuit boards, these devices would not be able to function properly.

PCBs provide a reliable and compact platform for the components that make up an electronic device, helping to ensure that the device performs as intended and is resistant to environmental factors such as heat and humidity.

Additionally, advancements in printed circuit board technology have led to the development of smaller and more complex devices, paving the way for innovations in fields such as telecommunications, transportation, and medicine. Overall, PCBs are a vital part of modern technology and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

The printed circuit board is very popular in such industries in 2023 and beyond.

Source: MKTPCB

Printed Wiring Board. What is it?

A Printed Wiring Board (PWB) is another term used interchangeably with PCB, both referring to the same thing: a board used for mounting electronic components and connecting them using conductive pathways etched on a non-conductive substrate material.

In terms of functionality, there is no difference between PWB and PCB. They are just two different terms for the same concept. However, in the past, PWB was used more commonly than PCB. Nowadays, printed circuit board has become the more widely used term.

What is EWB?

An etched wiring board, or printed circuit board (PCB), is a board made of insulating material (such as fibreglass or ceramic) with conductive pathways etched onto its surface. These conductive pathways are used to connect electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, and integrated circuits, forming a complete electronic circuit. Etched wiring boards are an essential component in electronic devices, as they allow for a compact, organized and reliable way to connect components.

How to Have the Best Printed Circuit Board Assembly. INTechHouse Advice

Here are five vital tips for achieving the best PCB assembly:

  1. Choose the right components: Selecting high-quality components is essential for achieving optimal PCB performance. Make sure to use components that are suitable for the specific application and have been tested for compatibility with the PCB design.
  2. Optimize PCB layout: Properly designed PCB layout can significantly improve the performance and reliability of the circuit. Make sure to optimize the placement of components, traces, and vias to reduce signal interference and minimize noise.
  3. Use high-quality PCB materials: The quality of the PCB materials used can have a significant impact on the performance of the circuit. Choose materials that are durable, reliable, and have good thermal conductivity.
  4. Partner with a reliable PCB assembly service: Working with a reliable and experienced PCB assembly service provider can ensure that the PCB assembly is performed to the highest standards. Look for a company with a proven track record, skilled technicians, and advanced equipment.
  5. Test and verify the PCB assembly: Testing and verifying the PCB assembly is crucial to ensure that it meets the required performance specifications. Use a combination of functional testing, electrical testing, and inspection to verify the quality of the assembly.

By following these tips, you can achieve the best-printed circuit board assembly possible and ensure optimal performance and reliability of your electronic devices.

PCB and Mechanical Support


PCB and mechanical support are two essential components in the design and manufacturing of electronic products. While printed circuit board design is focused on the electrical circuitry of a device, mechanical design is focused on the physical enclosure and packaging of the device.

Both elements are equally important and need to be integrated and coordinated to create a functional and reliable product.

PCBs need to be designed with consideration of the mechanical constraints and limitations, and mechanical designers need to be aware of the PCB layout to ensure the electrical and mechanical interfaces align properly.

Having a collaborative approach between PCB and mechanical designers will lead to a more efficient and effective design process and improve the final product’s quality and reliability.

PCB Design vs Mechanical Design. What is the Difference?

A PCB designer is responsible for designing the electrical circuits and connections on the PCB board, ensuring that the traces and components are arranged most efficiently and effectively as possible. On the other hand, a mechanical designer is responsible for designing the mechanical components of a product, such as the enclosure or casing that holds the PCB board and other components.

While the PCB designer focuses on the electrical performance of the board, the mechanical designer focuses on the physical aspects of the product, such as its size, shape, and durability. Both designers must work together to ensure that the PCB fits correctly within the mechanical design and that there are no conflicts or interference between the PCB and the mechanical components.

To cooperate effectively, PCB and mechanical designers must have clear communication channels and work together from the beginning of the product design process. They should share their respective design requirements and constraints and collaborate to find the optimal solution that meets both the electrical and mechanical needs of the product. By working together closely, they can ensure that the final product functions properly and meets all design specifications.

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How Does a Good PCB Designer Look Like?

Source: A

A good PCB designer should have strong technical knowledge and expertise in electronic design and manufacturing.

They should have

1) a deep understanding of PCB design software, CAD tools, and programming languages

2) excellent communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively in a team and detail-oriented with strong problem-solving skills

3) up-to-date knowledge of the latest technologies, industry trends, and manufacturing processes to ensure that their designs are efficient, cost-effective, and meet the required specifications.

INTechHouse Expertise

INTechHouse has extensive expertise in PCB design, offering end-to-end solutions for hardware architecture design, schematics, printed circuit board layout, and production and assembly planning. Our experienced electronic designers are capable of handling all aspects of the PCB design process with precision and excellence.

As a trusted partner for over 20 years, we take pride in ensuring that all of our products meet or exceed international quality standards and exceed customer expectations. Our hardware design engineers work closely with our clients to understand their specific needs and provide tailored solutions that meet their unique requirements.

One of the best hardware cases…

Our collaboration with the UK client on a special hardware solution project exemplified the critical role that PCBs play in modern electronic devices. The use of PCBs in the design and development of the hardware solution offered numerous advantages to our client, including improved reliability, reduced manufacturing costs, and increased design flexibility. By leveraging our expertise in PCB design, we were able to deliver a high-quality solution that met and exceeded our client’s expectations. As a result, our client was able to enhance their business operations and gain a competitive edge in the oil and gas industry.

Conclusion

What is a PCB? It’s something that has become an essential component in the world of electronics. With their ability to increase reliability, reduce manufacturing costs, and offer design flexibility, printed circuit boards have found their way into various industries, including automotive, aerospace, and telecommunications, among others. As technology continues to advance, we can only expect the popularity of PCBs to grow even further, with their ability to accommodate complex circuit designs and withstand harsh environments. At INTECHHOUSE, we have been providing PCB design and manufacturing services for over 19 years, and our team of experts is well-equipped to handle any hardware architecture design, schematics, PCB layout, and production and assembly planning needs. Contact us today to learn how we can help bring your electronic designs to life with the highest quality PCBs.

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FAQ


Most PCBs are made of fibreglass epoxy resin or similar material, with a copper layer on one or both sides. The copper is then etched away in a pattern to create the conductive pathways needed for the circuit.


A rigid PCB, or rigid printed circuit board, is a type of PCB that is made of solid substrate material and is not flexible. It is the most common type of PCB and is used in a wide range of electronic devices, from computers and cell phones to medical equipment and industrial machinery.


The cost of PCBs can vary depending on various factors such as the complexity of the design, the size of the board, the number of layers, other materials used, etc. Generally, PCBs can be produced at a low cost for simple designs with few layers and larger quantities, while more complex designs with many layers and smaller quantities may be more expensive.


Double-sided PCBs are printed circuit boards with conductive metal traces on both the top and bottom surfaces of the board. This allows for more components to be placed on the board, making them ideal for more complex circuits. Double-sided PCBs are often used in applications such as telecommunications, industrial controls, and medical devices.


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Ready to unlock the power of PCBs for your business? Discover what a PCB is and why it’s a crucial component for success in the electronics industry. From improved reliability to cost efficiency and design flexibility, PCBs offer countless benefits. Don’t miss out on harnessing their potential. Read our article now and elevate your business with the power of PCB technology!

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