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Applications for PCBs

What is Printed circuit board and how can it be used for 

The printed circuit board or in short PCB can be used for many applications, most often there are different types of PCB design that are offered to customers by engineers or third party companies that specialize in PCB designs, the designs might have different requirements, different applications such as consumer electronics PCB, industrial PCB, and others ... While we all wonder what are PCBs used for, in this article we will discuss and explain different PCB examples and the types of PCBs: what are PCBs used for, types of PCB designs, and the function of the printed circuit boards in computers, microprocessors, and microcontroller-oriented designs.

 PCB applications and industries 

When PCB is produced it has a very specific use case, this use case can be anywhere from consumer electronics to industrial, aerospace, medical, gaming and toys industry, automotive and so much more. When we send PCB for fabrication we already know what does a PCB do, how it will be used and for which purpose, and to which industry it belongs, different industry might have different specification and requirement such as temperature, humidity, shelf life, and others .. which will require a tailor-made design for each and every application.

1. Consumer electronics PCB

Consumer electronics PCB

Consumers' electronics mostly refer to products that we, the typical consumers, use in daily life. it can be a light bulb, LCD screen, air purifier, laptop, and others ... while we can’t see it clearly due to the form factor of the consumer product, each product holds within itself a PCB, those electronic boards ensure the function of the application and its long usage life. laptops and computers PCB usually used for processing and performing multiple tasks, such PCBs will come with extra components such as GPU, CPU, Memory, HDD and more, those are all electronic components that are mounted to or connected directly to the PCB board, a PCB in consumer laptop / PC is referred to as “motherboard”, so although the different name, the motherboard is also one of many types of PCB or assembled PCB (PCBA). 

Consumer applications usually don’t require the end customer to know how to use printed circuit board or what are PCBs used for as the board comes in a finished product design suitable and functional according to the end customer's needs, those electronics PCB usually doesn’t have any high restrictions or requirements such as high temperature or humidity or harsh environmental conditions, price is a very important factor in order to enable as many consumers as possible to afford the PCB board. Some of the consumer applications PCB examples you might have seen includes: 

A. Smart home appliances, light bulbs, and switches 

B. Scale measurement devices 

C. Personal computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones 

D. Microwaves, ovens, fridges, and other cooking appliances. 

E. Smartwatch and wearables 

F. TV, LCD, and another type of monitors.

2. Industrial, Agriculture, and IoT


Not all PCBs are born the same, while consumer electronics and PCBs cost less to produce and require minimal tests such as temperature, radiation, humidity, etc ... Industrial, agriculture-related, and IoT applications, in general, require a series of tests to ensure constant reliability and functionality over a long period of time.

In the smart manufacturing business, IoT and industrial applications are often used in order to make the fabrication process more productive, PCBasic incorporates 15 years of experience and different types of hardware in order to make the process easy, fast, and low cost. One example would be an AI camera computer module that is able to identify types of PCBs with images and by doing so identify flaws in the PCBA and SMT production in order to send an alert and correct those faults before delivering the final product to the customers. 

In Agriculture applications, for example, some PCB electronic boards will be placed outdoor for years, in such cases, components and PCB materials should be chosen carefully in order to ensure minimal fault rate during the lifespan of the product. Industrial electronic boards are usually more expensive but at the same time more reliable and suitable for work under harsh conditions, both indoors and outdoors, the PCB electronic layers and thickness are designed in order to ensure clear signal in high voltage and current conditions. Some agriculture and IoT applications include:

A. Smart garden monitoring system 

B. Weather monitoring station 

C. Greenhouse monitoring and control 

D. Smart waste and garbage collection, and much more .

3. Network and telecommunication 

Popular PCB application is network and telecommunication, those can be used both in consumer and industrial use cases, for example, consumers will most often use routers, modems, repeaters or access points in order to access the internet through the internet service provider (ISP) while for industrial use it will be servers, NAS (network-attached storage) box, and another type of industrial equipment. All the examples above implement custom-made PCBs to serve a very specific purpose and application. the PCB systems come in small sizes for consumers and large bulky packages which are often found in industrial use telecommunication devices. some PCB systems can be more complex and might require multiple PCBs stacked or connected to each other in one way or another. Some of the network and communication PCB electronics includes:

A. Network routers and switches

B. Access points, modems, and repeaters 

C. Network-attached storage devices 

D. Servers and Internet service providers stations

4. Medical industries

medical industries PCBA

If you were unfortunate to visit the hospital or a doctor under certain circumstances, you might have encountered different types of devices, computers, and monitors that the hospitals and doctors use in order to perform their job. All those devices incorporate printed electronic boards inside or in short PCBs, the electronic PCB enables the medical devices to save daily life, monitor patients 24/7 and as you can imagine - a single fault in design can cost the lives of many people. For that reason, medical industries and applications have strict PCB design requirements, and every design when released to market requires to perform dozen of tests in order to ensure that it can perform what it was designed for. 

Some examples of PCB electronic devices used in the medical industries: 

A. Cardiovascular pacemakers.

B. MRIs and CTs. 

C. Heart support and monitoring equipment. 

D. AKG, and X-Ray machinery. Life support, 

E. Defibrillators, and other life-critical types of equipment. 

5. Military applications

A less popular industry to normal consumers but something with can’t ignore is the military industry, often when we would like to express how amazing a PCB design is or how durable, long-lasting, and high quality the board is designed we could call it “Military grade” design, that is to emphasize how great the design and the production of the PCB electrical board is. The electronic PCB inside military devices and applications are definitely something to look forward to, the chipset that is used often are confidential and the ability to source the components can be given to permitted enterprises and manufacturers for a very specific purpose and lane of distribution. The Electronic PCB in military applications is durable, long-lasting, and designed to withstand hard conditions, such as air pressure and high-temperature changes.

Some of the applications that the military will use while producing PCB electronic board would be: 

A. Unmanned vehicles. 

B. Robotic and defense navigation systems. 

C. Communication and control systems. 

D. Mortars and artillery. 

E. Security and encryption-related equipment.

6. Automotive industries 

Automotive industries PCB

The automotive industry has been changing and developing in the past decades, we used to drive simple cars when radio devices were considered Luxury, today, most of the cars are powered by ultra-smart computers and some of the cars such as Tesla’s are fully electric. As time goes we see automotive applications become more popular and smarter with technologies such as Lidar, 5G, AI, and more incorporated in every bit of the car we drive, today some cars even have a builtin autopilot mode enabling drivers to relax while the care drives for them, all of this powered by, you guessed it, a PCB electrical board. Those PCBs are designed for industrial-grade to ensure safety as a first priority, a single fault in-car computer system can cause a catastrophic disaster, by fabricating highquality PCBs with trusted components we can ensure a safe ride on the way back home. 

Electronic PCB applications for the automotive industry include: 

A. Engine drive-related systems

B. Temperature and humidity smart climate control 

C. Displays, speakers, and audio systems 

D. Anti-theft and alert

E. Airbag safety control mechanism 

F. Ignition and car starting 

G. Obstacle detection alert systems and more 

7. Aerospace and space exploration 

Last but not least industry that we will discuss today is the aerospace industry, we might not be familiar with such name or its applications but the aerospace and space exploration industry serve us every single day, in fact, all the cellphones and applications we’ve discussed above wouldn’t be possible without the satellites which belong to the aerospace industry. 

The electronic PCB and components in the aerospace industry and particularly in the satellites that serve us on daily basis belong to military and industrial grade applications as those PCBs located in the space where radiation and temperature hit on different levels than what we know and used to here on earth. 

Some other applications are also related to planes and aircraft, navigation systems, GPS, and autopilot control that serves us when we need to travel from place to place at high speed. Did you know that the Boing 737 airplanes are made out of around 367,000 electronics parts? that almost sound unbelievable but every application as we know requires PCB electronics, indicating how crucial the process of PCB and PCBA fabrication is for each and every industry. 

Some of the applications that are used in the aerospace industry are: 

A. Radiation monitoring 

B. Thermal management and materials process monitoring 

C. Flight controllers and autopilot systems 

D. GPS and, Nano SATs and satellites system 

E. Signal sensors monitoring 

F. Power grids, radio communication systems, and more 


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