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Automotive PCB: Everything You Need to Know About it

Your best automotive pcb suppliers


Perhaps you know the usage of printed circuit boards in TVs, cameras, smartphones, and computers. Well, there are several sectors that rely heavily on PCBs. Among them, one is – automotive.

A printed circuit board used in the automotive industry is known as an automotive PCB. After all, PCB manufacturers specifically design it for vehicles. These circuit boards have a significant role in enhancing the safety and performance of automobiles.


This post provides you with comprehensive information on automotive PCBs, their types, and applications. Let us begin this without any further delay.


What are Automotive PCBs?


An automotive PCB is a unique printed circuit board used in various types of vehicles. It has a critical role in automotive technology. 


Automobile companies use it for various automotive electronics. You can notice its usage in anti-lock brake systems, digital displays, GPS, airbag controls, and more.


It would not be wrong to mention that these circuits are transforming the automotive sector. They are making vehicles more safe and reliable.


If you see the automotive PCB design, you will notice how different it is from regular PCBs. 


Since the automobile sector has distinct requirements, Automotive PCBs are unlike the standard PCBs.Let’s find out how they are different from standard PCBs.


How Automotive PCBs Differ from Standard PCBs


Both PCB types are different in terms of the following aspects.

 

Material

 

Unlike standard printed circuit boards, automotive PCBs contain two or more prefabricated materials. It makes them withstand high humidity and temperature. Generally, these materials include flame-retardant fiberglass epoxy laminate and ceramic-filled PTFE.

 

Thickness

 

Most standard PCBs have a thickness between 0.2 and 3.0mm. On the contrary, the thickness of automotive PCB boards ranges from 0.6 mm to 3.2mm, depending on the requirements.

 

Copper Foils

 

Generally, an automotive PCB uses thicker copper for its inner and outer layers. It helps the PCB bear electrical vibrations. Moreover, thicker copper foil ensures better current pass.

 

Adhesive Material

 

Regular printed circuit boards use standard adhesive material. However, automotive PCBs use adhesive materials like epoxy resins, polyimides, acrylic, and sometimes silicone adhesives. They protect PCBs against vibrations and high temperatures.  


Evolution of Automotive PCB Technology


 

The history of printed circuit boards dates back to the early 20th century. Albert Hanson was the person who filed a patent for a flat conductor laminated insulating board. 


Until 1943, the actual printed circuit board was not manufactured and used. The US Army used it for the first time during World War 2. They used it to make proximity fuses.


Gradually, different industries started adopting this technology. Today, from toys to fighter planes, PCBs are everywhere.


In the automotive industry, PCB Technology is achieving new milestones every year. If you observe, automotive PCBs are transforming vehicle electronics.


Automobile companies had started using PCBs in the mid-20th century. They came as an alternative to complex electrical connections. These circuits simplified the merging of wiring and components.


Today, they are more than that. Nowadays, Automotive PCB is improving vehicle safety and performance.


The future outlook of automotive PCBs seems promising. In the upcoming years, you may see AI integration in automotive PCBs. They can be programmed to make real-time decisions to enhance the safety of vehicles. 

Electric vehicle manufacturers may also use them to support fast charging.





PCBasic can produce almost all types of automotive PCBs. The automotive PCB made by PCBasic has successfully won unanimous praise from customers. Our products are considered better than our competitors because we always focus on developing technology. PCBasic fully understands all types of PCB components in the automotive industry. Our automotive PCBs have passed professional qualification certification, so you can trust them to be durable and reliable automotive PCBs. The price of PCBasic is also competitive, essential for you to conduct your business smoothly and increase profits.


No matter what type of automotive PCB you are looking for, we can provide it for you. You can enjoy the shortest delivery time and the fastest delivery speed. Click https://www.pcbasic.com/ to get our automotive PCB quotation for free. Quality is crucial for automotive PCBs.

automotive PCB


The automotive PCBs provided by PCBasic have the following advantages:


  • It controls and complies with strict pollution requirements
  • Increase comfort and simplify the operation of auto parts and enhance safety regulations
  • Produce low electromagnetic interference
  • Ensure better fuel efficiency
  • Low power consumption

 


 

Global outlook for automotive PCB market

 

From 2018 to 2024, the global automotive PCB market is expected to exceed US$14 billion.

It is estimated that from 2020 to 2025, the compound annual growth rate of the automotive PCB market is about 6%.

Single-sided PCBs accounted for the largest share of the automotive PCB market in 2018. Its widespread use in electronic products, such as automotive lighting systems, wiper systems, and electronic throttle modules, may promote the growth of the automotive PCB market. Countries such as China, Taiwan, and South Korea are the largest single-sided PCB manufacturers in Asia. It is expected that in the next few years, there will be considerable growth in multilayer and flexible automotive PCBs.


The continuous improvement of the applicability of rigid-flex PCBs, the popularization of in-vehicle infotainment systems, the arrival of new energy vehicles, and the increasing potential of ADAS are expected to contribute to the growth of the global automotive PCB market. Luxury cars are equipped with advanced electronic systems, providing users with better safety, comfort, and convenience. Therefore, it is expected that light luxury vehicles will occupy an important share of the global automotive PCB market during the forecast period.


The main factors driving the growth of the automotive PCB market are the increase in the number of automobile production and sales and the incorporation of advanced safety technologies. On the other hand are the mandatory requirements of government agencies; the demand for convenience and comfort systems and the market growth apply to hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles.


Market Overview


In April 2019, Tripod Technology signed a $64.8 million contract to build additional production lines at the Xiantao production base in Hubei, China. The new plant will supply cars to the country's automakers and the international market to capture the growing demand for car production. Therefore, it is expected that after 2020, the demand for automotive PCB will grow at a significant rate.


In February 2020, Lumax Industries expanded its joint venture with Japan's Stanley Electric. The company will provide a full range of current and future Stanley Electric products to the Indian automotive industry. Automotive PCB is the core component of Lumax's automotive lighting system. Lumax's focus is to expand the product line with Stanley Electric and provide a wide range of advanced electronic component products. The joint venture company will soon expand its product line to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning panels (HVAC). Therefore, the demand for automotive PCB may further develop. The product will be localized and manufactured at the new electronics factory in Bawal, Haryana. , Is currently in discussions with Japanese OEMs.


Main market trends of automotive PCB


The increase in sales of electric vehicles drives the growth of the automotive PCB market.


People are increasingly concerned about global car emissions and government initiatives to increase sales of electric vehicles. As a result, the sales of electric vehicles will grow at a higher compound annual growth rate. For example, the Norwegian government has reduced some tax rates and is also investing heavily in infrastructure. These measures promote the sales of electric vehicles and make the area an ecologically driven area by 2025.


With the increasing adoption of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technology in electric vehicles, the demand for the automotive PCB market has gradually increased. It is expected that in the next few years, the use of automotive PCBs in ADAS systems will become more and more widespread. Therefore, suppliers in the global automotive PCB market hope to cater to the growing trend of installing ADAS in automobiles in the next few years. In addition, the growth of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system installation is expected to drive demand for flexible PCBs.


Digitization of PCB design simulation is becoming the central concept of the global automotive PCB market. It can ensure adequate prototype preparation before actual integration into the simulation of the design process. In addition, the electrification of engine mechanisms and propulsion technology is expected further to promote the development of the automotive PCB market.


The increasing demand for instrument panel switches, stereo and audio components, digital screens and display systems, vehicle radar systems, navigation systems, and vehicle diagnostics has also provided an impetus for the automotive PCB market. The internal component market was the largest market segment in the automotive PCB market in 2018. With the increasing emphasis on safety regulations and enhanced driving experience, automakers actively invest in advanced automotive PCBs. The Asia-Pacific region is the most critical automotive PCB market in 2018 and may continue to maintain its leading position during the forecast period.


The field of engine control components is the second largest contributor to the automotive PCB market. The rise in ECU usage is bound to increase the usage of processors and semiconductors, which will indirectly affect the growth of the automotive PCB market. Powertrain components have been widely adopted in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, which has increased the demand for automotive PCBs. In addition, more and more fuel emission regulations are pushing OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to focus on the electrification of powertrain components.


The Asia-Pacific region occupies a major market share


This region accounts for approximately 60% of the world's population and is the world's major developing economy. Due to construction, transportation, industrialization, etc., economies such as China and India have grown faster. This has led to an increase in demand for cars in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, some countries in the area require active and passive safety features for vehicles, promoting the growth of the automotive PCB market in the Asia-Pacific region. The regional government tried to provide subsidies to buyers of electric cars to increase the purchase rate of electric vehicles. For example, the Japanese government offers a one-time subsidy for buyers when buying electric cars to abolish the country's use of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2050.


For example, owners of a 30-kilowatt-hour Nissan Leaf can receive a subsidy of approximately US$3,000. The maximum allowance is capped at $7,700, depending on the mileage of the vehicle. In addition, consumers who purchase zero-emission electric vehicles can reduce vehicle taxes by 50% each year.


Because of the impact of COVID-19, major Japanese automotive suppliers must close the market in early 2020. When the effects of COVID-19 begins to diminish, the global automotive PCB market situation will further deteriorate. Because of this uncertainty, major Japanese automakers have decided to start to get rid of their dependence on China.


Automotive PCB market: geography


Due to low labor and logistics costs, automobile production in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan has maintained steady growth. The improvement of production capacity, the rise of digitization, and the continuous investment in the automotive industry have promoted the development of the automotive PCB industry in the region. Sales of electric and hybrid vehicles in the United States and Canada continue to increase, making North America the second-largest geographic region in the global automotive PCB market. The growing demand for electric vehicles in Germany, the United Kingdom, and France are one of the main reasons for the growth of the automotive PCB market in Europe.


Brazil is the leading region in the automotive PCB market in Latin America. However, the political turmoil in Venezuela, the shrinking Brazilian economy, and natural disasters are likely to affect the growth of the automotive PCB market in Latin America. In addition, as suppliers expand their footprint, the automotive PCB market in the MEA region is experiencing considerable growth.


Competitive landscape


The automotive PCB market is fragmented, with several participants occupying an essential share of the market. Some well-known companies in the automotive PCB market include Infineon, Samsung, Amitron, CMK, etc. These companies invest a lot of money in research and development to innovate products and technologies.


Applications and types of PCBs in the automotive industry

PCB board for automotive electronics


It used to be very difficult to find an American car equipped with any computer technology. These computers require complex automotive PCBs to operate. But today, no car can be operated without an onboard computer. The international automobile market has been developing in a complicated direction. More and more onboard computers are beginning to get involved in core system functions, generating service alerts or enabling security functions.


Since there are many different types of electronic systems in today's cars, the types of automotive PCBs required vary greatly. The same vehicle may require flexible PCBs, rigid PCBs, and rigid-flex PCBs for different technologies. As people demand more accessories and functions for automobiles powered by electronic components, various automotive PCBs continue to grow.

 


Automotive PCB manufacturers need to provide a variety of PCB options. Now, systems and operations that use PCBs to improve efficiency and safety include rear LED lights, driving lights, transmission control devices, and comfort control units. You can also find automotive PCBs for management engines, entertainment systems, digital displays, radars, GPS, power relay timing systems, rearview mirror control, etc.


Automotive PCB manufacturers need to provide various types of PCBs. Still, manufacturers who manufacture, assemble and transport printed circuit boards for the automotive industry must also offer automotive PCBs that are durable and corrosion-resistant. Support a longer life cycle. This means that high-temperature automotive PCBs that allow rapid heat dissipation are critical.



So, what are the types of these special automotive PCBs? Let's take a look.


Types of automotive PCB

To meet the strict requirements for space, weight, and cost, the automotive industry uses different PCBs. The structure of these automotive PCBs and the types of materials or substrates used to differ. There are several types of automotive PCB:


Rigid PCB:

This is a traditional PCB, which is not flexible and is usually manufactured using FR4. Application programs include display monitor and reverse cam screen;


Flexible PCB:

These PCBs are made of flexible plastic substrates. The advantage of these boards is that they can be twisted and bent and are widely used. Especially in places with limited space or irregular shapes, including the connection of displays, control panels, and light switches;


Rigid and flexible PCB:


They are a combination of the above two types of PCBs, so they have the advantages of both. Rigid-flex PCB is used in lighting system;


LED PCB:

The increasing use of high-power and high-brightness LEDs requires automotive PCBs (usually made of metal substrates such as aluminum) with excellent heat dissipation. This type of PCB is used for car indicators, headlights, and brake lights;


HDI PCB:

The abbreviation for HDI (High Density Interconnect), which means a PCB with high density electrical connections per unit area. These automotive PCBs have more airy spaces and lines, smaller vias and capture pads, and higher connection pad density. HDI PCB is widely used in infotainment systems to help improve wiring quality and reduce the weight and size of the solution.


Automotive PCB Materials and Key Components


An automotive printed circuit board consists of the following components and materials.

 

Substrate/ Base Material


Automotive PCBs feature base material offering high mechanical strength and excellent thermal solidity. The most common substrate materials used for these PCBs include ceramic and polyimide.

 

Copper Foil


Copper foil is another primary material used in Automotive PCB. If you see automotive PCB design closely, you will notice copper-made conductive traces. PCB designers use only high-quality copper for this task.

 

Solder Mark


Also known as a solder stop, a solder mark is a thin layer of polymer applied to the copper traces. It protects the layer traces from short circuits. However, it also offers protection against excessive heat.

 

Silkscreen


Silkscreen is ink traces that mention labels for the different components on the printed circuit boards.

 

Thermal Interface Materials


These materials dissipate excessive heat so that other components operate at an ideal temperature.


Automotive PCB Components


An automotive PCB comprises the following components.


  • Connectors

  • Microcontrollers

  • Sensors

  • Safety Systems


Besides this, the circuit board contains specialized chips for power management, engine control, safety features, and infotainment. 


The Role of Automotive PCBs in Vehicle Safety & Performance


Automotive PCBs have a significant role in enhancing the safety of modern vehicles. Safety PCBs in cars work in different ways. Some common examples include:


Airbags


Needless to say, how important are airbags in a vehicle? Nevertheless, most people do not know that automotive PCBs help manage airbag deployment systems. They process sensor data to determine when to deploy an airbag during a collision. 


ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems)


Today, ADAS has a crucial role in minimizing the number of car accidents. However, this safety system relies heavily on automotive PCB to function accurately. The circuit board processes the data to prompt all types of alerts.


Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS)


Most of the cars come with ABS safety features nowadays. It helps in controlling the steering of vehicles and shortening the braking system. 


The Anti-lock Braking System utilizes PCBs to enhance responsiveness for braking. Additionally, they help vehicles stay in control. 


Electronic Stability Control (ESC)


You can also notice the use of automotive PCBs in ESC systems. It monitors the steering angle, wheel speed, and acceleration.


Automobile Communication Network


Safety PCBs also help in managing the communication network of a car. These circuit boards facilitate safety-related systems, such as CAN, FlexRay, etc. 


Along with safety, car manufacturers also employ automotive PCBs to enhance the performance of their vehicles. Known as performance-enhancing PCBs, automotive printed circuit boards can also optimize the performance of vehicles.


Let us learn how an automotive PCB helps improve the performance of vehicles.


Fuel Injection-Control


An engine control printed circuit board controls the timing and amount of fuel injection into the cylinders. As a result, they help automobiles get an optimum power output.


Managing the Shock Load and Engine Vibration


Automotive PCBs also manage vibration from the engine and shock from bumps. Though they do not have a direct role in managing these, they control suspension systems that further control the impact of shocks and bumps.


Engine Control


There are engine control PCBs that manage different aspects of the engine's operation. They are a crucial part of a vehicle’s engine control unit. Engine control PCBs help with managing fuel injection, power output, ignition timing, and more.


Gear Control


Vehicles with automatic transmissions depend on printed circuit boards to handle transmission control units and gear shifts.


Challenges and Solutions in Automotive PCB Manufacturing

 

Automotive PCBs are making a lot of things easier in the automotive industry. Nevertheless, manufacturing these PCBs is not easy. 


A manufacturer encounters various challenges when making these printed board circuits.

 

PCB Manufacturing Challenges and Their Solutions

 

 

Technological Innovations

 

PCB technology is continuously upgrading due to technological advancements. For some manufacturers, it is challenging to keep up with innovations. 


If you do not adopt innovation for your production, it won't be easy to beat the Competition. 


To overcome this issue, companies need to provide their staff with training to meet the expectations and demands of modern times.


Enduring Harsh Environment


Motor vehicles operate in different environmental conditions. Manufacturers make printed circuit boards that can endure various weather conditions without compromising on functionality. Unfortunately, it is not as straightforward as it seems.


Generally, manufacturers use laminates and advanced coating on PCBs so that they can function flawlessly in every situation

 

Meeting Automotive PCB Standards


The automotive industry is quite strict when it comes to quality. PCB manufacturers have to comply with numerous quality standards. 


As the role of automotive PCBs is directly associated with the safety of vehicles, they must be flawless. These PCBs must work perfectly for extended periods without failure.  


Manufacturers nowadays employ automated assembly to improve the quality of circuit boards. 

 

Miniaturization Complexity


Since PCBs contain tiny components and materials, they are complex. Additionally, in vehicles, they have to be placed in compact spaces.


As a result, the manufacturing process passes through a series of inspections to ensure precision in PCB boards. Furthermore, manufacturers use different automotive PCB solutions and miniaturization techniques. 



The impact of automotive PCB in the automotive field


Focusing on the autonomous driving and electric vehicle industries, you will find that the automotive PCB combines all the delicate sensors and components required for the stable operation of the car.


Think of the automotive PCB as the chassis of a car. Then the engine, sensors, axles, and wheels will all form electronic components on the PCB. For automotive PCBs, reliability is of the utmost importance. The automotive PCB needs to survive extreme environmental conditions and vibration, and its performance cannot be frustrating. Most importantly, automotive PCB manufacturers must pass ISO/TS 16949 certification based on the ISO 9001 automotive standard in the long run. Heat resistance and long life make automotive PCBs utterly different from other printed circuit boards.


Automotive PCB technology promotes the development of emerging industries


The car has grown into a complex collection of systems and software, even if manned. With the ambition to let the vehicle take over driving, the brains of these decision-making vehicles must have the highest quality. Therefore, automotive pcb suppliers and assembly companies will become key contributors, such as Advanced Circuits.

 

 

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