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PCB applications and types for automotive industries

Have you ever thought to yourself how Tesla cars detect objects and drive by themselves? How boats, airplanes, and other vehicles can navigate through complex environmental conditions? All those abilities are possible thanks to the automotive PCB.

The automotive industry has an increasing amount of demands, both easy and complex. Automotive PCB suppliers can often accumulate that demand. They do so by providing PCB design, testing, and manufacturing services.


Looking to design your own custom automotive PCB? Or have a need for automotive PCB assembly service? look no further. we’ll cover everything you need for your next automotive PCB and PCBA project.

Types of automotive Industries PCBs

There are several types of PCBs used in automotive industries. Each PCB type has its unique set of features and benefits.

1. Single-sided PCBs – those are the basic ones. Single-sided PCBs consist of a single layer of copper on one side of the substrate. This kind of PCB option is the most popular due to its being cost-effective and simple to produce.

2. Double-sided PCBs – Such PCBs have copper layers on both sides of the substrate. Those layers allow for more complex circuit designs and higher component densities. To create complex automotive PCBs, you need to use multi-layer PCBs. These PCBs become necessary when you need more than two layers.

3. Multi-layer PCBs – offer more flexibility in circuit design, enabling higher component densities. These boards can range from four layers up to dozens of layers. The number of layers depends on the application requirements. Multi-layer PCBs also offer improved signal integrity and can handle higher frequencies.

4. Complex multi-layer PCBs – ideal for use in automotive applications. Examples of such PCB uses could be engine management systems / electronic stability control systems.

5. Last but not least – Flexible PCBs. Designers create these PCBs to be flexible and bendable. Flex PCBs are ideal for fitting into tight or tiny-shaped spaces. Companies often use flexible material in dashboard displays, where space is at a premium. Flexible boards can also provide extra design flexibility. Flexible boards can offer extra design flexibility. It’s important to note that Flexible PCBs are more sensitive to damage than rigid ones.

Besides the PCB itself, there are also extra things that we need to consider. One of these things is the PCB coating spray. The spray can protect the PCB circuit board and ensure its longevity. Choosing the right spray is crucial for automotive PCB application performance.

Automotive PCB applications

In modern vehicles, PCBs support complex systems that need high levels of precision. Such systems face challenging and harsh environments. Manufactured PCBs need particular automotive manufacturers to fulfill the industrial application requirements. Here are some of the key applications of PCBs in automotive industries:

  1. Safety Systems – PCBs are used extensively in safety systems such as airbags, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), etc… These systems need high levels of precision and reliability. For such applications, PCBs play a critical role. The hardware must operate safely and correctly without any mistakes.

  1. Engine Management Systems – Those systems control fuel injection and ignition timing. Such functions are vital functions and need very high precision. These systems rely on high levels of accuracy and reliability.
  2. Entertainment Systems – Entertainment applications include audio systems, navigation systems, and in-vehicle entertainment. PCBs in those systems are often done in multilayer design. Such a design can ease all the PCB production requirements.
  3. Climate Control Systems – PCBs are utilized inside the vehicle climate control systems. Those are not weather stations, HVAC controllers, AC, and ventilation equipment applications use such systems.
  4. Lighting Systems – PCBs are used in lighting systems. Such systems include headlights, taillights, and interior lighting. Some circuits are more complex than others. Today’s circuits combine sensors and lighting in a single automotive PCB design.

Automotive PCB design

Designing a PCB for the automotive industry is more challenging than it appears. A well-designed PCB can enhance automotive systems’ performance, reliability, and safety. Yet, a badly designed PCB can cause system failures, safety hazards, and costly recalls.

The design process always starts with an analysis. The analysis helps to detect specific requirements and restrictions of the automotive application. The analysis includes factors such as the operating environment, temperature, and shock resistance. Sometimes for wireless applications, electromagnetic interference (EMI) will be considered too. There are specific electronics component requirements in the automotive industry.

Designers are obliged to optimize the physical layout for the specific PCB type. Proper simulation and testing were then applied. Those tests are critical components of the design process. Such simulations allow designers to identify and resolve issues in advance. Simulation tools can predict the behavior of the circuit under various operating conditions. while testing can verify the performance and reliability of the PCB. In the end, this provides a complete picture of the actual automotive application.

Automotive PCB testing and quality control

PCB testing and quality control are crucial components of automotive PCB manufacturers. The complexity and criticality of automotive systems demand rigorous testing and quality control. All this ensures that the PCBs meet the required performance and safety standards.

The testing process begins with the verification of the PCB design. Such verifications include simulation and prototyping. Prototyping ensures that the circuit meets the application requirements. After completing the design, the PCB undergoes production testing. By following these steps, we ensure that each PCB meets the required specifications.

Let’s not forget that Automotive PCBs will be tested and undergo qualification tests. These tests will ensure the PCBs meet the essential quality standards. These tests include electrical testing, thermal cycling, vibration testing, and environmental testing. Each test is designed to simulate specific conditions. By doing so, we verify the amount of stress the PCB will encounter in the automotive application.
Quality control processes include visual inspection, and automated optical inspection (AOI). Sometimes they can even include an X-ray inspection (if the factory has one). These processes identify and cut defects, ensuring that PCBs meet all quality standards.

Automotive PCBs must also meet specific industry standards and regulations. Certifications such as ISO/TS 16949 for quality management and AEC-Q100 for automotive electronic components. Compliance with these standards and regulations is essential to ensure that the PCBs meet the basic regulations.

Challenges in automotive PCB design

PCBs in the automotive space face many challenges. The challenges are due to environmental impacts. Such impacts include high temperature, vibration, and regulations. Each automotive design must pass many different tests to ensure the design is safe for use.

Automotive hardware is no joke. After all, we are taking human lives into consideration here. When deciding to design a PCB for the automotive industry, find an experienced engineer. Designing stable, safe, and reliable PCB takes time, effort, and years of experience. Something that unfortunately is difficult to hold a grip into.

Once the PCB is ready for sample testing, a real-life test might be required. This means testing the PCB on an actual vehicle. By having the knowledge of designing a high-quality PCB, we can pass the tests. Passing means saving costs and R&D resources and delivering a fully working product.

Automotive PCB suppliers

If you are looking for a reliable PCB manufacturer for your automotive applications, we are here to serve you.
With years of experience in the industry, we specialize in high-quality automotive PCB design. PCBasic can provide you with PCB, PCBA, quality tests, and more. Automotive PCBs undergo strict testing and QC (quality control) at our factory.

 These processes ensure that your PCB meets critical performance, reliability, and safety benchmarks. Additionally, we offer a PCB coating spray service. The spray provides an extra layer of protection against environmental aspects. If you are still at the idea stage, PCBasic can help you make your dream come true. With an extensive engineering and R&D department, we are here to help you bring your PCB to the masses. Contact PCBasic today, and we’ll support your next automotive PCB needs.


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