Understanding the PCB

printed circuit board

First off, we should begin to clarify the meaning of PCB or Printed Circuit Board. A PCB, as most definition-providing sites like wikipedia would tell you,  basically supports the mechanical workings and electrically connects electronic components—utilizing conductive tracks, pads, and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. When we talk about components, we mean things like resistors, capacitors, and other active devices—and they are often soldered on the PCB itself.

Secondly, we need to also understand the method by which assemblage of circuit boards for computer  and electronic devices is made possible. Such is aptly called printed circuit board or pcb fabrication.  Engr. Simon Lang from Singapore tries to explain pcb fabrication is simple terms, “ In PCB fabrication, the board’s layers are put together following a very detailed and precise pattern for it to be utilized in electronics manufacturing. Without PCBs, you will never enjoy most of the devices you use nowadays. Imagine having no cell phones, computers or laptops? Seems inconceivable to me. All these will never work without PCBs. So if you ask to what degree is PCB’s importance to technology today, I say 100 % relevant.” 

According to Malcolm Wagner who wrote The Importance of Printed Circuit Boards for hardhero.com, “Printed circuit boards are the motherboards of any electronic device from simple beepers, phones to computer systems, radars, and state of the art communication technology. They are self-contained modules that accommodate elements to form electrical circuit in order to activate electronic devices. Most televisions, cellular phones, radios, tablets and digital cameras have one or more PCB’s. Desktop computers and laptops have bigger printed circuit boards which serve as platforms of internal components such as video cards, network interface cards, expansion cards, and controller cards – all these are connected to another PCB, the motherboard.”


Samuel Limjoco, who works for a pcb manufacturer  company in  singapore shared, “The more demands for devices, the bigger demand for pcb manufacturing as well. And PCB designers are very much benefiting from this too. PCB design services nowadays may include PCB capture technology, PCB editor, interactive router, among others.”

According to the article of Malcolm Wagner, here are some of the specific reasons why PCBs are very much essential to electronics and technology industries ( written in the same article mentioned above for the website hardhero.com):

1.They give mechanical support to electronic components.

2.They connect different components to others essential materials.

3.They give input/output connections that make devices functional.

4.They provide electrical impedance matching or the practice of designing opposition of the signal source to minimize or maximize the transfer of power.

5.They serve as conductors of heat transfer.

6.They provide electromagnetic shielding to guard the electronic components and cables against emissions of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF).

“It is an imperative in any electrical design to minimize the number of components, PCBs, connectors, etc. in order to minimize cost and increase performance. However, the minimization of PCBs often results in those used becoming more complex and hence having more ‘value added.’ In looking at the micrograph cross section, one could strongly argue that the PCB has never been so important or so strongly a ‘partner’ in the design. The multilevel, fine feature, high density interconnection provided by this PCB is truly a miracle of modern PCB manufacturing. Any other ‘PCB-less’ design would require these functions and would essentially, by any other name, be a PCB. As an example, let’s say all of these functions were performed by the case of the electronic device. To manufacture this new PCB-less device, the processes that are used to make a PCB would be needed to form these functions in the product’s case.  In addition, solder paste printing, component placement and reflow soldering of the case would likely be a challenge,” wrote Dr. Ron Lasky in his article for indium.com titled  The Printed Circuit Board: More Important Now Than Ever.