What is PCB?

Abstract: What is a printed circuit board? What does it do? Which electronic devices use circuit boards? I believe that these questions bother many people who do not know about pcb. FS Technology PCBA blog site will tell you about this knowledge from the basic concept of pcb to the history of pcb development.

What is a pcb

PCB refers to conductive paths, tracks, or signal traces etched through copper sheets on a non-conductive substrate to support and electrically connect electronic components. PCB is an informal use, printed circuit board or PWB is a more accurate term, but as the concept between circuit and wiring has become blurred, this term has become less and less. I believe that when you search for “What does pcb mean”, you also noticed the word “PCBA”. pcba is short for pcb assembly, if you want to know the difference between the two in more detail, you can find it in our blog post “PCB vs PCBA”.

Application areas for PCB

With the above text, you probably already have a certain understanding of pcb, or at least what it is, right? But even if you have looked through all the electronic devices around you, it is still difficult to find a printed circuit board. There is a saying on the internet that “without PCBs, it would be impossible to progress in technology today.” This is because PCBs are so widespread in our lives that they are the basic building block of most electronic devices. From your door opener (single layer), to your smartphone (6 layers), to your computer and server (60 layers), they all run on PCBs. The products you come into contact with are finished products that have been mechanical assembly (housing + assembled circuit board).

Medical Equipment

With the development of technology, the progress of medical technology is obvious to all, and all of this benefits from the introduction of PCB. The use of computers, imaging systems, MRI machines and radiation equipment all depend on the development of the pcb industry. When the medical industry needs smaller and more complex medical equipment, the combination of soft and hard pcb is the best solution. If you don’t know what a flex-rigid board is, you can see related concepts on our website.


You read that right, a small PCB board is used in the aerospace industry and has a pivotal position. You may be wondering about this, but when you really understand how pcb board works, you will understand and accept this fact. Airplanes, satellites, drones and other avionics would not be possible if they were still connected using ancient components. The circuit boards used in the aerospace industry are qualitatively different from those used in our daily lives. They are smaller and more complex products. This kind of PCB is quite difficult to manufacture, and it is impossible to produce it unless it is some professional turnkey pcb assembly company.

Military Industry

The earliest applicable field of PCB is the military industry, and the United States first used it in military tape recorders. With the advancement of military technology to meet changing customer needs, more and more equipment integrates advanced computerized technology, and ordinary smt technology has been difficult to meet the requirements of military PCB. They require the electrical and mechanical properties inherent in flexible and rigid flexible packaging. These types of electronic packages can withstand thousands of pounds of gravity without failing.

PCB Development History

The development of PCB can be said to be very rapid. Humans never knew what PCB is, and it has only taken a century to become the core of the electronics industry. Before the advent of circuit boards, electrical connections between electronic components were made through bulky wire connections. The ancient connection method not only wastes material, but also complicates the connection between lines.

Our factory in not only equipped with advance production and inspection equipment but also certified by ISO9001, ISO14001, IATF 16949, ISO13485, UL. Our products widely applying in telecommunications, computer and networks,medical device, automotive, industrial controlling system, new energy, home appliance, ect. History of printed circuit boards is as follows

1925: American inventor Charles Ducas patented the first circuit design when he stenciled a conductive material onto a flat board.

1936: Paul Eisler makes the first printed circuit board for a military radio.

1943: Eisler etched circuits into copper foil on a glass-reinforced non-conductive substrate.

1944: The United Kingdom and the United States cooperated for the first time in military weapons.

1948: In order to popularize pcb and apply it to daily life, the United States first disclosed PCB technology.

1950s: Transistors are introduced to the electronics market in order to reduce the size of electronic products. This move makes the PCB easier to integrate and improves the safety of electronic products.

1950s-1960s: Double-sided pcbs are introduced, with electronic components on one side and logo printing on the other. Zinc sheets are incorporated into the PCB design and feature corrosion-resistant materials and coatings to prevent degradation.

1960s: High-density circuit boards are realized, and integrated circuits (ICs or silicon chips) are introduced into electronic design. This move enables the bare PCB board to carry thousands of electronic components, which greatly improves the power, speed and safety of electronic equipment. Due to the smaller size of IC chips, PCBs are starting to get smaller. Humans face a new difficulty: how to make welding stronger.

1970s: Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is renamed Printed Wiring Board (PWB). Because the acronym for printed circuit board is the same as the acronym for the environmentally harmful chemical PCBs, this confusion leads to public confusion and community health concerns.

1970s to 1980s: Newly developed solder masks of thin polymer materials become the standard manufacturing method for PCBs. A photoimageable polymer coating was subsequently developed that can be applied directly to circuits, dried and subsequently modified by exposure to further increase circuit density.

1980s: A new assembly technology called Surface Mount Technology (SMT for short) is developed. This soldering directly to small pads on the PCB, without the need for holes, is quickly becoming the standard in PCB manufacturing. PCB SMT components are rapidly gaining popularity, becoming the industry standard, and striving to replace through-hole components, again increasing functional power, performance, reliability, and reducing electronics manufacturing costs.

1990s: Computerized design automates many steps in PCB design and facilitates increasingly complex designs using smaller, lighter components.

2000s: PCBs became smaller, lighter, with higher layers and more complexity. Multilayer and flex circuit PCB designs allow for more operational functions in electronic devices, and PCBs are getting smaller and less expensive.

That’s all for “what is pcb board”, you can find more great articles in the PCB knowledge blog.

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