Ever wondered what compose the electronics around your house and your office that (most probably) run your life? Basically, almost all these electronics need a piece of board called printed circuit boards that make electricity flow accordingly to its function. These are “geniusly” designed boards that have shrunk in sizes as decades go by.
How did this board started?
Before printed circuit boards became the heart of electronics, extremely bulky and complicated wiring designs were the standard components of electric-powered machines. This has been completely eliminated in the early 1900s.
The first printed circuit boards (PCBs) can be traced years back after the World War II when an American named Charles Ducas invented a way of making electrical connections encrypted in an insulated surface. He patented it with the name “printed wire.” Charles Ducas introduced the idea of using coppers and plates to conduct electricity without needing complicated wirings. Almost two decades after that discovery, Austrian scientist Paul Eisler produced the first real operational printed circuit boards. PCBs used to be made of old thin pieces of wood with holes and flat brass wires.
In the 1950s all the way through the 1960s, the materials used for the board went to a significant evolution where more suitable materials replaced the woods. These types of boards print the wirings on one side and the components attached on the other side. During that period, a group of scientists patented a design of circuit boards that led to the development of the printed circuit boards that we know today.
These scientists under the US Army produced the PCBs by lay outing the wiring pattern and photographing it into the zinc plate. Their discovery includes several processes with six methods namely, chemical deposition, die stamping, dusting conductive powder over adhesive ink, painting, spraying, and vacuum deposition. Between the 1950s and the 1960s was also the period when the Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC) was founded.
During the 1960s to 1970s, circuit boards begin mass production in multilayer. This multilayer model of circuit boards led to the revolutionary size of PCBs that are smaller than the first boards. Hot soldering methods and screen processes in creating circuit boards became the standard method in the electronic industry for the following years. Standard file formats understandable by machines was also invented.
From 1980s to 1990s, invention of different data formats, and new versions of processes has boomed significantly driving the technological advances in the printed circuit boards industry. Softwares in designing and plotting circuit boards were invented lessening the time cost of producing PCBs. As these evolutions take place, the size of boards are gradually shrink minimizing the space needed to be allocated in designing the overall model of the electronics.
By the year 2000s, the technological goods have become one of the most in demand goods in the market. Along with this boom are the demand for sleeker printed circuit boards driving to the development of micro-chips which have compressed functionalities allowing the electricity flow in a faster way.
The PCBs industry sees the future of circuitry into tiny boards that allow gigantic amount of functionalities. This prophecy has been portrayed many times in sci-fi movies – most of which includes the microchips that can do almost everything in a blink of an eye. Scientists support these ideas as they continue to seek more efficient ways to make things run. These advancements are leading towards the shift of PCBs into smarter and better technology to aid human. As we witness the continuous evolution of electronics, we can just imagine how the future will be.