Source International – Manufacturing Materials – Learning Center
Circuit Boards, often referred to as PCB or Printed Circuit Boards, mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Components – capacitors, resistors or active devices – are generally soldered on the PCB. Advanced PCBs may contain components embedded in the substrate.†
Circuit Boards can be single or double sided or even multi-layered. If a PCB is multi-layered, it allows for a higher level of component density. The primary insulating substrate in PCBs is a glass epoxy known as FR-4. One of the most basic building blocks of a PCB is a FR-4 panel boasting a thin layer of copper foil laminated to one or both sides.
PCBs are used in almost all but the most basic electronic products. While the actual circuit must be manually designed, assembly and manufacturing of Circuit Boards can be automated. Circuit Boards provide the benefit of preventing operator wiring errors and making things easier and cheaper than other wiring methods as all the components are mounted and wired in a single part.
Circuit Boards are used in a variety of electronics and across a broad range of industries such as: Industrial, Medical, Aerospace, Military, and Automotive.
Fun Fact: The worldwide market for PCBs in 2014 exceeded $60.2 billion USD.