Future of PCB
We all know that technology is an ever-growing industry. Apple comes out with new products multiple times a year, and other companies like Google, LG, and Samsung work diligently to match Apple’s pace.
With advances in technology for consumer products, especially in the transportation and communications fields, we are now able to do more than we ever thought possible even a few years ago.
These technological developments come as consumer demands and needs change. In the future, we may see PCBs in many of the following types of technology and electronics.
Board cameras, also known as PCB cameras, are cameras which can be directly mounted onto a circuit board.
These are about the size of a quarter and can be mounted on any size PCB.
These cameras are mostly found in cell phones, tablets, and other, small, handheld electronics.
Board cameras are made of a lens, aperture, and image sensor that attach directly to a PCB and take high-quality digital images and videos.
Since their launch, board cameras have developed quickly, with photo and video imaging and durability being the primary areas of improvement. Now, these small cameras can take high-resolution images and video with ease.
In the next few years, board cameras are expected to develop even further, creating powerful solutions for both industry and consumer electronics.
Due to their size, board cameras have several applications which include the following:
Board cameras have found a great deal of utility in consumer electronics, particularly in handheld mobile devices. Today, smartphones, tablets, laptops and other small handheld electronics commonly use board cameras. Consumer electronics companies are constantly pushing for smaller and more powerful cameras.
In particular, small board cameras have found a niche in the medical industry for non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures.
Some cameras have made sized down to pill-size so that they can be swallowed by patients and the doctors can take comprehensive videos and images from inside the digestive tract without invasive surgery. Also wearable cameras are gaining traction during surgeries as an instructional tool.
Because PCB cameras are so small in size, they are easy to conceal inside objects, making them an excellent choice for surveillance uses. Many consumers, security companies and organizations use these small cameras to monitor their homes and businesses for intruders. As the technology improves, its surveillance applications continue to grow.
These industries are only a few examples of how board cameras can be used and how trends may continue into the future. As it stands, the board camera industry is moving more toward customizable board cameras that are both high-quality and durable. Improved day/night and low light capabilities are also under development to help improve both medical and surveillance imaging purposes.
Active System Components
PCBs are currently used as connecting components in electronics, but they may become the active system of electronic devices in the near future. PCBs now work as carriers to relay messages between electronic components so that the entire device can function according to its design.
Electrical engineers believe, however, that someday soon PCBs themselves will become the main, active system in any electronic. In theory, instead of needing these pieces to relay messages between each other, a PCB can transfer those messages within itself to make the electronic device work properly.
3D printing technology is one of the most exciting technological innovations in recent years.
From 3D-printed organs to firearms and ammo, 3D printing has accomplished some incredible things in a variety of industries. The PCB industry is no different.
Perhaps the most fascinating development in the worlds of 3D printing and PCBs has to be 3D-printed electronics. According to Dr. Martin Hedges, 3D printers will take on a whole new functionality. Instead of printing plain items, new 3D PE (or 3D printed electronics) printers take the printing process a step up.
The 3D PEs print substrate items layer by layer to create a concrete object. Then, the item is printed with a liquid ink n top of it that contains electronic functionalities. The 3D PE then combines advanced printing technologies, five-axis systems, and software controls to make this complex printing process possible.
The electronics that are created from this process can then be used in various materials like resistors, semiconductors, conductors, and dielectrics.
Most PCBs have an autorouter in their design. This PCB component routes electronic functions throughout the board thus making the automation processes in an electronic significantly easier.
However, the process of creating and setting up autorouters is so complex that the time saved in the automation process is lost in the time engineers take to set up the component.
Therefore, many manufacturers and PCB designers find autoplacers as an alternative.
Autoplacers can make the automation process much faster and still very easy. Instead of modeling the parameters and characteristics of the PCB design like autorouters do, autoplacers attempt to fully integrate mechanical and electrical CAD systems, making the automation process simple without being as time-consuming.
Today we are living in a fast-paced world, and we want things to move faster and faster with each passing second. To allow technology to keep up with this change, PCBs will become equipped with high-speed capabilities that ensure the component and the electronic it powers work fast enough to meet consumers’ needs.
As high-speed functionality continues to be in high demand in the future, printed circuit board innovations focusing on high-speed designs will continue to be in demand. PCB industry insiders expect to see high-speed innovations continue to be a large part of the PCB’s future.
Electronic waste or e-waste, is one of the biggest environmental concerns of the modern era. This type of waste includes electronic items like computers, laptops, TVs, smartphones and household appliances, many of which contain parts that are neither biodegradable nor environmentally-friendly.
While e-scrapping has become popular in recent years, e-waste continues to be a problem as people try to find ways to get rid of old electronics.
PCBs are a large part of this issue. Some PCB materials don’t degrade very well and often end up in landfills, polluting the surrounding soil. This issue is compounded by the fact that the chemicals used during PCB manufacturing process are often harmful to the environment if not properly disposed of.
Considering how many electronics the average consumer goes through over the course of a decade, along with the industry trend toward short-lived electrical products, this can mean a lot of thrown-out PCBs bringing harm to the environment.
There are many proposed solutions to this problem, from mass junking to organized e-waste collection services. Some players are even supporting the idea of extracting precious metals from e-waste, like palladium, silver, gold, gallium and tantalum, to reuse them by smelting and refining them. This, in turn, would reduce the pressure on mining companies to produce vast amounts of metal for the electronics industry.
When it comes to PCBs specifically, some scientists propose we attack the pollution problem by changing PCB manufacturing processes. This would mean switching out traditional substrates with more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Biodegradable substrates are currently under close examination, as are alternatives that don’t require harmful etching chemicals to finish the assembly process.
Both would help reduce the environmental impact of the electronics industry overall and could potentially contribute to reducing the costs of assembly and manufacturing.