Seven Types Of PCBs And Their Advantages
PCB, an acronym for a printed circuit board, is a foundational building block, making it an essential component of several electrical devices. It is a flat laminated composite material made up of fiberglass, composite epoxy, or other non-composite substrate materials. PCB has copper layers, which are built either internally or externally. It can be single-sided with the only layer of copper, double-sided, or high-density applications with multiple layers of copper.
PCB is used in various applications, whether it is your computer system, radio, radar, or beeper. The type of PCB used differs on the basis of the applications in which it is used. PCB board MFG process can be complex, and it ensures the performance of the application in which it is to be used. These circuit boards can be single, double, or even multi-layered. The different types of PCB, on the basis of frequencies, layers, and the type of substrate used, are listed below.
Types Of PCBs
1) Single-Sided PCBs
This is the most basic category of the circuit board. As the name suggests, single-sided PCBs have only a single layer of the base or the substrate material. This sole layer has a thin coating of copper, which is a good conductor of electricity.
Above this copper coating, a silk screen coat and a solder mask is applied for protection. Single-sided PCBs offers the following advantages:
· Low production cost.
· Used for volume production.
· Used for simple circuits like the relays, sensors, and low-cost electronic devices like calculators and LED lighting boards.
2) Double Sided PCBs
In this category of PCBs, the substrate conductive metal covering is done on both sides. The circuit board has holes through which the metal part is connected from one side to the other.
These circuit boards allow the circuits to be connected on both sides by two common schemes of mounting.
- Through-Hole Technology:
In this mounting scheme, the lead parts are inserted via the holes, pre-drilled on the board. These lead components are then soldered to the pad on the other side.
- Surface Mount Technology:
The electrical components are mounted/directly placed on the surface of a PCB.
The several uses of double-sided PCBs are:
· Double-Sided PCBs are used in mobile phones, in amplifiers, testing equipment, and other such devices.
· It is used in hard drives, printers, vending machines, and phone systems.
· It is also used in power supplies, HVAC systems, LED lighting, and power conversion.
3) Multi-Layer PCBs
These PCBs have several layers of coppers such as 4L, 6L, 8L, so on and so forth. It helps to further expand the technology of the double-sided printed circuit boards. Because of its compact-sized, lightweight, and impressive functionality, it is used in several ways.
· For its design flexibility, it is widely used in high-speed circuits.
· It is also extensively used in medical testing devices, like modern X-ray equipment or heart monitors.
4) Rigid PCBs
This is a solid, inflexible printed circuit board. The base material of a Rigid PCB is fabricated with the help of solid material, hence it a rigid structure. It finds several uses in various applications.
· They are easily repairable and have easy maintenance.
5) Flexible PCBs
Flexible PCBs derive their name from their ability to allow the circuitry to be designed to fit the electronic device. They are made up of base material, which is highly flexible. The circuit board can be single or double-sided or can have multilayer formats. It's advantages are:
· It helps to reduce the overall board weight.
· As it can help decrease the board size, it can be used in products/devices, requiring high signal trace density.
· Flexible PCBs can work in conditions where the density and temperature are mapped.
The rigid PCB and flexible PCB are combined to form the Rigid-Flex PCB. The multiple layers of flexible PCB are connected to more than one rigid PCB externally and/or internally. Rigid-Flex PCB is precision built.
· It finds its use in medical devices and various military applications.
· It offers up to 60% of space/weight savings because of its lightweight.
7) High-Frequency PCBs
It is available in a frequency range of 500MHz – 2GHz. The applications which involve special signal transmission use high-frequency PCBs. Its uses are:
· It is used in a communication system that requires the high-frequency substrate, microwave PCBs, satellite system, or other such high-speed design applications.
The industrial sector has an increasing demand for PCBs to manufacture electronic/electrical devices, as it seeks to cater to the needs of the market. From automotive to medical, defense, broadcasting devices/equipment, printed circuit boards is the elementary material of such applications. Hence, depending on the layers, frequencies, and substrate material used, different types of PCBs are used in such applications.