Embedded PCB Technology for Small Mobile Devices
Embedded PCB Technology for Small Mobile Devices

Jun 13, 2019

Printed circuit board (PCB) technology, or PCB, has become a vital part of modern electronic devices. The global market value for bare PCBs was over $60B in 2014 and is estimated to reach $79B by 2024. These figures show that PCBs will continue to grow in importance. Nowadays, PCB technology is used in everything but the simplest electronic devices. Some electrical products, like passive switch boxes, also use PCBs technology. Small mobile devices have come to rely on PCB technology to perform regular tasks.

Mobile devices have small passive components that need high-density installation, and conventional surface-mount technology based on two-dimensional implementation doesn’t have the ability to support these passive components. The inadequacy of conventional surface mounting areas has led to the rapid adoption of embedded PCB technology. This applies not only to small mobile devices but also to electronic devices of all kinds. [1,2

The Design of PCB Technology

PCB technology supports and connects electrical or electronic components. It does this through the use of conductive tracks and pads made from sheet layers of copper. The copper components are laminated between sheet layers of the non-conductive substrates and soldered onto PCBs. This allows them to connect electrically and remain mechanically fastened in place. Therefore, PCB technology affects both hardware and tech functions. PCBs have different numbers of layers depending on their application. They’re generally single, double, or multi-layered.

Each copper layer alternates with a non-conductive substrate. Multi-layered PCBs enable a far higher component density. Other methods would cause the circuit traces on inner layers to take up surface space between the components. Surface mount technology was adopted simultaneously as multi-layered PCBs since multi-layered PCBs often make repairs, analysis, and circuit modification more difficult or even impossible.

PCB Technology in Mobile Devices

PCBs in small mobile devices can be divided into two parts: network section and power section. These two parts can be further subdivided. The network section part possesses an antenna point. This refers to the place where an antenna connects to the component. It can often be found at the top of the PCB. The network section also has an antenna switch made of both metal and non-metal, which includes 16 points. In some devices, the antenna switch merges with a power frequency operator or PFO. Below or beside these components is the network integrated component or (IC), which sometimes merges with the central processing unit (CPU), and below the network section is the power section. This contains the CPU, flash IC, the 20-point logic IC, charging IC, and audio IC.

Advantages of PCB Technology

PCB allows for the reduction of surface mounting areas. It does this by using embedded chip components (resistance and condensers). PCB also improves devices’ electrical properties. It does this by using shorter wiring distances between embedded components and surface-installed ICs. Additionally, shortened pitches between each component improve electronic performance. They do this by working with improved heat resistance. This is made possible by connections between component terminals. These components use copper plating and laser drilling. In small mobile devices, space is limited. Therefore, these qualities are instrumental in using space and improving performance. Without the advances brought by PCB technology, small mobile devices would be far more difficult to produce. They would also be more limited in their capabilities and functionality.

Alternatives to PCB Technology

Wire wrap and point-to-point construction are both alternatives to PCBs. Both alternatives were once popular for electronic devices; however, they’ve been mostly phased out since the advent of PCBs. PCB manufacturing and assembly are easy to automate. This means it’s also easier to add more design options in laying out circuits. CAD software designed for PCB production is often used to do the majority of layout design. Mass-produced circuits using PCBs are more affordable and quicker to produce than alternatives. This is because PCB components are mounted and wired in a single operation. High quantities of PCBs can be manufactured at the same time on only one layout. This means they are also simpler to produce than other wiring methods. Sometimes, PCBs are also produced in small amounts by hand.

However, this reduces many of the PCBs’ associated benefits. PCB is better for small mobile devices over alternatives because of its improved use of less space. This is the key factor of its widespread use and status as a standard technology in the mobile device industry. Without PCBs, mobile device production would suffer. It would be more expensive and time-consuming, and far less efficient in both manufacturing and product capabilities. For this reason, printed circuit board technology is the most widely used technology for mobile device production in the industry.

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