Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing – What Is the Future of Advanced Electronic Manufacturing?

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Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing – What Is the Future of Advanced Electronic Manufacturing?

The Future of PCB Manufacturing

Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) function as an essential part of electronic products today and may become an even more essential part of the electronics industry in the future. PCB manufacturing has come along way since their development in the 1950’s; you can find them in almost all consumer electronics, medical equipment and scientific equipment.

There are basically three types of printed circuit board (PCB) structures, flex, ridig-flex and rigid. The demands for smaller, cheaper, faster circuit boards have made it challenging for the PCB designers; they will now have to build the boards in different forms to accommodate these demands.

There have been many innovations in PCB materials and processes. The trend is toward high frequency electronics which provide lower electrical losses and higher operation voltages. The future of the PCB will more than likely involve six or more layers of thin laminates. Discrete actives and passives will be embedded internal to the assembly providing higher quality power distribution. Fiber optic transmission lines and backplanes will be present for specific applications. We will also likely see three dimensional components offering greater power consumption and paper-based multi-layer printed circuit boards (P-PCBs), a more environmentally friendly option.

Avoiding Counterfeit Components in Electronic Manufacturing

According to a 2010 study conducted by the United States Bureau of Industry and security, respondents representing all facets of the electronic component supply chain, reported a 250% increase in counterfeit incidents between 2005 and 2008. It is estimated that this represent an excess of $200 billion globally for semiconductors alone; and this is believed to be only a small portion of the total market.

Counterfeit Components are a major issue in the electronic manufacturing industry. Many factors have contributed to this issue, especially global outsourcing and off-shore manufacturing. The shift of manufacturing from North American and Europe to low-cost areas of the world has transferred technology knowledge and intellectual property.

Counterfeit parts are usually synonymous with inferior quality, and therefore represent a decrease in performance of the electronic equipment, and often a hazard to the public. One way an electronic contract manufacturer can avoid getting counterfeits parts into the supply chain is to only procure from the original component manufacturer or their franchised distributor. Another solution would be for the manufacturer to assign one person on the team to solely manage and set up procedures to minimize counterfeit parts. This employees’ job would be to implement ongoing component inspection procedures. They would also perform a thorough audit of all suppliers’ and require them to adopt protection measures against counterfeit parts. If a shipment of counterfeit parts are received from a supplier, an investigation into the matter would be conducted quickly and all future purchases with the supplier stopped.

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