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The Development of Printed Circuit Board

What is a Printed Circuit Board

Printed Circuit Board is a type of electronic component, which is the carrier of a circuit, and essential to every electronic product. The functional components get connected to each other by the copper traces, while get mechanical support from a printed circuit board.

The base materials of printed circuit boards are diverse, including thermoset resins (such as FR-1, FR-2, FR-4…), metal (such as Aluminum, Copper…), paper (such as CEM-1, CEM-3), polymeric plastics (such as PI, PTFE), ceramics, and so on.

The typically printed circuit boards can be 1-sided, 2-sided, or multilayered. Multilayer printed circuit board is simply understood as superimposing more copper layers outwards on the basis of a 2-sided board.

The typical stackup of 2-sided PCB and multilayer PCB are as follows.

2-layer Printed Circuit Board
2-layer Printed Circuit Board
4-layer Printed Circuit Board
4-layer Printed Circuit Board

From circuit design to material selection to PCB assembly, every step of printed circuit board manufacturing is highly customizable, which is why it is widely used in electronic products.


History of Printed Circuit Board Development

  • In 1936, the founder of printed circuit boards, Austrian Paul Eisler, first used printed circuit boards in radio installations.
  • In 1943, Americans used printed circuit board technology in military radios.
  • In 1947, the US Aviation Administration and the US Bureau of Standards launched the first technical seminar on PCBs.
  • In 1948, the United States officially recognized the invention and used it for commercial purposes.
  • In the early 1950s, due to the problem of the bond strength and solder resistance of CCL’s copper foil and laminate, the performance was stable and reliable, and industrialized production was realized. Copper foil etching became the mainstream of printed circuit board manufacturing technology, and production orders began.
  • In the 1960s, the realization of large-scale production of hole metalized double-sided circuit boards.
  • In the 1970s, multilayer boards developed rapidly and continued to develop in the direction of high precision, high density, fine line small holes, high reliability, low cost, and automated continuous production.
  • In the 1980s, surface mount (SMT) printed boards gradually replaced plug-in PCBs and became the mainstream of production.
  • Surface mounts have evolved from flat package (QFP) to ball-on array package (BGA) since the 1990s.
  • Since the beginning of the 21st century, high-density BGA, chip-scale packaging, and organic laminate materials have been rapidly developed for multi-chip module package printed boards.


Printed Circuit Board Industry Development in China

PCB Industry Distribution in China
PCB Industry Distribution in China
  • In 1956, China began PCB board development work.
  • In the 1960s, mass production of single-sided printed circuit boards, small-volume production of the double-sided boards and the beginning of the development of multilayer boards.
  • In the 1970s, due to the limitations of historical conditions at that time, the development of printed circuit board technology was slow, making the entire production technology lag behind the advanced level of foreign countries.
  • In the 1980s, advanced level single-sided, double-sided, multi-layer printed circuit board production lines were introduced from abroad, which improved the production technology level in China.
  • In the 1990s, foreign printed board manufacturers in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as Japan, came to China to establish joint ventures and wholly-owned factories, which made China’s printed circuit board production and technology advance by leaps and bounds.
  • In 2002, it became the third-largest PCB manufacturing base.
  • In 2003, printed circuit board output value, and import and export volume exceeded US$6 billion, surpassing the United States for the first time, becoming the world’s second-largest PCB manufacturing base. The proportion of output value also increased from 8.54% in 2000 to 15.30%, nearly doubled.
  • In 2006, China has replaced Japan as the world’s largest PCB manufacturing base and the most active technology development country.
  • In recent years, China’s PCB industry has maintained a high growth rate of around 20%, far higher than the growth rate of the global PCB industry

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