PCB designers are currently leading innovation and creativity in several industries today. They dictate the pace of the market and they are responsible for making decisions that affect the world at large. in a few years, almost all the devices available will be interconnected via the internet of things and this will also affect how the products are being manufactured. Hence, it is important that we identify how IoT will help PCB designers.
Firstly, we start with the requirements of IoT devices.
IoT Design Requirements for PCB
Improved Battery Life
IoT devices, by virtue of the constant exchange of communication and data, are programmed to always go on and this means that the battery life ought to be extended even further. This helps PCB designers to know what to look out for when it comes to optimizing power consumption.
The Standards in Place
As it stands, the reliance on mobile phones and other gadgets equipped with IoT capabilities is on the rise. The market for smartphones and home automation is tipped to become a trillion-dollar industry within a short while. This means that the standards will be revised subsequently, and the PCB industry will benefit from changes in the demand.
The Security of Devices
The major drawback of IoT devices is that their constant connection opens the user up to harm and vulnerabilities. PCB designers will be tasked with the job of designing hardware systems that support the system and provides a more secure ecosystem for the product.
What are Some PCB Applications Driven by IoT?
PCB is at the heart of electronic devices, offering an unending array of possibilities. The products include smart home devices and even smart vehicles. However, the fusion of IoT and PCB is still increasing and the demand is steadily rising.
Now, we have sensors and cameras in vehicles and homes, providing increased efficiency and security. There are even fitness trackers that collect data and then analyze it remotely. Even shopping centers and parks can now provide personalized sale opportunities to customers.
Now that we have seen the key applications IoT and PCB support, we can move on to the advantages IoT provides to a PCB designer. In no particular order, they are explained below.
Newer and Improved Packaging Technologies
A lot of PCB designers are accustomed to the good old method of through-hole and surface mount components, but IoT is about to bring that to an end. The technology offers new and improved packing technologies as IoT devices are now expected to be miniaturized greatly. Hence, some advanced concepts would be encountered in the course of packaging. Some of them are discussed below.
Multi-Chip Modules (MCM)
This helps us to keep the form factors compact and thin as it allows the connection of several integrated circuits on one die.
Integrating advanced systems like RF, digital logic, and even analog systems used to be very cumbersome to accomplish. SiP ensures that it is done without stress.
Three-Dimensional ICs 3D-IC
This is what allows us to stack several silicon-dies on top of each other; allowing these different components to act as a single device. The outcome is improved energy efficiency and a smaller footprint.
IoT Will Improve the Relationship Between PCB Designers and Mechanical Engineers
Assembly lines are good and they have been very helpful in the past, but the advent of IoT in manufacturing might just mean that the mechanical team will be tasked with designing the product simultaneously.
The implication of this is that any alteration to the circuit board and the mechanical assembly will be duly shared among the disciplines involved. Design tools that allow the different professionals synergize will also become prevalent in the industry.
Wireless Modules and Protocols will Become the Norm
Wireless connectivity is the core of most devices available now and without this, most gadgets cannot exchange data or leverage the cloud. There are several wireless modules and RF circuits that make this a possibility but integrating them into the PCB might be a challenge at first.
Thankfully, there are now modules and components that are designed for IoT and wearables, ensuring that the footprint is as small as possible while it still serves its purpose perfectly. There are several protocols that are available to get the work done and this will be advantageous to the PCB designer in a short while.
In essence, it is evident that the world of manufacturing is going to experience a drastic change as regards how things are being done. These changes culminate in devices that are more efficient, more secure, and more affordable. If you need help leveraging what IoT and PCBs have to offer, you can speak with us more to offer help in this area.