Without a doubt, the PCB market is rife with a rising demand for advanced technology and smart devices. This upsurge has caused a significant portion of the investment to go into research and development of new technologies in this field.
Some of the new technologies we saw in 2017 include:
- High-Density Interconnect and Miniaturization
- Advanced Materials and Greener Manufacturing
- Wearables and Ubiquitous Computing
Going ahead, we still have about 6 months to go in 2018, yet we have seen several exciting trends in the PCB market. Here are some.
- Flexible and Stretchy PCB Boards
- 3D Printed Components
- Microcontroller-Powered Machine Learning Systems
- VR and AR Simulations in Electronic Assembly
- High Current and High Voltage PCB Boards
Thankfully, the effort and resources devoted to this cause are yielding results and the global PCB market is projected to reach $70 billion by the year 2024. We shall explore an in-depth analysis of some of the major technologies which recently emerged in the PCB market.
Flexible and Stretchy PCB Boards
Unconventional substrates offer a lot of promise especially for wearable electronics and this makes the concept a radically exciting one. The market for flexible and stretchy boards is also very wide. Allied Market Research estimates the value to reach $27 billion by 2022.
For now, we have three types of flexible PCB designs which are commonly used. They are:
This helps manufacturers reduce the cost of production, the overall weight, and assembly errors. It also offers vibration resistance.
This mixed substrate combination gives designers the ability to come up with creative PCB solutions, especially for applications which involve wrapping a circuit around the object.
This allows the designer to pack more circuitry into a constrained area by segmenting the electronic components.
3D Printed Components
3D printing has evolved from an arcane concept to a versatile technology which has tremendous applications. To prove the viability, researchers at MIT have successfully employed 3D printers to produce sensor components, substrates, and even the circuitry. This is sure to cause a paradigm shift in the PCB fabrication industry.
Microcontroller-Powered Machine Learning Systems
Computers and machines are playing extremely important roles in our lives and this development finds application in the PCB industry. Self-driving vehicles appear to be the most promising and Technavio, a market research consultant, predicts that the automotive sector will cause the worldwide PCB market to see a 6% annual growth rate in the next 3 years.
VR and AR Simulations in Electronic Assembly
VR and AR are poised to instantly influence the training and guidance provided in the area of assembling new products, quality testing, and repair. Also, with the help of Augmented Reality, the otherwise stressful process of part picking in the warehouse is now easier. In addition to this, the accuracy is greatly improved.
High Current and High Voltage PCB Boards
There’s an increased demand for sustainability and reduced carbon emissions and this has caused technologies such as Electric vehicles, solar PV, and inverters to become pervasive. This means that the fabricators of PCB components are working with higher voltage and current levels.
To this end, PCB boards are expected to conform to a higher voltage standard of 48 volts rather than the erstwhile 12 volts.
The future of Printed Circuit Boards promises to be exciting as well as revolutionary. We can expect to see a radical shift from orthodox means of fabrication and assembly to newer technologies which will engender productivity, increased accuracy, and cost-effectiveness.