Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are integral to so many devices that people use on a daily basis in a variety of industries. From computers and smart phones to musical instruments and amplifiers, most homes and businesses have several devices that contain PCBs. Since this industry is constantly focused on research and development, circuit board assembly has become even more sophisticated. Furthermore, transistors will continue to become smaller and smaller. Theoretically, it’s been predicted that they will eventually become the size of a single nanometer.
PCBs were first introduced in 1945. Since then, this industry has continued to grow exponentially. In 1995, for example, PCBs became a $7.1 billion industry. Just five years later in 2000, the industry exceed $10 billion in revenue. Since 2012, the global industry has been valued at more than $80 billion. In the United States, however, the 2014 revenue from circuit board and electronic component manufacturing, which includes circuit board assembly, was approximately $44 billion.
Since circuit board designers now use computer-aided design systems, they are able to lay out circuit patterns on the board with greater ease. This special software has definitely streamlined designers’ ability to create electrical conducting paths with greater precision as well.
In addition to being able to more efficiently design circuit boards with the use of computer-aided systems, technological advancements have also improved circuit board assembly. Given the introduction of machine assembly, PCBs can be created in considerably less time than hand placement. Furthermore, these high-speed machines can apply solder paste, then place and solder more components than 50 people could do by hand. Furthermore, the quality is higher and more consistent, which is an added benefit.
Computer-aided systems and machine assembly makes designing and manufacturing PCBs more efficient. Given this, it makes sense to use the same shop for all circuit board assembly and fabrication needs. This includes low volume PCB assembly as well as PCB prototype assembly. Furthermore, any sized orders can usually be handled in five days or less, which is 75% less time than the industry’s average.