The electronics industry is constantly evolving. The demand for high power and compact-sized electronics is increasing, and this has given rise to new printed circuit board trends. The printed circuit boards have evolved in terms of their sizes and capabilities. Having said this, it is quite obvious to think what the new PCB industry trends are? How will they evolve in the future? Read this post to know the answers to the same.

10 Trends in PCB Assembly Services

Smart electronic devices have transformed our lives for the better. These devices feature uniquely designed PCBs to meet the power and performance requirements. Due to this reason, the PCB industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world, with a projected worth of $76 Billion by 2025. The printed circuit board manufacturing and design trends are constantly evolving to meet the demands of smart devices. The following are ten popular ones in PCBA.  

  1. Flex Circuit Boards: Flexible printed circuit boards are gaining popularity in the PCB market. The circuit boards offer several advantages such as small sizes, increased capability, high reliability, and material options.
  2. High Density Interconnects: As the name suggests, the high density interconnects feature several components organized in a small area. These denser circuits promote high-speed signal transmission. PCB designers face challenges during trace routing in the HDI circuit boards because a large number of traces are routed in a compact area. This would introduce technical issues such as electromagnetic interference, noise, and so on.
  3. Flex Copper Clad Laminates: Flex copper clad laminates (FCCL) are widely used in high density flex printed circuit boards. Until a few years ago, this laminate was used in aerospace and military applications. However, today, it is used in smart electronic products such as camcorders, digital camera, wearable, office automation devices, healthcare and medical devices, and so on. The laminates can withstand high transition temperatures, resist chemicals and perform well in high-speed environments. As electronic manufacturers are now using flexible printed circuit boards more, the material engineers are constantly trying to improve the performance of FCCL.
    1. Halogen and Phosphor-free FCCL
    2. High Tg FCCL
    3. High Speed FCCL
    4. Ultra-thin FCCL
  4. Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP): This is a flexible printed circuit board substrate, which is covered by a copper foil. The substrate is highly suitable for digital circuit applications.
  5. Internet of Things (IoT): This technology has gained traction recently. With the demand for smart offices and homes growing, IoT devices are everywhere. The IoT technology is highly regulated and has stringent quality demands. Meeting these demands is one of the key challenges faced by PCB designers working in this industry.
  6. Bio Degradable PCBs: Do you know electronic waste is one of the most common causes of pollution in the world! The electronic waste generated by discarding batteries and other electronic components is known to cause water and air pollution. To avoid this, nowadays, electronic OEMs are moving towards green manufacturing practices. They are embracing bio-degradable PCBs. There is ongoing research about the materials and manufacturing practices that would help reduce carbon footprint.
  7. Board Cameras: Nowadays, many industrial and commercial electronics such as mobile phones, surveillance systems, and various clinical equipment are equipped with small cameras. These cameras are mounted directly on the PCB to click images and videos. There is ongoing research on improving the accuracy of these cameras.
  8. Tight Supply Chain Controls: The printed circuit boards are one of the most produced electronic components worldwide. Although they appear like a chip, these printed circuit boards feature small components that remain invisible to the naked eye. Counterfeit or inferior quality components are one of the main challenges faced by manufacturers in this domain. These components look and act similar to quality ones and cannot be distinguished easily. This has resulted in PCB failures in many cases. Counterfeit components and PCB failure can be a big problem in mission-critical applications. To avoid this, nowadays, PCB manufacturers are imposing strict supply chain controls. They are partnering with trusted and certified suppliers to minimize losses due to counterfeiting.
  9. Recycling of PCBs: The printed circuit board manufacturing is a complex process and involves several chemicals and materials. These materials and chemicals are discharged into the environment in the form of solid waste, wastewater, and spent chemical solution. Nowadays, the electronic manufacturers are recycling these PCBs successfully on a commercial scale. This recycling helps them to recover: copper metal from the PCB trims, copper oxide from wastewater treatment sludge, copper hydroxide from copper sulfate solution in the PTH, and copper from spent lead/tin stripping solution. This trend will be in upswing in the next few years.
  10. Commercial Off-the-Shelf Solutions: These components are gaining popularity in mission-critical applications. The COTS, include PCB boards, components, and modules that are easily available for integration in electronic systems. The PCBs designed for mission-critical applications in the aerospace and military and defense industry use customized components. This industry is highly regulated and recommends only customized components. With the popularization of COTS, the industry experts are hopeful that these regulations may slowly diminish, thereby accelerating the production times.

If you are an electronic OEM trying to capitalize on these trends, ensure you partner with a trusted PCB manufacturer and assembly service. Suntronic is one of the leading electronics contract manufacturers with facilities in Dallas and Houston. Our company has delivered manufacturing services to clients in the oil and gas, communications, industrial controls, infrastructure, and OEMs. The company specializes in PCB assembly services and offers quick 48-hour prototyping, pilot run, and pre-production to full production of printed circuit board assemblies, box builds, and cable and wire harness assemblies, etc.