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The Printed Circuit Board: A Track Record of Its Rapid Evolution

The PCB (or printed circuit board) has been around for quite a few decades. Over the years the printed circuit has evolved a great deal and has become a smaller and more complex. To this day, printed circuits are still evolving and PCB design services are even more important today than they were yesterday. Here is a look at this type of electronics and how it has grown over time.

PCB History

The first patent for a printed circuit board was issued in the early part of the 20th Century. In fact, it was Charles Ducas who, in the US, applied for a “printed wire” patent in the year 1925. This invention created a way for electricity to travel in a circuit through an insulated surface. At this time the only printed wire circuits available were created from brass (not copper) wires.

The printed wire circuit was an innovative invention. It allowed one to create electrical circuits without a lot of complex and bulky wires, and these circuits were “pre-wired”. This not only eliminated mistakes but also lowered labor costs. Insulation material for early printed circuit boards was sometimes made from wood, and Bakelite was also used. Some of the early PCBs were created by drilling holes in pieces of wood and riveting flat wires to the holes. This technology was used to produce gramophones and radios. Needless to say, PCB design services in those days were not very complex.

The Second World War brought about rapid change in technology and by 1943, printed circuit boards as we know them, were in use. They advanced quickly. In fact, less than five years later, double sided printed circuit boards were introduced.

In the mid 1950s, a major innovation occurred. The United States Army developed a printed circuit which could be made from a printing plate with an offset printing process. Circuit patterns could be photographed onto a plate made from zinc. The circuit was printed onto copper foil, and then etched with an acidic solution.

In the 1970s, circuit boards were shrinking in size and within a few years dry film mask methods were used by PCB design services. This evolved into liquid-type masks. By 1995, PCB production topped $7 billion.

Looking Ahead

The future of printed circuit boards looks bright and as NEO Tech PCB design services continue to enable miniaturization, printed circuits are becoming much thinner and more flexible. The future may bring innovations like integrated circuit chips with many different types of embedded components. As long as there is a need for electronics, NEO Tech will be there to make sure they are in service and working more efficiently.

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