Printed Circuit Board Design

Printed circuit board design plays a crucial role in what a board can power or control and how well it works. For some applications, a simple single-layer card handles the job, but often, complex layout and components require heavy design work.

Creating an Electronic Core

For most electronic devices, several printed circuit boards in a variety of shapes and sizes make up the heart and brains of the machine. For instance, a single computer uses multiple printed circuit boards, including:

  • Motherboard - the main circuit board
  • Controller - handles peripheral devices
  • Network Interface Card - connect computer to local area network and the Internet
  • Video Adapter - controls the graphics as seen through a monitor
  • Sound Card - maximizes sound capabilities

In addition, expansion slots allow further cards (or circuit boards) to be added to the computer. Common expansion cards allow for Bluetooth or wireless connections.

Printed Circuit Board Design Must Meet IPC Regulations

No matter how simple or complex a design may be, it must meet the minimum standards set by the IPC and UL. Both organizations regulate electronic components and production. Material must be flame resistant and be able to withstand heat up to normal operating temperatures. The set standards not only prevent consumer injury, but also prevent damage to surrounding electrical pieces.

Layout and design of printed circuit boards is handled by robust software that produces design files. PCB manufacturers, like Almatron, use the design files to fabricate complex circuit boards.