As new discoveries and breakthroughs are encountered every day, it is inevitable for technology to catch up. The global industry is constantly updated, brimming with new forms of machinery, hardware, and assets that all have something in common—to highlight convenience in life and to churn out marketable products, supplies, and equipment. Perhaps one of the biggest things that benefit technology in its campaign to improve the world is the printed circuit board.

To put it simply, the printed circuit board, often abbreviated as PCB, is a board used to connect electronic components using conductive features that are superimposed on the surface of a non-conductive substrate pad. This enables both mechanical and electrical support for electronic components, allowing better distribution and management of power and signals between devices. PCBs primarily replaced the traditional method of wiring—a laborious procedure of direct wiring which often led to failures in short circuits when insulations, due to age, deteriorated.

As written above, before the printed circuit board was a thing in electronics, people wired and assembled machinery and appliances by building a system that is done by point-to-point construction, often abbreviated as PTP. PTP systems were composed of thermionic valves, or vacuum tubes, that were directed to their respective sockets in a linear fashion, terminating complexity. Since the state and efficiency of circuits depend on the assembler, PTP systems were heavily prone to errors, though malfunctions can be lessened by observing assembly procedures. PTP constructions were also bulky since they required large sockets, and they also required regular maintenance to ensure that the components were functioning well and that the insulations were in good shape.

Printed Circuit BoardThe first series of PCBs, which came out around the early 1900s, were composed of the simplest of materials, ranging from Bakelite, a brittle type of plastic, to mere carved pieces of wood. The materials had holes drilled on them and brass wires were concentrated on them. This brand new concept, albeit considered unpleasant by observers, revolutionized a brand new, more efficient method of signal distribution, and was commonly utilized by radios and gramophones.

As years passed, the concept of PCBs developed and expanded. Around the 1940s, the notion of generating double-sided PCBs were introduced. Around ten years later, the materials used in the production of PCBs were replaced and dramatically improved. Multilayered PCBs were invented a few years later as well. The expansion of the development of the printed circuit board had an even greater jump as the IPC, or the Institute of Printed Circuits, discussed their endeavors on the development of the concept in Chicago in 1957.

As the materials of PCBs changed and as additions to the technology’s fundamentals arose, their size decreased over time. Inversely varied to that, though, is how its complexity increased incrementally, allowing for more options and opportunities for other devices and appliances. The advantageous development of PCBs aroused the interest of corporations, and thus interest around the concept spiked. Around the 1970s, corporations focusing on electronic assets utilized multilayered circuit boards in their new products and equipment. Some corporations developed PCBs of their own. Alongside with this was the bountiful fruition in the PCB industry, reaching a whopping $7 billion in 1995. The development of circuit boards had not stopped, and as micro-technology slowly proceeds on its mark, it is most likely that the PCB will be getting new improvements in the future.

You may thank the appliances around you for making your life more convenient, and you may thank your personal devices for providing you with substantial information that greatly benefit you in your daily life. Inside all of those are PCBs that are functioning, sending signals, and distributing electricity. Truly, the printed circuit board is a giant contribution to industry.