One of the most significant inventions known to mankind is the electronic circuit board, also known as a printed circuit board (PCB). While this delicate, intricate component is found in the most advanced technologies today, electronic circuit board assembly has actually existed for more than a century. In fact, there is a significant historical story behind the development of electronic circuit board assembly, from its earliest days to its many contributions to human innovation and growth.
1. The Idea of a PCB Auto-Assembly Process Came from the US Army
Technology played a massive factor in the success of the US Army. The US Army Signal Corps are credited for making electronic circuit board assembly much faster through their invention of the auto-assembly process for this component. Thanks to the US Army, the production of PCBs has been streamlined, today allowing for the efficient manufacture of various consumer products.
2. PCBs Played a Role in the Moon Landing
NASA’s space program would not have been a success without printed circuit boards. In fact, they are integral to many of the organization’s operations, enabling Apollo 11 to reach the moon. The lightweight and low electricity requirements of the PCB allows for the efficient and proper functionality of the spacecraft.
3. The Material Used in the First PCBs was Brass
Today, we know that copper is a very good electricity conductor. However, this material was not yet available widely when electronic circuit board assembly first became popular. In the 1920s, invetor Charles Ducas patented the idea of having an electronic path printed directly onto an insulated surface using brass wire. This is known to be the earliest method of electroplating that has since been improved on, evolving into what modern PCBs that many industries and manufacturers use today.