Printed Circuit Assembly

Today, there is no escape from the printed circuit assembly. It is almost everywhere and in almost every electronic object. The alarm clock that chimes every morning functions off of a printed circuit assembly, as does the coffee maker that is programmed to make coffee at a specified time. The car that is driven to work contains these assemblies, the machine used to clock-in contains these assemblies, and at lunchtime the machine that the fast-food girl uses to punch in an order functions because of these assemblies. However wide-spread the printed circuit assembly is, no one knows what they are, what they’re made of, or how they came to be the underlying force that keeps our world moving. Their earliest origins can be traced back to the late 1830s, when a gentleman named Paul Eisler created the firstprinted circuit assembly as a part of his first radio set. The prototypes were nothing more than boards with electronic components placed into holed drilled into the wood, then connected together with metal strips, wire or rods.

Their primary function was to pick up and transmit radio signals, and when World War II began to ravage Europe and the United States was forced into the conflict, the US Army took the technology that was the printed circuit assembly and began making rugged radios that were used in the field. When the war ended, the US Army released this technology into public domain and manufacturing industries began to mass produce this technology for use by the public. It was also around this time that the world’s first computers and televisions were being developed into more efficient models and use of the printed circuit assembly became more widespread. It was during this time that the printed circuit assembly was made by mounting electrical components into holes drilled into the printed circuit board (PCB.) As the years passed and the manufacturing techniques used to create printed circuit assemblies were being refined, the traditional way of mounting components into holes was replaced with mounting them onto the surface of the board, which proved to be a more efficient approach in their manufacturing. They were able to make the printed circuit assembly smaller and faster, more efficient and more reliable.

This began the era of shrinking electronic devices into smaller and more powerful versions of themselves and thus turning them into the core of the electronic devices we see today. It is true, there is no escaping the printed circuit assembly. They are becoming smaller and more efficient as the manufacturing process begins to invent new ways to build the printed circuit assemblies. It began with the first radio and has ended up as a vital part of the functioning world. Remember as the day goes on how close these assemblies are at all times, in nearly every electronic device, making sure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. It will be exciting to see how much further the printed circuit assembly develops, for it has already come a long way since the days of Mr. Eisler.