The future of the automotive industry looks bright with the ongoing development of self-driven cars, Electric vehicles, and Aerospace.
The growth of the PCB industry in the automotive sector will be rising fast with the focus on the autonomous and electric vehicles. The printed circuit boards are the ones that hold together all sensors and the components required for the automotive vehicle.
The PCB manufacturers are required to be qualified with ISO 9001 automotive standards.
Automobile equipment that use PCB:
Surrounding Monitors: Newer car models are often designed with safety systems to help the driver monitor blind spots and more accurately judge distances. Many cars now come with full-perimeter monitor systems, using radar or cameras to measure distances and alert the driver to close-proximity objects. These systems require high-quality HDI PCBs in order to function correctly.
Control Systems: Car control systems, including engine management systems, fuel regulators and power supplies. Some control systems even drive the car for the driver in certain situations. For example, some cars on the market today offer automatic parallel-parking functions.
Navigation Devices: Incorporated navigation devices are now common in modern vehicles, using GPS computers to help drivers find their way through unfamiliar route to their destination.
Audio and Video Devices: cars have advanced dashboards that connect the vehicle to the radio or a passenger’s phone or music device. Additionally, many family vehicles make use of passenger movie screens to occupy passengers during longer rides. All these devices are controlled using FLEX PCB-based electronics.
High vibration in vehicle may put a large amount of strain on a standard rigid PCB. Instead of a rigid PCB, therefore, many vehicle electronics manufacturers use flexible PCB, to being small and lightweight.
Some of the automotive applications where PCBs are used
1. Airbag controls
2. Anti-lock brake systems
3. Anti-theft systems
4. Audio-video systems
5. Climate control
6. Digital displays
7. Engine-timing systems
8. Ignition systems
9. Power steering
10. Signals and lamp controls
11. Transmission sensors
12. Windshield wipers
Types of PCB found in Automotive/Automobile equipment
To reduce the requirements of space, weight and cost, automotive industry uses different types of PCBs that differ from each other both in the structure and in the type of PCB material. The main types of PCBs for automotive applications are
Rigid PCBs– are the traditional PCBs, not flexible and normally manufactured using FR4. Applications includes display monitors and reverse cam screens in vehicles
Flexible PCBs – printed circuit boards are built with flexible plastic substrates and use of materials such as polyamide, polyetheretherketone (peek) or transparent polyester films.
The advantage of these boards is that they can be twisted and bent. Applications used where the space is limited in vehicle dashboard, used in the connection of displays, control panels and light switches.
Flexible and rigid flex PCB’s– they are a combination of the two types of PCBs and offer the advantages of both PCB. Rigid-flex PCBs are used in lighting systems of vehicle.
LED PCBs: the increasingly massive use of high power and high brightness LEDs requires PCBs with excellent heat dissipation, typically made with a metal substrate such as aluminum. PCBs of this type are used in car indicators, headlights, and brake lights.
HDI PCBs: High Density Interconnect, indicates printed circuit boards with high density of electrical connections per unit of area. These PCBs have finer spaces and lines, minor vias and capture pads and higher connection pad density. Widely used in infotainment systems, HDI PCBs help improve the quality of wiring, reducing the weight and size of the vehicle equipments.