What are PCBs used for

What are PCBs used for

PCBs, are essential components of many electrical devices and systems. PCBs are used in a wide range of applications, from consumer electronics to aerospace and medical industry. In this article, let’s have a close look at what PCBs are used for?

Table of Contents

Medical Instruments

As technology advances, the healthcare industry is using more and more PCBs. PCBs play a role in devices used for diagnosis, monitoring, therapy, and more.

Medical Instruments
Medical Instruments

Special care must be taken when producing medical PCBs to ensure their reliability, as proper function is critical to the health of the patient. In many cases, PCBs must also meet strict hygiene standards, especially those used for implants. PCBs for implants and many other applications, such as emergency room monitors, must also be relatively small. Therefore, many medical PCBs are HDI PCBs.

PCBs are used in medical devices such as:

Medical Imaging Systems: CT, CAT, and ultrasound scanners often use PCBs, as do the computers that compile and analyze these images.

Monitors: Heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose monitors, and more devices that rely on electronic components to get accurate readings.

Infusion Pumps: Infusion pumps, such as insulin and patient-controlled analgesic pumps, can deliver precise volumes of fluids to patients. PCBs help ensure these products operate reliably and accurately.

Internal Devices: Pacemakers and other devices used internally require a small PCB to function.

The medical field continues to develop more uses for electronics. As technology advances and smaller, denser, more reliable PCBs become possible, PCBs will play an increasingly important role in healthcare.


Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are an increasingly popular lighting technology, used for residential and commercial lighting, and throughout industries as diverse as automotive, medical, and computer technology. LEDs are favored for their high energy efficiency, long life and compactness.


One of the functions of PCB in LED applications is to dissipate heat away from the bulb. High temperatures will reduce the average lifetime of LEDs. Therefore, LED PCBs are usually made of aluminum, which transfers heat better than other metals. This eliminates the need for an extra heat sink in the design, which means it can be made more compact.

Residential Lighting: LED lighting, including smart bulbs, helps homeowners light their homes more efficiently.

Storefront Lighting: Businesses can use LEDs for signage and for store lighting.

Automotive Displays: Dashboard indicators, headlights, brake lights, etc. may use LED PCBs.

Computer Monitors: LED PCBs power many lights and displays on laptop and desktop computers.

Medical Lighting: LEDs provide intense light and emit little heat, making them ideal for medical applications, especially those related to surgery and emergency medicine.

LEDs are becoming more prevalent in a variety of applications, which means that PCBs are likely to continue to play a larger role in lighting.

Consumer Electronics

Smartphones, computers, and many other consumer products that people use every day require PCBs to function. As we add electronics to more products, PCBs have become an essential part of our everyday lives.

Consumer Electronics
Consumer Electronics

Manufacturers are producing increasingly smaller smartphones and laptops with many advanced features that require small PCBs with a large number of connections. PCBs used in consumer electronics also need to be relatively low cost to keep the price of the final product low.

A large number of consumer products use PCBs, including:

Communication Equipment: Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, radios, etc.

Computers: Computers for personal and business.

Entertainment Systems: Entertainment-related products such as televisions, stereos, and video game consoles.

Appliances: refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers.

The use of PCBs in consumer products will continue to rise. The percentage of Americans who own a smartphone is 77% and growing. Many previously non-electronic devices are now also gaining advanced electronic capabilities and becoming part of the Internet of Things.

Industrial Equipment

The uses of printed circuit boards in the industrial sector vary widely. Electronic components power many devices in manufacturing and distribution centers, as well as other types of industrial facilities.

Industrial Equipment
Industrial Equipment

PCBs used in the industrial sector often need to be extremely high powered and durable enough to withstand the harsh conditions found in industrial facilities. PCBs may need to be able to resist rough handling, vibrating machinery, extreme temperatures or harsh chemicals.

To meet this need for durability, industrial PCBs can be made of durable metals or heat-resistant materials and be thicker than other kinds of PCBs. Industrial PCB assembly services may include through-hole technology for increased durability.

Industrial applications for PCBs include:

Fabrication Equipment: PCB-based electronically powered drills and presses for fabrication.

Power Supply Equipment: Components that power many types of industrial equipment use PCBs. The power equipment includes DC to AC power inverters, solar heat and power cogeneration equipment, etc.

Measuring Equipment: PCBs often power equipment that measures and controls pressure, temperature, and other factors.

As robotics, industrial IoT technologies, and other types of advanced technologies become more prevalent, new uses for PCBs are emerging in the industrial arena.


Automakers use an increasing number of electronic components in their vehicles. Previously, PCBs were only used for things like windshield wipers and headlight switches, but today they have many advanced features that make driving safer and easier.


Depending on where the PCB is used in the car, it needs to be able to withstand extreme temperatures or vibrations. It is also important that if it comes to the car’s safety features, they must be able to operate reliably. Because of these challenges, manufacturers may use high-temperature laminates, aluminum or copper substrates, or through-hole-mounted components. They also use rigid-flex PCBs due to their ability to withstand vibration.

You can find PCBs in auto parts such as:

Entertainment and Navigation Systems: Stereo systems and systems that integrate navigation and entertainment rely on PCBs.

Control Systems: Many of the systems that control the basic functions of a car rely on PCB-powered electronics. These include engine management systems and fuel regulators.

Sensors: As vehicles evolve, manufacturers are integrating more and more sensors. These sensors monitor blind spots and warn drivers of nearby objects. The PCB is also required for systems that enable cars to parallel park automatically.

These sensors are part of what enables cars to drive themselves. Fully autonomous vehicles are expected to become commonplace in the future, which is why a large number of printed circuit boards are used.

Aerospace Parts

Electronics used in aerospace applications have requirements similar to those in the automotive sector, but aerospace PCBs may be exposed to harsher conditions. PCBs are used in a variety of aerospace equipment, including aircraft, space shuttles, satellites, and radio communication systems.

Aerospace Parts
Aerospace Parts

Aerospace PCB manufacturing requires the use of materials that can withstand high levels of vibration, extreme temperatures, and other harsh conditions. Certain aerospace PCBs even need to be able to function in outer space and must be extremely durable. PCBs made of lightweight materials like aluminum are also used in aerospace.

Some of the uses of PCBs in the aerospace industry include:

Power Supplies: PCBs are critical components in equipment that powers various aircraft, control towers, satellites, and other systems.

Surveillance Devices: Pilots use a variety of surveillance devices, including accelerometers and pressure sensors, to monitor the aircraft’s functions. These monitors usually use a PCB.

Communication Equipment: Communication with the ground control station is an important part of ensuring a safe flight. These critical systems rely on PCBs.

Marine Application

All kinds of ships and systems rely on PCBs to function. This includes small boats, large cargo ships, submarines, communication systems and navigation aids.

Marine Application
Marine Application

PCBs used in marine applications must also be able to withstand harsh conditions. 

Manufacturers of marine PCBs emphasize reliability, as proper functioning of electronics is critical to the safety of crew and passengers.

Navigation Systems: The navigation systems of many sea vessels rely on PCBs. You can find PCBs in GPS and radar systems, among other devices.

Communications Systems: PCBs are required for the radio systems used by the crew to communicate with the port and other ships.

Control Systems: Many control systems of marine vessels, including engine management systems, power distribution systems, and autopilot systems, use PCBs. These autopilot systems can help stabilize the boat, steer, minimize heading errors and manage rudder activity.

Security Equipment

Whether it’s a home, business, or government building, many aspects of a security system rely on PCBs.

Security Equipment
Security Equipment

The ideal type of PCB depends on its specific application, but all PCBs used in security applications must be reliable, as these products must always perform as intended to be effective. Some safety equipment may be used outdoors and PCBs that can withstand outdoor environments should be used.

Some safety protection devices that use PCBs include:

Surveillance Cameras: Surveillance cameras, whether used indoors or outdoors and equipment used to monitor surveillance footage rely on PCBs.

Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors, as well as other similar devices such as carbon monoxide detectors, require a reliable PCB to function.

Electronic Door Lock: Modern electronic door locks also contain the PCB.

Motion Sensors And Burglar Alarms: Security sensors for detecting motion also rely on PCBs.

PCBs play a vital role in many different types of security equipment, especially as more and more of these products gain the ability to connect to the Internet.

Telecommunications Equipment

PCBs are a critical part of the telecom industry. They are essential for consumer devices such as smartphones, but they are also essential for the infrastructure that makes those devices work.

The telecommunications industry uses a wide variety of PCBs due to the many different types of devices used in the industry. While some equipment is placed in a stable indoor environment, some infrastructure must withstand outdoor environments including storms and extreme temperatures.

Telecommunications Equipment
Telecommunications Equipment

PCBs are required for the following telecom equipment:

Telecommunications Towers: Cellular towers receive and transmit signals from cell phones and require PCBs that can withstand outdoor environments.

Office Communications Equipment: PCBs are required for many of the communications equipment in an office, including telephone switching systems, modems, routers, and Voice over Internet (VoIP) equipment.

LED Displays and Indicators: Telecommunication equipment often includes LED displays and indicators using PCBs.

The telecommunications industry is constantly evolving, and so are the PCBs used in the industry. As we generate and transmit more data, powerful PCBs will become increasingly important for communication.

Military and Defense Applications

The military uses PCBs in a variety of applications, including communications equipment, computers, vehicles, firearms, and more.

Military and Defense Applications
Military and Defense Applications

PCBs used in military applications must be extremely reliable and durable. They may face extreme conditions and may play a role in national security. The military uses materials such as high-temperature laminates, aluminum, and copper because of their ability to withstand harsh conditions such as high temperatures. 

Due to its oxidation resistance, anodized aluminum can be used. Some military PCB applications may also benefit from the enhanced reliability of through-hole technology.

Some military and defense uses of PCBs include:

Communication Equipment: Radio communication systems and other critical communications require PCBs to function.

Control System: PCB is the center of various equipment control systems, including radar jamming systems, missile detection systems, etc.

Instrumentation: PCBs allow military personnel to use these indicators to monitor threats, conduct military operations and operate the equipment.

The military is often at the forefront of technology, so some of the most advanced uses of PCBs are for military and defense applications.

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