Automotive PCB Fabrication
The growth of the Automotive PCB industry has been driven by the continuous advancements in cars and trucks. The reliability & quality of the associated PCBs determine the performance of the end vehicle in which they are used. These automotive PCBs are indigenously designed to meet all temperature, humidity, vibration, high power & current, high heat, high frequency, high-speed, and high density & miniaturization requirements.
The automotive PCBs are expected to perform in the long run as well. It is their thermal resistance, efficient heat dissipation and longevity, which make them distinct from the rest. These PCBs are used in various parts of an automobile like Control modules, Antilock brake systems, Digital displays, Power relays, Dashboard, Audio systems, DC/AC power converters, Engine timing systems, Battery Control System, Airbag, LED lighting systems, Steering, Air Conditioner System, GPS navigation systems, Anti-theft systems, Ignition systems, Transmission sensors, Windshield wipers, and etc.
Type of PCB substrates that can be used in the Automotive PCBs:
Ceramic PCB substrates are manufactured using alumina and aluminum nitride, so PCBs made from these substrates are used in the engine compartment to withstand high-temperature changes. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) substrates are good at incurring high-frequency variations, so they are usually found in vehicle safety systems. Metal-substrate PCBs are used in Antilock brake systems since metal provides good electrical insulation, thermal conductivity and acts as an excellent heat sink. Copper PCBs are used for safety and signaling system, because of their capability for high temperature, high frequency, and high current variations.
As a rule of thumb, all automotive PCBs must pass the stringent thermal cycling test, thermal shock test, and temperature humidity bias (THB) test before taken into consideration. Nowadays, automobiles are becoming more advanced with the introduction of PCBs for drowsy driver alert, blind-spot detection, and more.
Implementation of PCBs in automobiles increases auto-performance in terms of environment protection (halogen-free PCBs), security enhancements through controlled monitoring, and comfort that includes entertainment, mobile communication & the internet.
Every automotive PCB manufacturer has to abide by ISO/IATF 16949 standard, especially released for the automotive PCB industry. It is based on the regulations of ISO 9001. The ISO/IATF 16949 integrates special requirements for the automotive industry along with defects prevention, quality fluctuation and waste reduction in the supply chain of automotive components.
The reliability of an automotive electronic component depends upon two factors: life span and resistance to environmental conditions such as Rain, Heat, Vibration, Electromagnetic interference (EMI), and current surge. The average service life of an automobile is 10 to 15 years during which its electronic components could be replaced.
Lightweight and Miniatured PCBs could possibly result in automotive component size reduction. It has been researched that initially the volume of automotive-applied ECU (Electronic Control Unit) was 1,200cm3 and now it has been reduced by four times at least.
Compatible PCB types for Automobiles
For speedometers and air conditioners single-sided double layer PCBs (rigid/ flexible) are usually sufficient. Double-layer PCBs, Multi-layer PCBs or Flexible PCBs can serve significantly for Car stereo & monitoring systems. On the other hand, Multi-layer PCBs, HDI PCBs or Flexible PCBs are suitable for Automotive communication devices; wireless location appliances, and security control systems. Metal-core PCBs or Rigid-flex PCBs are generally implemented to design Engine system and power transmission control system while Embedded PCBs are incorporated in Vehicle power controller and navigation devices.