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The Evolution of Printed Wiring Boards: From Prototypes to High-Volume Manufacturing


In the vast landscape of modern technology, Printed Wiring Boards (PWBs) also called Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs) depending on the region and industry, are the unsung heroes of the electronic world, silently powering our everyday gadgets. A story of constant innovation and relentless evolution, the journey of PWBs from rudimentary prototypes to intricate, high-volume manufacturing is an intriguing chapter in the history of electronics. This article explores how printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) has advanced, revolutionized technologies, and redefined our digital lives.

The Humble Beginnings: Prototypes

The genesis of PWBs can be traced back to the early 20th century. The prototypes were simple, with manual assembly of components onto point-to-point wiring substrates (boards). However, these boards lacked the efficiency, consistency, and sophistication needed for the impending technological boom.

The Era of Automation: Transitions in PCBA

The post-war years marked the onset of the computer age, necessitating a transition from rudimentary PWBs to automated assembly processes. From the auto assembly process, which ushered in the era of through-hole technology, to the introduction of surface mount technology (SMT), PCBA underwent a revolutionary transformation. The leap from manual assembly to automated production lines enhanced speed and precision, laying the foundation for a new technological era.

The Age of Miniaturization: Compact and Complex

The rise of consumer electronics in the late 20th century marked the advent of the age of miniaturization. To accommodate more components in smaller devices, PWBs had to evolve. Multilayer boards with compact, high-density interconnects became the new norm. These advancements in PCBA meant denser circuitry, more functionality, and smaller footprints for PWBs, empowering the boom of mobile and wearable technology.

The Present: High-Volume Manufacturing

Today, we stand in an era of high-volume PWB production. Driven by evolving customer demands and emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G, the PCBA industry has scaled unprecedented heights. Sophisticated manufacturing processes, such as High-Density Interconnect (HDI) and Microvia technology, cater to the demands of high-volume manufacturing, creating complex, high-performance PWBs at an astounding rate.

The Future: Towards a Greener, Smarter PCBA

As we look to the future, the evolution of PWBs is headed toward smarter, greener solutions. The emphasis is shifting towards sustainable manufacturing, recycling e-waste, and reducing the environmental impact. The integration of AI and machine learning is also in focus, aimed at enhancing quality control, minimizing errors, and optimizing the entire PCBA process.

The Bottom Line

The evolution of PWBs is a testament to human ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of innovation. As we celebrate the journey from hand-assembled circuits to modern marvels, BESTProto is at the forefront, pioneering the next wave in PCB assembly.

No matter your industry, our expertise in PCB assembly is poised to amplify your innovations. Contact us today to learn more about our services.



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green and gold flex PCB

The Benefits of a Flex (Flexible) Circuit Board

green and gold flex PCBFlexible (flex) circuits have been growing in popularity and use in the last decade although the idea is not new. The earliest prototype of a flex circuit board was patented in 1903 and described by Albert Hansen as metal conductors being affixed to paraffin coated paper. Flex circuits are considerably more sophisticated today, but the idea has allowed for the development of life-enriching electronic products.

Its predecessor, the rigid circuit board, has one main disadvantage. Formed by laminating copper over fiberglass then covered by a solder mask layer and finally a silkscreen layer, the board cannot be reshaped or modified, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been vital. Rigid PCBs are used commonly in computers, AC/DC power converters, vending machines, cars, HVAC systems, toys, and GPS devices just to name a few.

Flex circuits are made by applying the metallic traces, usually copper, onto a flexible substrate, usually polyimide. The types of flexible printed circuits include:

  • Single sided circuit
  • Double sided circuit
  • Multi-layer circuit
  • Rigid flex circuit
  • Maxi flex
  • Catheter flex
  • Sculptured flex circuits

Flexible PCBs solve many problems that rigid PCBs can’t, including:

  1. Saving Weight and Space

    – Flex PCBs have a volume of about 70% less than rigid circuits.

  2. Making Dynamic Flexing Possible

    – Flex circuits can withstand continuous movement.

  3. Making Installation and Maintenance Easier

    – They can be moved and even bent or twisted without damaging the conductor.

  4. Improving Reliability

    – A flex PCB can continue to function after millions of repetitions of movement.

  5. Streamlining Product Design

    – Smaller, lighter flex PCBs open up a world of options for portable, wearable products.

  6. Upgrading Thermal Management

    – Flex PCBs have a higher melting point and dissipate heat better to protect components.

  7. Saving Money

    – Flex PCBs are less expensive to produce than rigid PCBs.

In short, electronic products can now be smaller, lighter, and more functional. Flexible circuit boards are currently used in anti-lock brakes, cameras, airbag systems, barcode equipment, and medical equipment like ultrasound imaging, but they are opening doors to new innovations like fitness trackers, heart monitors, and smartwatches. It has been predicted that about 440 million wearables will be sold and shipped in 2024 guaranteeing a place for flexible circuit boards in the future. BESTProto is ready to meet this challenge and to provide PCB services. Contact us for more information about our services.

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Understanding Selective Soldering

Defining Selective Soldering

In the world of electronic assembly services, one soldering process reigns supreme – selective soldering.

In the simplest of words, selective soldering is a way of soldering parts onto a printed circuit board in a fast and efficient amount of time, when compared to doing it by hand. It has become a go-to soldering method for many companies. In a more technical sense, selective soldering is an automated soldering process in that parts are soldered to a PCB in quick succession or all at once. In a sense, it sets up a template to make the process quicker.

Selective Soldering Processes

Laser Selective Soldering

– The laser is what makes this process different. It uses the laser to perform the process, thus making it a precision-intensive option.

Miniature Wave Select Solder Fountains

– Using a “wave,” the board is manipulated to solder in premeditated locations. You do not need the aperture tooling and masking for this method.

Selective Dip Solder Fountain

– Relying on the solder fountain, this process works on exact points where the board is meant to be soldered. Once the board is dipped into the fountains, soldering components are sought out and correctly soldered, while other parts remain untouched.

Aperture Tooling Over Wave Soldering

– The second “wave” process in which the board is pushed through a wave of solder which creates a molten solder pool. Un-soldered areas are masked for protection.

After any of these processes, the soldering machine is left to cool and the finished board continues through the manufacturing process.

Why Use a Selective Soldering System?

Because of its efficiency and accuracy, a selective soldering system has become the preferable way of soldering. Reflow ovens and hand soldering is still used and have their benefits, but mass production demands selective soldering. The question comes down to this – how many boards need to be produced, and will it be cost efficient for you to use a selective soldering system?

In conclusion, for many modern operations, selective soldering is the most efficient electronic assembly services for precision and speed. It does so without compromising the delicacy of the board. The companies that use them are able to create and deliver the products their customers seek out in the most effective way.

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PCB layout service

Rigid Flex PCB Basic Layout Guidelines

As technology changes and evolves, the printed circuit boards that enable devices to work have to evolve as well. With this trend, investing in PCB layout service is more important than ever before as it can save you both time and money. Durable rigid flex PCBs are able to withstand today’s challenge of flawless performance, regardless of the application.

Rigid flex circuit boards are a hybrid of all the best qualities of the rigid and flex circuits boards. These hybrid circuits provide better quality control and more design options. Organizations that produce aerospace, medical, automotive, military, and consumer electronics, are increasingly utilizing the versatility of rigid-flex PCBs.

When designing and building a rigid-flex circuit board, there are a few basic layout guidelines that can help to ensure consistent quality, while still adhering to production timelines. Here is an overview of the guidelines to follow when building a rigid-flex PCB.

Insulate with Bondply:

Take the time to insulate the rolled-up copper cladding that is used within the flex layers of a rigid-flex PCB. The bondply prevents the copper from becoming brittle over time.

Adjust Via Spacing:

The best way for pliable flex materials to remain stable is to place vias 50 millimeters from the edge of the rigid area, adjacent to the flex ribbon. This distance is greater than that found in rigid-only stackups, but it is essential to retain stackup stability.

Alternate Flex Traces from Layer to Layer:

For the PCB wiring to continue functioning as intended, ribbons need to remain flexible. In order for this to happen, traces cannot be positioned on top of each other, layer upon layer. Instead, stagger the traces vertically to allow for optimal ribbon flexibility.

Adapt Adhesive Application:

Be aware of where adhesive is being placed. Do not apply adhesive to the bendable parts of circuits that have more than four flex layers.

At BESTProto we know the best practices when providing PCB layout services and assembling PCBs. If you are looking for PCB assembly services or want to know more, visit today.

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The Fundamentals of PBC Layout

Printed Board Circuits are the backbone to electrical devices, and the connections made between components lead to electrical signals. Poor functioning design can lead to problems along the production line, which is why there are some key fundamentals to be aware of when designing a PBC layout.

PBC Design Flow

There are four specific steps used by a PCB layout service to create a functional design flow:

Step 1

is Part Research and Selection, which evaluates the physical components and examines how each part will function within the design cartography.

Step 2

is Schematic Capture and Simulation, and this process involves capturing the circuit components and linking them together to form the substantive design as well as simulating the circuit to analyze the signals and behavior of the components.

Step 3

is the Board Layout, and this is comprised of placing all the physical components and integrated circuits onto the circuit board and checking the form factor of the PBC.

Step 4

is Verification and Validation, which implicates a two-step process of a prototype test and manufacturing test to verify the design meets the original blueprint and proper testing standards for the customer.  

PCB Design Optimization

Optimize the design by organizing the circuits into segments in congruence with function.  Group each section to maintain short conductive traces. Arrange the path of electrical current on your board to be linear.  Lastly, sustain a star configuration so that the components get equal voltage in equal length.

Thermal Issues

The most optimal thermal design for a PCB will produce equal temperature across the whole board. Achieving proportionate thermal conduction is by using copper planes and thermal vias as follows to distribute the heat evenly thus lowering the temperature of the PCB.

Test a PBC for Functionality

Decisively test the PCB to check all available outlets making secure that all components are functioning as designed. Do white-box and black-box testing to analyze the inputs, outputs, and any pathways to ensure no failing components.

BESTProto uses advanced software to create PCB layouts. If you’re interested in a PCB layout service, our staff will work with you through every stage of the process.

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Different Types of Printed Circuit Boards

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are used in a wide variety of electronic devices, including radios, computers, pagers, and radar machines. The boards support and connect electrical components using traces, pads, and other features.

Because they can be used for a variety of different applications, printed circuit boards are available in several designs. Some of the major types include:

• Single-sided
• Double-sided
• Rigid
• Multilayer
• Flex
• Rigid-flex


The single-sided PCB consists of only one layer of base material with one end coated with a very thin layer of metal, typically copper. It also includes a wide range of electronic components on one single side. This type of PCB is usually used in simple electronic devices.


The double-sided PCB is more popular than the single-sided boards. Both sides consist of metal conductive layers. They also contain other elements that allow designers to attach circuits on one side of the board to circuits on the other side of the board.


The rigid PCB consists of solid and rigid material such as fiberglass. The rigid material prevents the board from twisting. Great examples of rigid PCBs include motherboards found in computer towers.


The multilayer PCB is more complex and has at least three layers of conductive material. The boards include additional layers that are situated beyond the bottom and the top layers in a design that is similar to that of a double-sided configured board. Multilayer PCBs are used in a variety of devices, including computers, file servers, and satellite systems.


Unlike the rigid printed circuit boards, the flex board is made of a flexible plastic surface. This type of material allows the board to conform to a specific shape during its application. Additionally, unlike the rigid boards, they can be shifted or turned during use without harming the circuits.


As the name suggests, the rigid-flex board features elements combining those found in both the rigid and the flexible PCBs. These types of boards have been used in the military and aerospace industries for over two decades.

The professional team at BESTProto offers circuit board testing and circuit board Assembly for a wide range of customers, including businesses and governmental organizations. Contact BESTProto today for high-quality circuit board repair service delivered with the support of experienced technicians.

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5 Different Ways to Use PCB Assemblies


Printed circuit boards have found their way into everything from toasters to web servers. They help mechanically support electrical components while also providing high-quality conductors to allow electricity to pass through a circuit freely. This versatility is helping engineers and hobbyists think of many new ways to use PCB Assembly technology. The following examples are just a few of the exciting ways that circuit boards can change electrical engineering.

  1. Prototyping Innovative Circuits

When technologists develop a new circuit, they work with a bare P.C.B. assembly to make sure that the design is viable. Breakout boards consisting of a minimal PCB and a single component have helped prototyper’s speed up how long it takes to test new circuits. Some people have even turned this aspect of engineering into a hobby.

  1. Attaching Hardware Devices Together

Computer bus architecture is making a huge comeback because the number of transistors that can fit on a single circuit board is skyrocketing to some amazing levels. Devices that were once external peripherals can now fit on tiny PCB assemblies. Integrated logic boards are helping marry some types of interfaces directly with the microchips they send data to. This is helping engineers make some very small devices.

  1. Testing Out New Greener Designs

RoHS rules have banned the use of solder containing more than 0.1 percent lead by weight when building printed circuit boards. Engineers are now testing newer greener alternatives that use other compounds to adhere to these rules.

  1. Educating Tomorrow’s Electricians

Printed circuit boards have come down in price so much that schools can buys pallets of them for use in technology classes. Some of these don’t even need to be soldered, which is great for students.

  1. Controlling Consumer Products

Home and business automation is a hot topic, and this means that countless new types of circuits have to be developed that can connect analog and digital components together. Engineers are starting to really push the envelope when it comes to fitting circuit boards into every type of consumer product imaginable.

While printed circuit boards have been around for a long time, engineers are still developing innovative ways of using them. You never know where you might see one turn up next. BESTProto leads the pack when it comes prototytping, assembly and production.

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Prototype PCB

What are PCB’s and How Are They Made?


Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are self-contained modules found in all sorts of electronic devices. They contain electronic components that are connected to form circuits by depositing, or “printing,” conduction materials in a thin layer onto a substrate’s surface, which is known as an insulating board.

Types of PCBs

There are three basic kinds of printed circuit boards based on the method of construction: single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layered. Single-sided PCBs have all the unit’s circuits printed on just one side of the insulating board. When there are too many circuits to pack onto a single side of the substrate, both sides are used, creating a double-sided PCB. For even more complex circuit boards, a substrate comprised of multiple layers of components is used with each layer separated by a layer of insulation to create a multi-layered PCB.

Types of PCB Construction Technology

PCB assemblers use either plated through-hole technology or surface-mount technology to connect a PCB’s components and circuits to one another. The older method is the plated through-hole technology in which holes are drilled through the insulating board and plated with a conducting material. Wires, called leads, are threaded through the holes and are soldered to connection pads on the other side or layer. With the more recent innovation of surface-mount technology, small protrusions shaped like the letter “L” or “J” jut from the surface of each component on the substrate, making direct contact with the printed circuits.

In plated through-hole design, friction between the sides of the holes and the layers holds the components in place, with help from gravity, until the elements are soldered. In surface-mount design, a solder paste made from solder, glue, and flux are applied immediately to hold the elements in place while the connection is secured by melting the solder in an oven. Surface-mount technology eliminates the need for drilling and the clutter of connection pads from the PCB construction process although it does require more delicate and precise placement of the various components.

There is a third type of circuit board construction technology used to make a relative of printed circuit boards known as integrated circuits — also called microchips or ICs. These units contain considerably more circuits than any type of PCB, which are produced electrochemically directly in place on the surface of a tiny silicon chip. This technology is commonly called electro-mechanical. A similar type of circuit, called a hybrid circuit, combines the technologies and resembles a PCB with the exception of certain circuits developed in place electrochemically.

If you’re looking for leading-edge PCB assemblers to handle all your printed circuit board construction needs, BESTProto has experience in PCB construction for military, medical, industrial, and telecommunications uses.

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10 Interesting Facts About PCBs (That You Probably Didn’t Know!)


Printed circuit boards are everywhere! You probably use one more often than you might think. But what exactly are they and how do they work? Printed circuit boards, more commonly referred to as PCBs, are thin boards made from an insulating material, with a coated metal surface, sometimes on both the top and bottom. Small etches are created in the metal, which allow pathways and various metal components for electricity to travel through various components. These are mounted on the board with solder.  But just because PCBs are found virtually everywhere doesn’t mean you’re the PCB expert! Here are a few interesting facts about PCBs that you probably didn’t know!

  1. Their Green Color.

    The majority of PCBs are an iconic, dark green color. Why? The green you see is actually the soldermask that is showing through the glass, not the color of the PCB itself. While no one knows for certain where the use of green came from, there are a few theories.
    The American military initially used PCBs. Therefore, some people speculate that green was regulation standard when being used by the military, and has spread from there. Others think that green could have been the color of the residue from the original soldermask that was used to create PCBs. We continue to use green as a matter of convention, even though the original materials are not still used today. The third theory that some people believe is that the color green makes it easy for engineers to find faults in the traces, so many companies tend to prefer green to other colors. But modern PCBs can be made in almost any color!

  2. They Were Invented By an Austrian!

    Paul Eisler, an Austrian inventor, is credited with the invention of the PCB. However, even though Eisler is given credit for the invention, development that ultimately led to the invention dates as far back as the 1890s. In 1936, Eisler was working on a radio when he first invented the PCB. They didn’t really take off and see mass usage until the 1950s, but their popularity has grown significantly from there!

  3. They Are Everywhere!

    Today, pretty much every electronic appliance that you use on a regular basis contains a PCB of some type. Computers, printers, cell phones, digital clocks, microwaves, televisions, stereos—the list goes on! PCBs are so common, that you probably don’t even realize that you are using a device with one most of the time!

  4. Tracers, Not Wires.

    Most electronic devices are composed of wires, as a means of transmitting energy from one component to another. However, PCBs are different. PCBs use copper tracers instead of wires to transmit energy. This allows PCBs to be a lot smaller, because tracers take up less space.

  5. Designed Using CAD.

    Before PCBs are physically made, they are designed using computer aided design (CAD) software. CAD software prepares the specific layout data for the prototype PCBs. This allows the board to be tested, and to check that all of the tracers are properly connected. CAD programs are used to design not only the layout of the PCB, but also the schematics of the board.

  6. Several Components.

    PCBs are made up of several components, probably more than you ever imagined! Each component of a PCB has their own individual properties, including resistors, potentiometers, capacitors, inductors, relays, batteries, ruses, and transformers, to name a few!

  7. Can Be Personalized.

    PCBs can be fully customized to fit whatever specifications you need. However, fully customizing a PCB can be very costly to ensure that every aspect is customized to your specific requirements.

  8. Technology Is Always Changing!

    Since the first PCB was invented in 1936, PCBs have changed immensely. Modern PCBs are smaller, faster, and more efficient to build. The technology that goes into building PCBs is ever changing. PCBs are just getting better and better!

  9. Getting Smaller?

    With the advent of smaller and smaller electronics, PCBs have had to keep up by becoming smaller as well. Surface mount PCBs can be up to 1/10 the size of through-hole circuits.

  10. Ohm’s Law.

    PCBs are strictly governed by physics. Electrical engineers must keep Ohm’s Law in mind when designing a PCB. This law dictates the relationship between current, resistance, and voltage. In other words, Ohm’s Law is the principle that electrical current is proportional to voltage, and inversely proportional to resistance. The different laws of physics strictly dictate the ways in which prototype PCBs can be designed and built.

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