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The Age of Machines is Upon Us

Prototype pcbs

In today’s day and age, it seems that everything has some sort of electrical or digital component. For the most part, long gone are the days of manual machines. Today, if a machine can be replaced with one that does the job faster, more precisely, or cheaper, the old machine is quickly given the boot. And for the most part, this helps boost production and quality, and is better for most of those involved. However some thought should be given to those individuals who are left without a job when a machine has been proven to be more productive or efficient. Many skills are slowly but surely being lost over time as machines take over certain duties for us.

Keeping your skills relevant with circuit board prototyping

Some people are born with circuits in the brain that readily connect with the electrical and digital know-how necessary to put together the intricacies of the machines and inner workings of many components we use in so many products today. And even though many machines are taking over the jobs that human beings were once necessary for, it all has to start somewhere. Machines can’t think and create (at least not yet!) and need to be told how to build. There needs to be an initial construction and an initial command. This is where the technologically savvy come into play. While there are indeed machines that can produce circuit boards, even prototype circuit boards before mass production, it often begins with a person hunched over a project, concentrating on the smallest pieces of what will eventually be a much bigger project. There is a lot that goes into circuit board prototyping, and having that knowledge can be a lucrative skill. In 2012 alone, the market for printed circuit boards, or PCBs, worldwide was almost $60 billion.

Getting the basics down for circuit board prototyping
Prototype PCB fabrication is essential for every new component of an electrical product. And having that prototype ahead of time will help to avoid issues for the rest of that batch of production. While the prototyping process can lead to many changes to tweak and perfect the final product, when mass producing, the circuit boards should already be designed to model the finished prototype. Every board is created for individual use and must not only be the right size, but every tiny component must be connected perfectly in order to ensure a properly functioning product down the line. Sometimes even the most tech-savvy person can’t compete with a machine where it is necessary. Computer aided design, or CAD, is often used to lay out the intricate designs of the circuit board, as the spaces between different electrical paths can be a single millimeter or even smaller. But while a human being might not be able to accurately reach the smallest components, he or she will still benefit from knowing all there is to know about the process, whether it is about deciding between the three main types of printed circuit board construction (single sided, double sided, or multi-layered), or looking at the different methods of connecting the electrical components, be it the more traditional “through hole” technology or the more modern “surface mount.” Machines may work faster, but someone needs to know how to fix them when they eventually break down.

The skills needed in this modern and technologically advanced world we live in are varying and ever-changing. Machines have helped us move forward leaps and bounds, but they won’t ever be able to completely replace the brilliance of the human mind.

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