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Electronic manufacturing industry PCB/PCBA knowledge
Round PCB : Guide to A Different shape of PCB

In the world of electronic devices, printed circuit boards (PCBs) serve as crucial carriers for supporting and connecting electronic components, with their form and layout directly impacting the functionality, performance, and overall structure of products. Among them, round PCB, with their unique shape and application advantages, demonstrates strong vitality in specific fields such as aerospace, medical, and high-end consumer electronics.

Table of Contents

What is round PCB?

A round PCB, or circular printed circuit board, is a type of PCB that deviates from the traditional rectangular shape and is instead designed in a circular or disc-like form. These PCBs are utilized in various electronic applications where space-saving, aesthetic appeal, or specific design requirements are paramount. The introduction of round PCBs has expanded the possibilities for electronic design, offering engineers flexibility in layout and allowing for innovative product designs.

What is round PCB

What are the advantages of round PCB?

Compared to traditional rectangular boards, round PCBs have the following significant advantages:

• High space utilization: For devices that require tight integration and optimal use of internal space, such as microsensors, wearable devices, etc., the round design can better fit the contours of the device’s casing, reducing corner waste and improving space utilization.

• Excellent structural strength: The circular structure has higher mechanical stability, capable of resisting external impacts, enhancing the durability of the equipment.

• Good electromagnetic compatibility: Round PCBs help reduce edge effects, optimizing the circuit’s electromagnetic compatibility, particularly suitable for communication equipment with strict signal quality requirements.

• Enhanced aesthetics: In certain products that prioritize aesthetic design, such as high-end audio systems, smartwatches, etc., round PCBs can bring a more elegant and unified visual effect.

What’s the application of round PCB?

Round PCBs find applications in various electronic devices and systems where space-saving, aesthetic considerations, or specific design requirements are essential. Some common applications of round PCBs include:
1.

LED Lighting: Round PCBs are widely used in LED lighting fixtures, including bulbs, downlights, spotlights, and decorative lighting. The circular shape allows for efficient placement of LEDs around the circumference, enabling uniform illumination.

2.

Cameras and Imaging Devices: Round PCBs are employed in cameras, webcams, security cameras, and other imaging devices. The circular shape accommodates the lens assembly and sensor arrangement, facilitating compact and streamlined designs.

3.

Sensors and Instrumentation: Round PCBs are utilized in various sensors, such as temperature sensors, proximity sensors, motion sensors, and environmental sensors. Their compact form factor makes them suitable for integration into small enclosures or devices.

4.

Wearable Devices: Round PCBs are ideal for wearable electronics, including smartwatches, fitness trackers, and health monitoring devices. The circular shape allows for comfortable and ergonomic designs that conform to the body’s contours.

5.

Automotive Systems: Round PCBs are employed in automotive applications, such as vehicle lighting, dashboard instrumentation, navigation systems, and sensor modules. The compact size and shape are well-suited for integration into the confined spaces of automotive interiors.

6.

Consumer Electronics: Round PCBs are used in various consumer electronics products, including audio equipment, remote controls, gaming consoles, and home appliances. The circular shape can enhance the aesthetic appeal of these devices while maintaining functionality.

7.

Industrial Equipment: Round PCBs find applications in industrial equipment and machinery, including control systems, monitoring devices, and automation systems. The compact size and robust construction make them suitable for harsh industrial environments.

8.

Medical Devices: Round PCBs are utilized in medical devices and equipment, such as diagnostic instruments, patient monitoring systems, and medical implants. The circular shape allows for integration into medical devices with curved or irregular shapes.

9.

Aerospace and Defense: Round PCBs are used in aerospace and defense applications, including avionics, radar systems, communication equipment, and missile guidance systems. The compact form factor and reliability are critical for aerospace and defense electronics.

10.

IoT (Internet of Things) Devices: Round PCBs are employed in IoT devices and smart home automation systems, including smart sensors, smart thermostats, and connected devices. The circular shape enables seamless integration into IoT ecosystems.

How do you make round PCB?

How do you make round PCB?

1. Design:

Begin by designing the round PCB layout using PCB design software. Consider the specific requirements of the project, including the size, shape, and placement of components, as well as the routing of traces. Special attention should be paid to the circular shape to ensure that the design meets the desired specifications.

2. Substrate Selection:

Choose a suitable substrate material for the round PCB. Common substrate materials include FR-4 fiberglass-reinforced epoxy, aluminum, or flexible materials like polyimide. The substrate should provide the necessary mechanical support and electrical insulation for the circuitry.

3. Panelization:

Determine the most efficient panelization method for the round PCBs. Depending on the size and quantity of the PCBs needed, they may be panelized together with other round or rectangular PCBs on a larger panel for manufacturing efficiency.

4. Etching:

Apply a layer of copper to the substrate material using a process such as electroplating or chemical deposition. Then, use photolithography to apply a layer of photoresist to the copper surface. Expose the photoresist to UV light through a stencil or mask with the desired circuit pattern. Develop the exposed photoresist to reveal the copper traces, and etch away the unwanted copper using an etchant solution.

5.Drilling:

Drill holes for through-hole components and vias using a CNC drilling machine. Ensure that the hole sizes and positions are accurate according to the PCB design specifications.

6.Plating and Surface Finishing:

Apply a protective finish to the copper traces to prevent oxidation and improve solderability. Common surface finishes include HASL (Hot Air Solder Leveling), ENIG (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold), and OSP (Organic Solderability Preservatives).

7.Component Placement:

Place components onto the round PCB according to the design layout. Use pick-and-place machines for automated component placement to ensure accuracy and efficiency.

8.Soldering:
Solder the components onto the PCB using reflow soldering or wave soldering techniques, depending on the type of components and assembly requirements.

9.Testing:

Perform electrical testing and inspection to verify the functionality and quality of the round PCB. This may include continuity testing, impedance testing, and functional testing to ensure that the circuit operates as intended.

10.Cutting:

After testing, the round PCBs can be separated from the panel using a routing or milling machine. Carefully cut along the circular outline to obtain the individual round PCBs.

11.Final Inspection and Packaging:

Conduct a final inspection to check for any defects or issues. Once approved, package the round PCBs according to the customer’s specifications for shipment or further assembly.

How to assembly Round PCB?

How to assembly Round PCB?

1. Basic Principles of Round PCB Assembly

Despite the many advantages of round PCBs, their irregular shape poses challenges for assembly. To achieve efficient and stable assembly, the following basic principles are typically followed:

Symmetrical layout: Maintain a symmetrical distribution between round PCBs as much as possible to balance stress and prevent deformation or fractures caused by uneven force.

Precise positioning: Use precision positioning holes, locating pins, or dedicated fixtures to ensure the precise alignment of each round PCB during assembly, ensuring the reliability of electrical connections.

Reasonable wiring: Through a reasonable wiring design, avoid generating excessive current density or electromagnetic interference at the assembly joints, while facilitating subsequent soldering, testing, and maintenance.

2. Common Assembly Methods for Round PCBs

Based on the principles mentioned above, here are several common assembly methods for round PCBs:

• Ring-shaped Assembly

Ring-shaped assembly is the most intuitive and efficient method for assembling round PCBs. It involves arranging multiple round PCBs of the same or different diameters along the central axis to form a ring-like structure similar to “nested dolls.” This assembly method facilitates sharing a central power or data bus, simplifies wiring, and aids in heat dissipation. It is suitable for system designs where the central processor is the core, surrounded by peripheral modules.

• Star-shaped Assembly

Star-shaped assembly involves placing a main control round PCB at the center and distributing several sub-PCBs radially around it. The main control PCB manages system coordination and data exchange, while the sub-PCBs execute specific functions. This method facilitates centralized control of signal transmission, reduces latency, and is suitable for distributed control systems or multi-channel data acquisition systems.

• Honeycomb-style Assembly

Honeycomb-style assembly resembles a honeycomb structure, where round PCBs of the same size are arranged in a hexagonal grid, and adjacent PCBs are electrically interconnected through edge connectors. This method maximizes space utilization and offers excellent mechanical stability. It is commonly used in large-scale parallel processing systems or high-density sensor arrays.

3. Assembly Processes and Technologies

After completing the assembly design, it is necessary to use advanced processes and technologies to turn theory into reality. This includes:

High-precision machining: Using precision CNC machines for PCB cutting and drilling to ensure dimensional accuracy of the assembly interface.

Special connection techniques: Such as using flexible printed circuits (FPC) as bridge connectors between round PCBs, or employing special connectors such as fine-pitch connectors and pogo-pin connectors to achieve electrical interconnection.

Three-dimensional assembly: For complex, multi-layered assembly structures, it may be necessary to use surface-mount technology (SMT), through-hole technology (THT), and automated three-dimensional assembly equipment for precise assembly.

Conclusion

The splicing of round PCB is an art that combines innovative design thinking and precision manufacturing technology. Through the effective use of space, scientific layout planning and the application of advanced technology, we can cleverly splice seemingly independent “disks” into a powerful and structurally stable whole, giving various high-tech products Stronger vitality and competitiveness. In the future, as the trend of miniaturization and intelligence of electronic equipment continues to deepen, we have reason to expect more exquisite circular PCB splicing solutions to emerge, continuously broadening the innovation boundaries of electronic engineering.

FAQ

A round PCB, or circular printed circuit board, is a type of PCB that deviates from the traditional rectangular shape and is instead designed in a circular or disc-like form. These PCBs are utilized in various electronic applications where space-saving, aesthetic appeal, or specific design requirements are paramount.

High space utilization
Excellent structural strength
Good electromagnetic compatibility
Enhanced aesthetics

LED Lighting
Cameras and Imaging Devices
Sensors and Instrumentation
Wearable Devices
Automotive Systems
Consumer Electronics
Industrial Equipment
Medical Devices
Aerospace and Defense
IoT (Internet of Things) Devices

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