High End Electronics
In the early days Electronics was hand wired on a chassis. Some high end valve amplifiers still do this. Check out:
Hayden Valve Guitar Amplifiers
Guitar Player reviews 6 hand wired valve amplifiers
Gibson valve amplifiers
Fender Vibro-King Custom
Torres amplifiers – build it yourself
Marshall Hand Wired Series
But of course this isn’t very compact. For those who didn’t know, I am a guitarist and use a Carvin MTS3212 Master Tube Series tube amplifier which I still enjoy very much. So when compact isn’t a priority and cost isn’t as important as the sound, then you go for this sort of amplifier. This is another example of the trade-offs we discussed in the Project Priorities Perspective where it’s about Performance and Cost is the lowest priority.
Low Cost Electronics Manufacture
For Low Cost Electronics Manufacture however, there are other factors that come into play. You want quality and you want it in a timely manner but the cost has to be low so that you have a decent profit margin. So hand wiring is out because that is expensive.
Very well designed Printed Circuit Board PCB can produce excellent results and with the move to Surface Mount Technology SMT and the Surface Mount Device SMD the Component Loading Cost is also reduced as components are put in place by machines and there are no leads or tails to trim after soldering. So this really helps with Electronics Manufacturing Cost and for at least the next little while will remain the way to go.
Another strategy for reducing cost is to use a modern Integrated Circuit IC because you can fit more functions into a more complex device and although it sometimes costs more for that individual device, you can reduce cost by removing other devices, reducing size and reducing loading and handling costs.
Reducing size reduces cost because you get more Printed Circuit Boards on a Panel and the cost of a panel in general is roughly the same ragardless of how many PCBs there are on it.
Emerging Electronics Technologies
But the future is approaching and there are some very interesting developments under way. These involve Organic Semiconductors and Printable Electronic Circuits. Check out the following links:
printable electronics – a game changer
printable electronics on the rise
printable electronics to surprass $7 billion in 2010
Organic Semiconductors in a spin
I was particularly interested in the idea that the number 1 piece of equipment purchased by universities and Research and Development corporations conducting Electronics Research would be an inkjet printer! And did you notice the convergence between these 2 Low Cost Electronics Technologies?
We are in for interesting times indeed when you can design your circuit and then prototype it on your printer.
Ray Keefe has been developing high quality and market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. For more information go to his LinkedIn profile. This post is Copyright © Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.