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Innovations In PCB Fabrication and Assembly for The Automotive Industry

2024-07-07

The development of the automotive industry is a process driven by both technology and application and continuously integrated. Application is the purpose of technological development and the engine that drives its growth. The continuous in-depth development and innovation of PCB assembly and processing technology have injected new momentum into the development and future of the automotive industry. At present, with a series of innovative technologies such as PCBA design, layout, manufacturing, and assembly, the innovation and application of automotive autonomous driving assistance hardware equipment and intelligent computing vehicles have been promoted, enriching the development of the automotive industry, and at the same time further putting forward new requirements for the development of the circuit board industry. This article will focus on two main directions in automotive innovation: the application of circuit boards in autonomous driving assistance hardware equipment and the design and manufacturing process of circuit boards for intelligent computing vehicles.

1. Automated Driving Assistance Hardware Equipment

Electrification and intelligence have brought great changes to the automotive industry. Autonomous driving and intelligent driving assistance systems are among the most important links in this change. Automated driving assistance hardware mainly refers to hardware used to enhance the vehicle's autonomous driving capabilities, such as sensors, controllers, and communication modules. These devices help cars achieve functions from driving assistance to fully autonomous driving. The following are PCB assembly manufacturing applications for automated driving assistance hardware equipment:

● Intelligent Driving Control Board

The intelligent driving control board is a circuit board used to manage and control autonomous vehicles and their various systems. It processes a large amount of sensor data to achieve real-time environmental perception. It executes autonomous driving algorithms to perform path planning and decision-making. It manages the vehicle's execution systems, such as steering, braking, and acceleration. It conducts Internet of Vehicles communications and realizes V2X (vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure) information exchange.

● Sensor Circuit Board

The camera is the main perception sensor of the vehicle system. It is responsible for multi-sensor data fusion, integrating the camera and lidar data to improve the accuracy of lane detection. High-precision PCB wiring and signal path design ensure the real-time and reliability of data fusion. The camera circuit board is used to process and transmit image data, and supports functions such as object recognition, lane keeping, and traffic sign recognition. The radar PCBA processes millimeter-wave radar signals to detect the distance and speed of objects around the vehicle, and realizes functions such as collision warning and blind spot detection. Lidar PCBA, Processes lidar signals, generates high-precision three-dimensional environmental maps, and supports automatic navigation and obstacle avoidance.

● Circuit Board of The Central Control Unit

The central control unit's printed circuit board design needs to consider the requirements of automobile driving safety, including anti-electromagnetic interference capability, fire and explosion-proof design, data security, etc. To ensure the system's reliability, the circuit board is usually designed as a multi-layer board to increase the layout of the signal layer and the power layer, reduce electromagnetic interference and improve signal transmission efficiency. It includes a high-performance processor and storage unit responsible for the comprehensive processing of sensor data, execution of algorithms and decision control.

● Power Management Module

As part of the vehicle electronic system, the design of the power management module circuit board must comply with the corresponding industry standards and safety specifications and usually adopts a multi-layer board design to accommodate complex power distribution and signal lines. The power management module is responsible for effectively distributing the input power to various subsystems and components in the system, such as the central control unit (ECU), sensor module, actuator control, etc.

● Data Recording and Storage Module PCBA

The data recording and storage module PCBA plays a vital role in the autonomous driving assistance system. It is responsible for recording and storing sensor data, system logs, event information, etc., providing a basis for data analysis, fault diagnosis and system optimization. Since the data recording module usually works in various complex and harsh environments, the circuit board design needs to take into account factors such as vibration resistance, high-temperature resistance, waterproof and dustproof. It usually adopts a multi-layer board design to accommodate complex circuits.

Automated PCB Assembly Design Solutions

2. Intelligent Computing Automotive

The innovative concept of "Intelligent computing car" was first proposed by China Telecom. It refers to integrating computing resources into the vehicle platform, building a computing network, and satisfying customers' computing task needs in specific scenarios through orderly scheduling of computing resources, providing users with convenient and efficient mobile computing services. Smart computing cars can provide safe and reliable smart computing services and enable high-quality development in all walks of life. It is inseparable from circuit boards' design, manufacturing process and post-maintenance. It provides all-round performance and reliability of electronic systems inside and outside the computing car to ensure stable operation.

● Design Circuit Boards

Use dedicated CAD software to draw PCB assembly design schemes and determine the efficient connections between various electronic components such as the CPU, GPU, and memory of the high-performance computing platform in the intelligent computing vehicle. 

Then, the PCB layout and wiring design are performed according to the schematics. Since the PCB needs to process many high-speed signals, the layout and wiring must consider signal integrity and electromagnetic compatibility. Use simulation software to simulate the PCB design to ensure the stability of the intelligent computing vehicle under high load and prevent overheating or signal interference from affecting performance.

● PCBA Manufacturing Process

Since the motherboard of a smart computing vehicle such as a high-performance computing platform has 10 or more PCB multi-layer structures to support various high-frequency and high-speed signals, FR4 or high-frequency materials can be selected to press the multi-layer PCB materials together to form a multi-layer board. Excess copper is removed by chemical methods to form a circuit pattern. Holes are drilled on the PCB for electrical connection and component installation. 

● SMT

In smart computing vehicles, automatic placement machines place micro components precisely at predetermined locations on PCBs, such as microprocessors, memory chips, and sensor interface modules. After fixing the patch components, the solder paste is melted and solidified in a reflow oven to form a reliable electrical connection.

● Assembly and Testing

Solder plug-in components (such as connectors, high-power components, etc.) to the PCB. Through DFM Inspection, ensure that the functions of each circuit board can operate stably under various environmental conditions.

● Quality Control

The final assembled PCB is fully tested, including visual inspection, X-ray inspection, electrical testing, and functional testing. Strict quality control ensures that each circuit board meets high standards.

● Application Scenarios

In the transportation field, the "intelligent computing car" can train large models of transportation, assist in traffic network planning and command and dispatch, and also include driver monitoring, intelligent navigation;

In the medical field, the "intelligent computing car" can train large multi-modal imaging models to improve the diagnosis and treatment level of hospitals;

In the financial field, the "intelligent computing car" can create panoramic solutions for financial institutions in risk control, marketing and other fields, and assist in the intelligent upgrade of the financial industry;

In the industrial field, the "intelligent computing car" can provide exclusive computing power guarantees for simulation design, production and manufacturing of manufacturing enterprises, and achieve cost reduction and efficiency improvement.


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