Today’s generation depends almost entirely on electronics. Regardless of age, gender, and economic status, people cannot simply do away with their mobile phones, computers, laptops, mp3 players, e-book readers, and other electronic gadgets. All these items and many others operate through printed circuit boards (PCB) that unites all components to enable them to properly function together.
Manufacturing these printed circuit boards is a complex industry that requires the completion of numerous intricate steps so as to generate the final product. These may include chemical, optical, mechanical, and electrical processes. Specifically, the five divisions in PCB production are board preparation, application of conductive coatings, soldering, fabrication, and assembly.
PCBs are thus indispensable components in the various gadgets and machinery that improve people’s lives and bolster economic productivity. However, manufacturing them can be quite detrimental to the ecology. Studies have revealed that plants or factories that manufacture circuit boards emit substantial amounts of pollutants that can harm the environment. These include volatile organic compounds (VOC), Propylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether Acetate (PGMEA), and other hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).
Thus, it is vital for printed circuit board manufacturers to implement pollution abatement techniques in their operations. Primarily, they can minimize their chemical drag out and water consumption through conservation strategies such as reusing and recycling. These not only help them preserve natural resources, but can also allow them to significantly cut down on their production costs.
Environmentalists and engineering experts have come up with an attainable checklist of some pollution prevention opportunities in the production of printed circuit boards. They recommend streamlining material handling and storage processes to significantly reduce industrial effluents and air pollutions. This can be done by buying just the right amount of materials, conducting regular inventories, and monitoring careful usage of products to avoid spills and wastes.
Some modifications to the manufacturing process can also be employed. Some unnecessary steps or procedures may be eliminated or added, if necessary. Some materials may also be replaced with more environmentally sustainable alternatives. Above all, it is essential for printed circuit board manufacturers to develop a strong commitment towards conservation and consistently adhere to green principles.