The whole process of manufacturing printed circuit boards is complicated as it involves several steps and it takes a lot of time. Even after the circuit board is done, the process in which manufacturer is on the stage of assembling the electronic components onto it can also be considered complex and requires a lot of expertise to be able to perform successfully.
Here is a brief walk through of printed circuit board assembly.
What is Printed Circuit Board Assembly?
More commonly referred to as PCBA, Printed Circuit Board Assembly is the process in which the electronic components of the circuit are soldered and fixed onto the printed circuit boards or PCB.
The term is also used to refer to the functional product after the above mentioned process has been completed. This is also sometimes called a Printed Circuit Assembly or a PCA, and it is this that is used on your electronic gadgets to allow it to function.
Is it the same as Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing?
The assembly process is often mistaken for the manufacturing process of printed circuit boards, but the two are different.
The PCB manufacturing process is one which involves the designing and prototyping of the PCBs and the end product is the board which will serve as the framework for supporting the electronic components mechanically.
It is after the prototype has been approved that the manufacturer will move on to the assembly process. This is when the board is made functional by adding onto it the necessary components so it can be used in an electronic device.For more reference visit site www.pcbnet.com.
How is the Printed Circuit Board Assembly done?
During the assembly process, the manufacturer will first decide on the types of components to be used on the board. This will greatly depend on the type of electronic device on which the PCBA will be used for.
Afterwards, the manufacturer has to decide on the type of construction method to be used for the assembly process. This decision will be based on a number of factors, including the type of circuit board, the kind of components to be soldered onto the board, and also the particular device that will use the PCBA.
There are two methods that can be used for the assembly process: the Through-Hole Technology (THT) Construction, and the Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) Construction.
When the Through-Hole Technology is used, holes are drilled onto one side of the board. Leads are then inserted through them and then soldered onto the other side where copper traces are attached. It is through these leads that the electronic components are mounted.
During the Surface-Mount Technology construction process, the components are directly mounted onto the surfaces of the printed circuit boards. This process either uses smaller leads or no leads at all, which is why components used with SMT are often smaller as opposed to THT components. It uses small end caps and metal tabs that can be directly soldered onto the boards’ surfaces.
Which is assembly method is better?
In general, Surface-Mount Technology is preferred by many over Through-Hole Technology. Aside from the fact that SMT uses smaller components that help reduce the bulk of a device, it also helped allow adding more components to a single layer of PCB. While it is also possible for components to be soldered onto both sides of the board when THT is used, it isn’t as common and convenient to perform as with SMT. Because of this, a higher level of automation is attributed to Surface-Mount Devices (SMDs). SMT also takes less effort, which translates to lower labor costs and higher production rates.
Often though, both technologies are used during a single assembly process. One reason is the fact that some components needed by a single device are only available on either of the two technology packages. Also, some components that are likely to endure physical stress are better inserted through holes for added strength while those components that won’t endure the same can use SMT to reduce the SMD’s size.