Printed circuit board assembly is the process of connecting electronic components to a rigid, flat board to create a working circuit. PCB assembly has two types: surface mount and through-hole construction.
The leads of through-hole construction are pushed into the board through holes and attached to the pads on the other side through soldering. This can be done manually or with mounting machines. From the 1950s, the through-hole method has been used to replace point-to-point construction until surface mounting became widespread in the 1980s.
Surface Mount Construction
In surface mount construction, the electronic components have direct connections to the surface of the board. The surface mount components are really smaller than those of the through-hole construction because their leads are smaller or they do not have leads at all. They often use flat contacts, solder balls, or pins to replace the leads. This can be an advantage of surface mount over through-hole components. Aside from that, surface mount can have a lot more connection and they have much simpler and quicker assembly. This construction also allows components to be assembled on either side of the board. In general, they are also less expensive that through-hole components.
Although surface mount components are more popular, through-hole construction is still used today. Some components are only available for through-hole and vice versa.
Printed Circuit Board Assembly Services
Oftentimes, PCB assembly is outsourced by manufacturers to a specialist company because setting up a PCB unit is quite an investment. There are lots of small components needed to complete a PCB.
In general, small and medium-sized firms contract electronics specialist companies to create their PCB units. There are some advantages in contracting the services of a specialist company. These are:
1. Save Investment and Labor Costs
Normally, the capital investment in printed circuit board assembly unit is quite high. A manufacturing firm could simply contract out these expenses and save a lot of money. This money can be used to set up their operations, manage inventory, upgrade and maintain their facilities, hire labor, etc.
2. Take Advantage of Specialized Services
An electronics contract company has limited services, but they probably specialize in these services. For example, a contract company has a dedicated work force and a system to look out after their PCB projects. Doing this guarantees specialized services that adhere to up-to-date industry standards.
3. Focus on Basic Skills
The manufacturing company can now focus on their core expertise if they contract out other tasks to a third company. They can spend more efforts in developing their brand and intensifying their marketing and sales network.
When selecting a firm to contract out the PCB assembly, it is crucial to make a knowledgeable decision.
Here are some of the things to be considered when selecting third party PCB services:
1. The most important thing to consider is to make sure the firm has the latest dual in-line and surface mount technologies. These are the most up-to-date standards in the PCB industry.
2. Since most electronic devices have become smaller, it is important to incorporate multi-layer printed circuit boards. Therefore, the chosen firm must be able to produce printed circuit boards with eight layers or more if necessary.
3. Other details to keep in mind include the capacity to utilize a range of conductive elements to fit the company’s electrical circuit requirements. Moreover, secondary in-line operations like ball grid array (BGA) need to be checked. Bonding services must also be provided by the third party firm.
4. It is also important to make sure that the third party PCB assembly firm has complied for RoHS services and uses only UL-listed products to adhere to environment-friendly standards.