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Explore The Processes And Advantages Of PCB Assembly

PCB assembly is the process of matting and manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCBs) by soldering and assembling electronic components on prefabricated parts. Usually using professional production machinery, mass production, printed circuit board assembly process is often referred to as PCBA.

So how is the PCB assembled? 

1. Solder paste application: First, the solder paste (a small particle of solder paste mixed with flux) is applied to the board. For this application, most PCB manufacturers use stencils (available in several sizes, shapes and specifications are in line with the specifications), which can only apply the correct amount of solder paste to certain parts of the board correctly.

2. Component placement: Unlike in the past, this stage of the PCB assembly process is now fully automated. Component pickup and placement (e.g., surface mount components) was once done manually and is now performed by robotic pick-and-place machines. These machines place components accurately into pre-planned areas of the board.

3. Reflow: With the solder paste and all surface mount components in place, curing the paste to the correct specifications is critical to properly adhere the PCB components to it. This is a relevant part of the PCB assembly process - reflow soldering. To do this, the assembly with the solder paste and the components on it are passed through a conveyor belt, which passes through an industrial-grade reflow oven. Heaters in the oven melt the solder in the solder paste. Once the melting is complete, the assembly will again move through the conveyor and be exposed to a series of cooler heaters. The purpose of these coolers is to cool the melted solder and allow it to cure.

4. Inspection: After the reflow process, the PCB should be inspected to check its functionality. This stage helps to identify poor quality connections, misplaced components and shorts due to the continuous movement of the board during reflow. PCB manufacturers use several inspection steps such as manual inspection, automated optical inspection and X-ray inspection to check the functionality of the board, identify low quality solder and identify any potential pitfalls. Once the inspection is complete, the assembly team will make the critical decision. Boards with several functional errors are usually scrapped; on the other hand, if there are smaller errors, the board is resent for rework.

5. Through-hole component insertion: Certain types of PCBs require the insertion of through-hole components along with conventional SMD components. This stage is dedicated to the insertion of such components. For this purpose, the signal is passed from one side of the board to the other with the help of which PCB components to create plated through-hole. PCB through-hole insertion usually utilizes manual or wave soldering to obtain results.

6. Final inspection: Now it is time for the second level of inspection. Here, the assembled board is tested for functionality, or the PCB is thoroughly inspected to monitor its electrical characteristics, including voltage, current or signal output. Today's manufacturers utilize a variety of advanced test equipment to help determine the success or failure of the finished board.

7. Cleaning: Because the soldering process leaves a lot of flux residue in the PCB, it is critical to thoroughly clean the components before delivering the final board to the customer. For this purpose, PCBs are cleaned in deionized water. After the cleaning process, the board is thoroughly dried using compressed air. The PCB assembly can now be prepared for inspection by the customer.

What are the advantages of PCB assembly?

For companies of all sizes, complete PCB assembly has several significant advantages. After all the conveniences of outsourcing, a critical component that enables the product to run smoothly is considerable. However, when it comes to startups and small businesses, the advantages that come with choosing a turnkey PCB supplier can have a significant strategic impact on the business.

It will be worth it before considering some of the advantages. Define what a complete PCB assembly actually means. In short, PCB assembly means that the PCB supplier is responsible for all aspects of the PCB project. This means sourcing components, manufacturing and assembly. The following are some of the key advantages that small businesses can benefit from.

1. Save time

The obvious advantage that accrues from handling the entire PCB assembly through a turnkey manufacturer is saving your customer team valuable time to focus on other aspects of the business, which is where their expertise lies. As a customer, you don't need to spend time and effort finding cost effective quotes for individual components, going through the hassle of sourcing them, and then putting all those quotes together. This also works well from a cost perspective, as turnkey services are priced far more effectively than bundled services.

2. Helps you identify problems at the outset

The main advantage that arises when using turnkey PCB assembly during the prototype phase is also the ability to identify any problems early. In fact, once you share the netlist file with the turnkey manufacturer, he can point out errors (if any). These errors can then be corrected at the design stage itself, rather than making expensive changes once you are ready to complete the entire production run, or worse, when you have already completed production and need to make changes.

3. Better management

The advantage of complete PCB assembly is also that you do not have to deal with multiple suppliers. In addition to saving time, this has many other advantages. You also have to save is the possibility of miscommunication when dealing with multiple suppliers. With a turnkey vendor, you may have only one point of contact, which makes the process seamless. Since delivery schedules are critical, the slightest misunderstanding between vendors can cause the entire schedule to go wrong and lead to costly consequences. With a turnkey provider, you can rest assured that the entire responsibility for timely delivery lies with them.

4. Other services

Turnkey suppliers often provide other services, including inventory and sales. Shipping, etc. For small businesses and startups, the importance of these services cannot be underestimated because you don't have to spend time, effort and manpower on them and can control costs, thus providing you with a competitive advantage.

Look at the business use of PCBA now, it is like the hub of various smart appliances, without which these appliances will not work. Since the development direction of PCBA is used in intelligent electronic products, it must keep pace with the times, which requires research and development requires the continuous infiltration of new and high technology, without a good R & D team is unable to do a good job of this thing. GreensTone focuses on industrial automation, automotive electronics, medical electronics, power electronics and other types of high-end electronic products PCBA and finished assembly of intelligent manufacturing of one-stop service, more than 30 experienced R & D engineers team, at the same time with artificial intelligence products, intelligent small home appliances products and other design and development capabilities. We provide diversified PCBA, finished product development and manufacturing services in a high quality, efficient and fast way, and can provide small and medium-sized mass production. We are your trustworthy partner!

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