At the heart of every modern electronic device — from smartphones and in-car infotainment systems to garage door openers — is a printed circuit board (PCB). But how do these foundational building blocks of most modern electronic devices function in a specifically engineered way? The answer is PCBA.
What is PCBA?
The successful operation of any printed circuit board is achieved through a manufacturing process called PCBA (short for printed circuit board assembly).
Simply put, PCBA is the process of populating printed circuit boards with electronic surface-mount and/or through-hole components to form a fully functional electronic device. The primary function of the PCB assembly is to mechanically support and electrically hook up all electronic components to the wiring of the circuit board.
Every printed circuit board assembly process starts with the most basic unit of the PCB: the base. The base consists of several layers, and each one plays a significant role in the overall functionality of the final product. These layers include:
- A non-conductive substrate base that gives the circuit board its rigidity.
- A thin coating of conductive copper foil (copper traces) that is added to each functional side of the circuit board.
- A solder mask that protects copper traces from corrosion and reduces the risk of shorts between traces or undesired electrical contact with stray bare wires.
- A silkscreen that contains component designators, switch settings, test points and other indications that come in handy during the assembly, testing and servicing of a printed circuit board.
3 Ways to Assemble a PCB
1. Surface Mount Technology (SMT)
Surface-mount technology is a method in which the electrical components are mounted directly onto a printed circuit board’s surface.
This PCBA technique enables increased manufacturing automation which reduces manufacturing costs and improves the quality of the final product. It also allows for more components to fit on a given substrate area, making it possible to assemble highly complex circuit boards into smaller footprints with good reliability.
Surface-mount technology is typically used for small electronic components such as transistors, diodes, IC chips, resistors and capacitors.
2. Through-hole technology (THT)
Through-hole technology is a method in which electronic components with leads or wires attached to them are inserted through drilled holes on the board and soldered to pads on the other side.
PCBs assembled using this technique are incredibly durable and resistant to higher environmental stress as the electronic components are strongly bonded with the board.
Through-hole technology may be used for some large electronic components not suitable for surface mounting such as large transformers and heatsinked power semiconductors.
3. Mechanical assembly
Also known as box-build assembly, mechanical assembly uses elements like cables and custom metalwork to assemble PCBs.
Full Turnkey PCB Assembly Service
Effective and accurate printed circuit board assembly ensures that the electronic devices operate with absolute precision and productivity. This is where we come in.
Advanced Technology and Manufacturing (AT&M) is one of Perth’s and Australia’s premier electronics assembly service providers. For over 25 years, we have been providing consistently high-quality low or high volume printed circuit board assembly solutions with the fastest turnaround time. When you choose us as your PCBA company, you choose to partner with a service provider that will take your product from the concept through to production with ease.
3 Reasons to Choose AT&M
1. All our components are sourced from authorised, reliable electronic components manufacturers and distributors.
2. We use leaded and RoHS Compliant equipment to accurate, reliable and repeatable SMT and THT assemblies:
- Stencil printers with automatic vision systems equipment for precise solder paste placement on the PCB.
- Pick-and-place machines equipped with automated vision systems for accurate placement of the tiniest of surface mount components.
- Wave soldering machine with an air flux spraying system and no-clean flux for a cleaner, higher quality through-hole assembly.
- 14 and 20 zone convection ovens and a state-of-the-art thermal profiler for correct oven profiling.
3. Our team is highly skilled to the IPC/J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610 Standards to ensure reliability and quality in electronic assemblies.
If you are looking for bespoke, quality-driven, innovative and cost-effective PCB assembly services, please feel free to get in touch with us. You can call us at +618 9444 3288 or send our Operations Manager an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The team at Advanced Technology and Manufacturing will be more than happy to assist you.