PCB or a print circuit board is at the core of every electrical device that we use today. Its assembly or PCBA refers to the process of soldering the different active and passive electrical components together on the bare board to make the connection work.
The type of assembly usually depends on the kind of board, its purpose, or the type of electrical components. The assembly process is entirely different from manufacturing the print circuit board.
Where PCB is a bare board, assembly makes it a finished product. PCB is the circuit board made of glass epoxy resin, and PCBA is the plug-in assembly. A manufacturer designs the board, gets the prototype ready, and only then are the parts soldered, accounting for the actual assembly process to make any device or gadget work.
It is quite an intriguing process in electronics, and today we will discuss the different PCB assembly methods and how their functionality impact your cost savings.
Surface Mount Technology
Surface Mount Technology abbreviated to SMT, is the assembly process utilised for SMD (surface mount device) components since these don’t have leads. The concept works to eliminate making leads going through the PCBs. SMT is efficient, quick, and cost-effective even for the fabrication of small-sized, complex PCBs.
The parts are directly soldered onto the board with higher accuracy and specialisation. Thus, the possibility to mount more components increases with SMT. Space isn’t as big of a constraint as components tend to be smaller and fit both sides of the board.
Besides, SMT assembly can accommodate more pins, is cheaper than other methods like through-hole technology, and can process larger batches since it relies on automated manufacturing. However, it isn’t as suitable for boards that may be exposed to stress and vibrations.
Ideally, there are two types of through-hole technology components, and both have their distinct benefits. Here we quickly discuss the same:
- Axial Lead Components (ALC)
ALC features single or multiple leads designed to exit from one side of the components. When assembling on the circuit board, both ends get placed through different holes and are preferable for a compact fit.
- Radial Lead Components (RLC)
RLD usually projects outward from the body and is utilised in high-density boards. Since the component can stand out from the circuit board, it saves the axial space.
Advantages of Through-Hole Technology
Through-Hole Technology or THT isn’t a new concept and has been in use for decades. It is highly appropriate for specific scenarios and refers to drilling holes on the board to hold all electrical components together.
Drilling can be expensive and time-consuming and might also necessitate manual processes. It assembles boards that can withstand extreme mechanical stress, including vibrations and shocks. The procedure is also suitable to test and prototype. With this type of assembly method, attaching details to the inner layers of the circuit board gets pretty straightforward.
However, the price tag of circuit boards that undergo THT tends to be higher. But, the quality and the applications may justify the cost.
Due to the increasing complexity of PCB designs, an amalgamation of SMT and THT is catching up pace in the industry. With recent technological advancements, electronic devices are getting more complicated, and it is challenging for only a single type of PCB assembly method to cater to those unique needs. For this reason, boards assembled with hybrid technology use surface mounting and through-hole technology to make even the complex connections work.
In general, the costs can be higher and assembling times can be longer than SMT only. But, these may be necessary for custom boards where some surface mounting may be combined with through hole technology to suit specific requirements.
Get A Quote Today!
At AT&M, we have custom pricing for different project sizes and needs. The cost for PCB assembly usually depends on assembly type, assembly compliance, number of components, component package and size, processes required, batch size, any custom part prep, PCB layer and material, testing requirements, and shipping.
To get the best deal, keep these factors in mind in addition to assembly methods, and you can control your costing considerably. Besides, AT&M, a trusted name in PCB assembly, has the skills and knowledge to keep your costs low without compromising product quality.
Connect with us today on 089444 3288.