PCBA Manufacturing Process

PCBA Manufacturing Process: A Detailed and Informative Guideline

The modern-day electronics world depends heavily on the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) as its backbone. The miraculous invention has paved the advancement of electronics of all sorts. A PCB is a medium to transfer the current through its copper pathway and it dissipates the heat to keep the tiny yet highlycomplex electronic equipment on it in perfect condition.

The PCBs are arranged with various electronic components such as ICs, transformers, transmitters, etc. Once the PCB is mounted with these components, it is called the PCBA. Hence, the PCBA manufacturing process follows solder paste, picking and placement of the component, soldering, and final inspection stages.

If you are to get the best PCBA and PCB for your digital devices, you have to know this PCB assembly process thoroughly. FX PCB with its years of experience understands this need and thus, we present you the detailed guideline on the printed circuit board assembly process.

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What Is The Difference Between PCB and PCBA?

During our long working time in the PCB industry, we have seen a majority of people considering the PCB and PCBA the same thing. Thus, before we move to the PCBA manufacturing steps, let’s clarify the confusion you have.

The PCB is a bare substrate with copper or other metal on it working as a base to dissipate the heat. Also, it transfers and transmits data electronically. When a PCB is built, it is a bare component.

During the PCBA manufacturing, this bare PCB will be used as a base to mount various electric components. The list includes transistors, resistors, ICs, transmitters, etc. Once you mount the electric components on the PCB, it is called the PCBA.

You have to use soldering to complete the PCB assembly.

Steps to Follow For the PCBA Manufacturing Process

Almost all PCB and PCBA manufacturers follow a standard process to manufacture the PCBA. FX PCB is no exception to it. Our process includes solder pasting on the PCB base, placing the electronic components in the right place, soldering them with the PCB, checking the accuracy, final inspection, and delivery to customers.

The entire process is monitored closely to ensure 100% accuracy in the manufacturing process. Also, the automated engineering makes sure the entire steps are fast and quick for on-time delivery.

Solder Pasting:

When you get the PCB at hand, the temptation is high to instantly add the components to it. But, it is not possible and neither is a practical idea. You have to inspect the printed circuit board and add solder where it is essential.

Typically, you have to add the solder on the component pads using the solder screen.

If you don’t know what solder paste is, here’s the short answer-

It consists of flux and small solder grains to form a paste. The deposition of the solder paste on the specific process is similar to the printing process. Firstly, the solder screen will be placed right where you want to add the solder paste. The screen has a hole in it to see through it into the PCB. Then, a runner will move over the solder screen.

Finally, a small amount of solder paste will go through the screen hole and sit right over the PCB substrate. You have to control the solder deposition to ensure that the component pad isn’t clogged with too much of the solder paste.

Pick and Placement Process:

This process has two steps to follow-

  1. Adding the solder paste properly to hold the components.
  2. Passing the entire circuit board into the pick and place process.

The solder paste uses its tension and adhesiveness to accommodate the components right in their positions without movement. Also, you have to ensure that the circuit board isn’t jolted or the components will move and get out of their positioning.

Then, at the final stage, the circuit board passes through the pick and place machine. It has reels holding the components. As the circuit boards pass through it, the reel will correctly position the electronic components on the board. It follows the pre-designed model for each PCBA.

Some machines will add glue in doted form for additional security of the components. It is especially essential for wave soldering. Although the connection between the components and the circuit board is made secure with the glue, it makes any repairing process difficult.

You will have to drive the PCBA design information and program it to the pick and place machine properly. Otherwise, the assembly won’t be accurate.

Soldering Process:

Once you have added all the necessary electric components on the circuit board using a pick and place machine, you have to solder them. Our engineers and workers will pass through the component added PCB through the automated soldering machine.

Many manufacturers will use the wave soldering process but these days it has become an outdated process. More importantly, the surface mount components (SMC) aren’t best for wave soldering. Hence, most PCBA manufacturers use the reflow soldering technique.

Note: If the assembly follows wave soldering, it doesn’t need any solder paste processing. The wave solder will add the essential soldering material to the circuit board.

Testing and Feedback:

Once the soldering is complete, the entire assembly of the PCB to its components is thoroughly observed and checked. The manual inspection isn’t a valid option here. The Surface Mount Components (SMC) has hundreds of various components and you can’t manually check them.

FX PCB uses automatic optical inspection (AOI) for the detailed and mostaccurate inspection of the soldered components. There are inspection machines that will check the soldering joints and report where the components need re-soldering.

Finally, the entire PCBA setup is tested before delivery. There are multiple ways and methods for testing the entire PCBA setup. Also, it is essential to monitor the component outputs after soldering. It will decide whether or not the entire assembly process is satisfactory.

The manufacturers use the optical inspection to find if the assembly has any connection failure. Once the inspection is completed and the performance is satisfactory, the PCBA is packed for delivery.

Final Words

In this guideline, we have simplified the PCBA manufacturing process, thanks to our engineering output. The entire process is optimized to keep the defects at the lowest level. Hence, FX PCB follows the standard and exceeds it to offer you the highest-quality PCB and PCBA manufacturing at the most competitive pricing.

You can perform loads of device production with the PCB assembly and boost your business with flawless PCBAs for durable performance.

Peter Gong
Peter Gong

Author

What Is PCBA

What Is PCBA? : Its Benefits and Difference with PCB

PCBA stands for Printed Circuit Board Assembly. Up to this meaning, it’s all fine. But the real problem starts right from here. Many, in fact, most people don’t understand the true meaning and purpose of the PCBA. And many would even confuse it with the PCB.

So, we decided to write on what is PCBA. Of course, it has a close connection with the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). A PCB refers to an electronic pad designed to transmit electronic signals while dissipating the heat generated due to the digital transmission.

And the PCBA refers to the complete electronic board after all of its components are assembled completely. It has several incredible benefits that make it a much sought-after element in the communicating and electronics industry.

However, it has key differences with the PCB. A PCB is void of any electrical components whereas the PCBA refers to the complete board assembly.

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What Is PCBA?

A PCB consists of non-insulating and heat-resistant materials. It has a substrate that dissipates the heat to keep the entire setup cool and high-performing. The upper section has conductive materials such as copper to transmit the signal electronically from one part to another.

The substrate is made of different elements and it works to dissipate heat. However, the PCB is an incomplete construction as it doesn’t have the electronic components, not on it.

The PCBA, on the other end, is a complete assembly. You have to assemble the PCB, once it is ready. The assembling requires both passive and active components. The list of these electronic components include-

  • Resistor
  • SMD capacitor
  • Transformer
  • Diode
  • ICs
  • Transmitter

You have to mount these components on the printed circuit board to prepare the fully usable circuit boards. And this assembled circuit board is the PCBA we are referring to until now. Also, note that the electronic components can be of two types. These types are-

  1. SMD components: It refers to surface mount devices. You have to use the surface mount technology to install these components on the PCB. You can identify the SMD components by measuring the number of pins in the package.
  2. Through-hole components: Thru-hole or through-hole components have leads in them. The leads are inserted through the PCB board surface. You have to drill holes on the PCB surface to insert the thru-hole components into it.

The assembly of the printed circuit board is done in two ways. You may opt for automated soldering to mount the electronic components on the PCB. The most popular soldering technology is wave soldering. It is used for the conventional thru-hole components.

Another widespread technology to solder the components on the PCB is the Reflow soldering technique. It is used for SMD components mostly. You may also use mixed soldering technology. Some expert professionals will use hand soldering too. But it is a quite difficult task.

When you complete the soldering or assembling of the electronic components on the printed circuit board, it is referred to as the PCBA or Printed Circuit Board Assembly. Until you prepare the PCBA, the PCB isn’t ready for any application. And when you have prepared the PCBA, you can use it for use on different devices.

Difference Between the PCBA and PCB

PCBA

If you are in the electronics, communication device manufacturing, or PCB industry, you have to know the difference between PCBA and PCB. It would help you pick the right PCB for your purpose.

  1. The printed circuit board is a surface only with insulation and a heat-dissipating layer. The metal surface sits on top of the dielectric part. It is void of any electrical components.
  2. The PCBA is built on the printed circuit board (PCB). To prepare the PCBA you have to work over the PCB.
  3. The printed circuit board can be of different kinds. It depends on the material used to prepare its substrate. You can find metal, ceramic, or FR4 PCBs. Also, it can be flexible or rigid as well as single or dual based.

Many manufacturers will outsource the PCB from different companies and finish the PCBA on their own. Also, only a few companies are capable of completing the assembly of electronic components assembly on the PCB.

Nonetheless, you can depend on us to get your PCB and PCBA done. FX PCB with 10+ years of useful experience in printed circuit board manufacturing, we also prepare PCBAs. It will surely cater to your device-making needs.

What To Consider For the Best PCB for PCBA Manufacturer

When you outsource the customized PCB prototype to prepare the PCBA, you have to look at a few factors closely.

  • The PCB company should be dedicated to manufacturing printed circuit boards, instead of a simple broker.
  • Many companies will limit your order. It is called Minimum Order Limit (MOL). A good circuit board manufacturer will never limit your quantity to order the printed boards. You should be able to order as minimum or as high as you want.
  • For PCBA manufacturing, the company has to know different PCB soldering techniques. It includes SMT, thru-hole, and hand soldering.
  • The lead time is another important consideration. You must get the delivery of PCBAs on time. Also, the delivery must come with the details for DFM (Design for Manufacturability). The DFM is a must since you can’t manufacture your desired device without it.
  • The pricing of the PCBA must be competitive and negotiable. You should be able to bargain with the manufacturer to get the best pricing.

Are you wondering where to get a PCBA supplier who puts tick marks in these requirements? Well, FX PCB is here to meet your demands. Our professional engineering and the working team prepares various PCBs and assemble them with electronic components.

Also, we have competitive pricing and no order limit. You can get from 100s to 100000s of PCB fully assembled. And last but not least. FX PCB guarantees you on-time delivery with every part tested and certified for quality.

Conclusion

You should now have the best idea of what is PCBA. It is the second part of manufacturing your desired devices. Once you have the PCB substrate, you can organize the various components such as a transistor, transformers, ICs, on the circuit board. And this assembly is the PCBA.

The two techniques for PCBA are the SMT and thru-hole. You have to cautious about the proper mounting of these components. And at FX PCB you are guaranteed to get the most accurate and precise PCBAs in competitive pricing and on time.

Peter Gong
Peter Gong

Author