Here’s something we would like you to know right away – the process of creating a printed circuit board (PCB) is not simple and may take time. While there are people who can create their own PCBs using the proper materials, they are often not as complex when compared to the ones created using a machine. This article will go through the stages involved in the PCB assembly process.
PCB assembly is the process of soldering electronic components into the circuit board. This is not automatically the same as PCB manufacturing, which involves several processes, including designing the PCB and actually creating the prototype. The right components have to be soldered on the boards before they can be used in different gadgets and electronic equipment. The assembly process and the type of components depend on what type of PCB it is and the electronic device the PCB will be connected to.
Kinds Of PCB Assembly Process
When the printed circuit board is done, it is time for the different electronic components to be connected to it so that it would actually function.
There are two kinds of methods that can be used in the assembly process:
1.Surface-mount technology – components are put on lands or pads on the external part of the board.
2.Through-hole technology – component leads are placed into the holes.
The component leads in both construction methods are still mechanically and electrically attached to the PCB using molten metal solder. The process on how the components will be soldered depends on the volume of PCBs that have to be assembled. For producing boards in bulk, machine placement is the best process to solder components to the PCB. This is usually done with reflow ovens or bulk wave soldering. On the other hand, if it is for small volume production, soldering using the hands will work well in most cases.
Often, both surface-mount and through-hole technologies need to be done in one printed circuit board because some of the necessary electronic components are only part of surface-mount packages and the others are only obtainable in through-hole packages. If the electronic components are likely to experience some physical stress, it is good to use the through-hole technology in the assembly so that the electronic components would be stronger. If the PCB will not have to experience physical stress, then it is more sensible to use surface-mount technology in the assembly process because this takes up less space on the circuit board.
Testing The PCBs
When all the electrical components have been completely assembled on the printed circuit board, it would be best to ensure that it works properly and performs like it should. There are certain ways to test the PCBs after being assembled. Here are some of them:
1. Visual Inspection (Power Off)
This simple test can ensure that all the electrical components are in their proper places on the board. This is also the right time to re-check every soldering.
2. Analog Signature Analysis (Power Off)
This is an effective fault diagnosis method for thorough fault-finding of a PCB. This is done by applying a current-limited sine wave signal to suitable points or electrical components on the board being tested using touch-probes.
3. In-Circuit Test (Power On)
This test is done by checking different physical measurements on the PCB such as frequency, voltage, etc.
4. Functional Test (Power On)
This test is done to check that the board really does what it is meant to do.
All is not lost if a printed circuit board fails any of these tests. Find out the source of the problem and change the failing board and/or electrical components so it could pass. In the PCB industry, this is sometimes called reworking.
If you would like to know more about PCBs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Of course, we’re also open to partnering with you in pursuing your own manufacturing or entrepreneurial goals.