Choosing the right PCB Assembly process is important because this decision directly affects the efficiency and cost of the manufacturing process as well as the quality and performance of the application.
PCB assembly is usually performed using one of two methods: surface-mount techniques or through-hole fabrication. Surface mount technology is the most widely used PCB component. Through-hole manufacturing is less used but still popular, especially in certain industries.
The process by which you choose a PCB assembly process depends on many factors. To help you make the right choice, we’ve put together this short guide to choosing the right PCB assembly process.
PCB assembly: surface mount technology
Surface mounting is the most commonly used PCB assembly process. It is used in many electronics, from USB flash drives and smartphones to medical devices and portable navigation systems.
L This PCB assembly process allows the manufacture of smaller and smaller products. If space is at a premium, this is your best bet if your design has components such as resistors and diodes.
L Surface mount technology enables a higher degree of automation, which means boards can be assembled at a faster rate. This enables you to process PCBS in large volumes and is more cost effective than through-hole component placement.
L If you have unique requirements, surface mount technology is likely to be highly customizable and therefore the right choice. If you need a custom designed PCB, this process is flexible and powerful enough to provide the desired results.
L With surface mount technology, components can be fixed on both sides of the circuit board. This double-sided circuit capability means you can apply more complex circuits without having to extend the range of applications.
PCB assembly: through hole manufacturing
Although through-hole manufacturing is used less and less, it is still a common PCB assembly process.
PCB components manufactured using through-holes are used for large components, such as transformers, semiconductors and electrolytic capacitors, and provide a stronger bond between the board and the application.
As a result, through-hole manufacturing provides higher levels of durability and reliability. This added security makes the process the preferred option for applications used in sectors such as aerospace and the military industry.
L If your application must be subjected to high levels of pressure during operation (either mechanical or environmental), the best choice for PCB assembly is through-hole fabrication.
L If your application must run at high speed and at the highest level under these conditions, through-hole manufacturing may be the right process for you.
L If your application must operate at both high and low temperatures, the higher strength, durability and reliability of through-hole manufacturing may be your best choice.
If it is necessary to operate under high pressure and maintain performance, through-hole manufacturing may be the best PCB assembly process for your application.
In addition, due to constant innovation and the growing demand for increasingly complex electronics that require increasingly complex, integrated, and smaller PCBS, your application may require both types of PCB assembly technologies. This process is called “hybrid technology”.