How to speed up PCB production time?

Most of the mass-produced electronic hardware today is manufactured using surface mount technology or SMT, as it is often called. Not without reason! In addition to providing many other advantages, SMT PCB can go a long way in speeding up PCB production times.


Surface mount technology

Basic Surface Mount Technology (SMT) The basic through-hole manufacturing concept continues to provide significant improvements. By using SMT, the PCB does not need to be drilled into it. Instead, what they do is they use solder paste. In addition to adding a lot of speed, this significantly simplifies the process. While SMT mounting components may not have the strength of through-hole mounting, they offer many other advantages to offset this problem.

Surface mount technology goes through a 5-step process as follows: 1. PCB production – This is stage 2 where the PCB actually produces solder joints. The solder is deposited on the pad, allowing the component to be fixed to the circuit board 3. With the help of a machine, the components are placed on precise solder joints. Bake PCB to harden solder 5. Check the completed components

Differences between SMT and through-hole include:

The widespread spatial problem in through-hole installations is solved by using surface mount technology. SMT also provides design flexibility because it gives PCB designers the freedom to create dedicated circuits. The smaller component size means that more components can fit on a single board and fewer boards are required.

Components in SMT installations are leadless. The shorter the lead length of the surface mount element, the lower the propagation delay and the lower the packaging noise.

The density of components per unit area is higher because it allows components to be mounted on both sides.

It is suitable for mass production, thus reducing costs.

Reduction in size increases circuit speed. This is actually one of the main reasons most manufacturers choose this approach.

The surface tension of the molten solder pulls the element into alignment with the pad. This in turn automatically corrects any small errors that may have occurred in component placement.

SMT has proven to be more stable in cases of vibration or high vibration.

SMT parts usually cost less than similar through-hole parts.

Importantly, SMT can greatly reduce production times because no drilling is required. In addition, SMT components can be placed at a rate of thousands per hour, compared to less than a thousand through hole installations. This, in turn, leads to products being manufactured at the desired speed, which further reduces time to market. If you are thinking of speeding up PCB production times, SMT is the obvious answer. Through the use of design and Manufacture (DFM) software tools, the need for rework and redesign of complex circuits is significantly reduced, further increasing speed and the possibility of complex designs.

All of this is not to say that SMT doesn’t have inherent drawbacks. SMT may be unreliable when used as the only method of attachment for parts that face significant mechanical stress. Components that generate large amounts of heat or withstand high electrical loads cannot be installed using SMT. This is because solder can melt at high temperatures. Therefore, through-hole installations may continue to be used in cases where special mechanical, electrical, and thermal factors render SMT ineffective. In addition, SMT is not suitable for prototyping because components may need to be added or replaced during the prototyping phase, and high component density boards may be difficult to support.

Use the SMT

With the strong advantages that SMT offers, it is surprising that they have become today’s dominant design and manufacturing standard. Basically they can be used in any situation where high reliability and high volume PCBS are needed.