What are the challenges in printed circuit board assembly? 2021 Best GuidePosted on 2021-08-01
One of the great challenges of the electronics sector in market is to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. To win it, companies need to improve their manufacturing processes. Moreover, they need to minimizing errors and human errors during printed circuit board assembly. One of the ways to achieve this is SMT, or Surface Mount Technology, a technology common worldwide by companies seeking strategic advantages.
Why SMT is better one?
That’s because SMT allows the automated assembly and welding of PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). Moreover, it brings significant improvements in reliability and cost savings. In addition, SMT favors the miniaturization of components and greatly reduces the need for human intervention in assembly. This minimizes errors and avoids rework. But what is SMT actually?
What is SMT?
As the level of automation in the printed circuit board assembly of electronic circuit boards and circuits began to rise, the industry realized that traditional components made it difficult to assemble printed circuit boards because they did not solder directly to the boards. Instead, they were fixed by pins that passed through holes.
Today, SMT is common on a large scale, and it turned out to be advantageous, even in the miniaturization process. In addition, it saves space and allows the boards to receive many more components — something fundamental for the complexity of today’s electronic devices. If your company does not yet use SMT on the assembly line, it may be time to adopt it. As we’ll see, there are good reasons for doing this.
Advantages of SMT
By adopting SMT printed circuit board assembly, the industry gains advantages that guarantee competitive differentials in terms of quality, cost savings, reduces human intervention and more. Check out some of these benefits below:
Unlike the PTH process, in SMT the weld applies in an automated way, avoiding errors that can result in rework and even the loss of entire batches.
Manual processes, such as those that occur at the PTH, depend on the speed of human operators. These, as efficient as they are, are not capable of reproducing the speed of an automated process. Thus, the SMT assembly ends up being much faster.
Punching plates and inserting pins manually makes printed circuit board assembly much less precise compared to automatic production. Using SMT, the industry gains in terms of standardization (guaranteed by the strict control of the assembly steps. It comes with the AOI inspection), avoiding unnecessary stops and rework.
No matter how experienced, the human collaborator has limitations regarding the size of the components that need to be fitted to the boards. With SMT mounting, this limitation is no longer a problem. And it is possible to mount increasingly smaller and more complex boards, suitable for today’s devices.
Being an expert in printed circuit board assembly has many advantages, but the main one is the reduction of errors. In a specialized company, there are a series of methodologies that are applied and adapted for each of the clients. That way, you don’t need to do any kind of rework. One such tool is the process sheet.
Upon closing a turnkey contract, the company calls upon to align all expectations and collaborate in the preparation of the document. This will serve as a guide for employees at the time of assembly. Thus, the chances of error are drastically reduced and the final quality tends to be what the customer expects.
The main applications of printed circuit board assembly in SMT
SMT printed circuit board assembly allowed the electronics industry to take a qualitative leap, and made possible technologies that are present in the daily lives of billions of people today. The immense potential of SMT has revolutionized the most distinct areas in which electronic equipment is common.
SMT-mounted plates are present in devices as different from each other as:
- smartphones and airplanes
- being adopt in the home appliance industry
- in the automotive sector and even in the manufacture of high-precision medical devices. Many factories are even willing to replace all their PHT-based machinery with equipment capable of performing SMT assembly.
WHEN TO ADOPT SMT?
The main reason for industries to replace PTH technology with SMT printed circuit board assembly is the huge improvement in terms of speed, reliability and cost in the PCB assembly process. In fact, the STM assembly brings many advantages for the development and performance of the circuits, and it is better suit to the current scenario.
In a competitive market, where billions of demanding consumers expect the best performance from devices at an affordable cost, continuing to operate exclusively through PTH technology makes little sense. Thus, the ideal time to adopt STM assembly is precisely when your company realizes that it needs to keep up with industry trends, and compete on equal terms with other players in the segment.
We know that printed circuit board assembly is continually evolving. Therefore, the company that chooses to internalize the electro-electronic assembly services ends up having to update the machinery frequently. In a specialized company, this recycling happens naturally. This way, when closing a turnkey contract, it is certain that the most suitable equipment will be common to assemble the product.
What is the future of SMT printed circuit board assembly?
Therefore, the future of the electronics industry directly links to automation and miniaturization. It is correct to say that soon all companies will have to adopt SMT assembly, and the faster your business does this, the greater will be your chances of obtaining important competitive advantages in terms of quality and speed.
Today, in the printed circuit board assembly SMT technology allows virtually complete automated assembly for most boards, which ends up generating advantages for companies that adopt it. The market demands increasingly smaller and more complex boards, with a very high level of detail.
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