Printed circuit board assembly: 3 methods to do it!

Printed circuit board assembly is an electronic manufacturing process in which individual electronic components are soldered onto the surface of a printed circuit board (PCB).

The PCB, which can be made of fiberglass or epoxy resin is designed to support the components and provide connections between them. The components are usually soldered to the PCB by hand or machine. The final step is to connect the boards to each other and to external cables or wires via connectors such as screw terminals, wire wrap pins, or ribbon cables.

SMT vs THT vs mixed technology

PCB assembly is the final step of PCB manufacturing, and it requires a lot of attention and accuracy. Properly assembled printed circuit boards ensure that the signals and power are reaching their exact destinations. The three most used methods of printed circuit board assembly are through-hole technology (THT), surface-mount technology (SMT), and mixed technology.

The first step of PCB assembly involves the soldering of components on a PCB. The different assembly techniques can be used for this purpose. They are typically classified into 3 types:

Surface mount technology (SMT)

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) is a method of electronic component assembly in which the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface (hence the name surface mount) of printed circuit boards. In contrast, through-hole mounting involves placing components with male pins or leads on both sides of a board by means of holes drilled in it. SMT’s advantages include low cost, small size, and high reliability.

Through-hole technology (THT)

Through-hole technology for PCB assembly is a traditional method of soldering components to a printed circuit board (PCB). A PCB is made of a layer of copper laminated onto an insulating substrate. The copper layer is etched with holes called “pads” or “plated through holes” (PTH). Components are attached to the pads by inserting leads through these holes and then soldering them to the pads. This method of construction has been used since the 1950s and remains popular today, although surface mount technologies have become more widespread in recent years.

Mixed technology

The most common method is the surface mount technology which uses electronic devices that are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of a printed circuit board (PCB). The other two methods involve soldering components with leads through the holes in a PCB and using both SMT and THT technologies to build a single circuit board respectively.

Locating the right printed circuit board assembly provider

The first step to choosing the right PCB assembly company is to understand what you need.

There are several factors to consider when selecting an assembly partner.

  • The first is the complexity of the design, which can vary depending on whether the part is simple or complex.
  • Second, you’ll want to know how fast your company needs the boards. The faster you need them, the more expensive it will be for your partner to deliver on time. For example, if you need your boards within a week, it will cost more than if you just need them in two weeks or more.
  • Third, you need to think about what components go into your design. If there are complex components (such as microprocessor chips), then this will make your PCB assembly cost higher because it requires more specialized equipment and training for workers who assemble them correctly.
  • Fourth, think about how many units of each type of board you have or will need in future production runs.
  • Fifth, consider how many layers make up your circuit boards? More layers mean more steps and thus higher costs when it comes to assembling them.