Have you ever wondered how your small gadgets work and do so much for you? Well, it is because of the tiny electronic components inside them which are all attached in a board. This board is what is known as printed circuit board or PCB. PCB assembly is a fast- growing industry in today’s modern world and this article aims to give an overview of printed circuit boards and help you understand the subject.
What is a printed circuit board or PCB?
If you have once tried to open an electronic device,for instance a radio, what you will see inside is a board with several wires connected in it. That is the PCB. It is used to mechanically support electronic components and electrically connect these with the use of pads, conductive tracks, and other pieces etched from copper sheets which are laminated against a non-conductive substrate. However, you really cannot call a board with a few copper connections as PCB; the more proper term would be PWB or printed wiring board. Only if the board has electronic components attached to it, it is called printed circuit assembly (PCA) or circuit card assembly (CCA). But then, PCB is the most common and informal term used to refer to it, whether it is a bare or assembled board.
Different devices use a different kind of PCB. Simpler devices use single sided PCB’s. There are also double sided and multi-layer PCB’s. Though the process of PCB assembly can be done manually by skilled workers, larger quantity production may require the use of CAM or computer-aided manufacturing software.
Why do companies need PCB assembly services?
Manufacturers of electronic devices outsource Pcbnet for the following reasons: cost, quality, expertise, and improvements with the PCB designs. Though some companies assemble their own printed circuit boards for their products, there are many electronics manufacturers nowadays that specialize in PCB fabrication, and they offer high quality PCB’s with even better designs. So instead of spending for machines and in hiring skilled people for PCB fabrication, manufacturers acquire the services of these companies.
Process of PCB fabrication
Assembling a printed circuit board is a long and extensive process. It starts first by printing the initial solder paste to the PCB with the use of stencil. Then, the chips are individually placed on the PCB. The circuit board will then go through a melting process in a reflow oven. This will bind the chips to the PCB.
The fourth step would be conformal coating of the PCB. A machine mainly made for this process provides a protective layer of coating on the printed circuit board. Once it is coated, the PCB will undergo inspection. Even the process of inspecting the materials are now automated. PCB manufacturers use automatic optical inspection (AOI) and automatic x-ray inspection (AXI). If any defects were found, the PCB will be reworked.
There are also two basic methods used in PCB assembly: surface mount technology (SMT) and plated through-hole construction (PTH). SMT consumes less space, thus it is often used in producing sleeker gadgets. On the other hand, PTH provides strength for any component making it more durable than others. Though surface mounting is more popular today, the use of both methods is possible and yields greater results.
PCB assembly is used in almost all industries today. It is used in manufacturing electronic devices such as cellular phones, I-pods, laptop computers, televisions, game consoles, and a whole lot more. It is even used in automobiles. Wide this wide range of industry that utilizes PCB’s, it is only right that manufacturers ensure the quality of these circuit boards.
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