Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are the green (black, orange, or gold) part inside your electronic device with all the small cylindrical chips in different colors. Believe it or not, you can find these PCBs in every electrical appliance that you can see around you. They are present in your cell phones, televisions, microwave over, dishwasher and even your smallest flash drive. They range from the biggest to smallest PCBs that you can imagine.
We’d like to tell you something important regarding these boards though – before you can use your electronic device according to its function, those PCBs that make them work undergo many stages. Each stage uses different technologies to produce the PCBs.
The designing process is the lay outing of the PCB. In this stage, the designing engineer creates the plan for the PCB manufacturing. The plan includes the dimensions and quantity of the PCBs, stencil specifications, the necessary electronic components, the manufacturing procedures and the assembly method.
It is as essential as the other stages, probably the most important phase of the whole process. In this stage, careful and correct planning and designing are very important for quality outcomes of the printed circuit board.
The manufacturing process of PCBs is the actual production of the printed circuit boards. This is the stage where the fiberglass materials are stacked together with copper foil materials to form the board. Manufacturing companies use CNC machines to drill holes on the panel boards, pressure machines to compress and create multi-layered boards and etching procedures to establish the electronic circuitry.
After the printed circuit boards are printed with copper plating, the manufacturing team forwards the PCBs to the assembly team. In most manufacturing companies, they outsource assembly services to mount components into the boards while others have their own assembly unit department.
PCB Manufacturing companies use two known mounting technologies today. These mounting technologies are the through-hole (TMT) and surface mount technology (SMT).
Through-Hole Mounting Technology
Through-hole is the oldest, tried-and-tested technology when it comes to mounting electronic components. It is commonly used on electronic devices that require strong bond between the components and the PCB. Usually, these devices are exposed to constant wear and tear and environmental stresses.
Another great example of through-hole technology is the manufacturing of prototypes. Machines used in TMT are easier to change their settings compared to SMT machines. In addition, reworks on defective circuitry are easier since the assembly team can use manual reworks to reestablish the correct connections or correct whatever errors made during the mounting process.
Surface Mount Technology
It is the newest technology in mounting electronic components on the printed circuit boards. In SMT, the PCBs do not have holes on them. Instead, the electronic components are mounted using solder pads. From there, the PCBs with the components temporarily attach to the board are brought to the reflow oven to melt the solder paste and bond the components to the board.
This technology is best in mass production of electronic products. It is also used on electronics that require complex PCBs and to the devices that need more than a single-sided PCB. Examples of these electronic devices are computer hardware and phones.
Types Of PCBs
PCBs can be single sided and double sided. The single sided PCB manufacturing uses one side of the board to mount the components while the double-sided PCBs have electronic components on both sides of the board. Usually, TMT produces single sided while SMT produces both single and double-sided PCBs.
Perhaps, just like many others who we’ve talked to, you might have heard or read on the internet that printed circuit boards may become obsolete. However, this is impossible to happen since people are still using technology and electronics in everyday activities.
If you’d like to know more about these remarkable components (and discover other reasons why they’re here to stay), don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
A PCB is one of the fundamental parts of electronic equipment. The printed circuit boards are one of the most important components in the world of electronics today. Visit us at www.pcbnet.com for more details.