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Scaling Up: Strategies for High-Volume PCB Assembly

Introduction:

As we all know electrical and digital devices are becoming the basic needs of many technology based industries such as IoTs, robotics, portable electronics, telecommunications, medical, new energy, electric vehicles., etc., and all these electronic devices rely on printed circuit boards. So the demand for PCBs is increasing every year and the customers require the PCB assembly in big quantities.

The manufacturers of PCB are moving towards the practices of high-volume PCB fabrication and assembly. In this process, the manufacturers can assemble circuit boards from 1000 to 100,000 or even more PCB boards in a single cycle.

PCB Assembly

Assembly of high-volume PCBs has few advantages. One of them is meeting huge demands from customers in a short production cycle. Because you can produce a high quantity of PCBs in one cycle, it will save you time comparing production of several batches. Another main advantage is producing the PCBs in high volume will also reduce your cost because we can get the best efficients with the automatic production process. Besides, the base material such as PCB board and components are also cheaper with high volume production.  And furthermore, you will have good quality because the quality of every PCB assembly remains the same throughout the whole process.

In this article you will find all the important information in the manufacturing of high-volume PCB assembly. Some of the important approaches that a manufacturer can adopt are following.




Design for Manufacturability (DFM)

The very first step in manufacturing the PCB is the confirmation of the design of the PCB fabrication and PCB assembly. The design of the PCB assembly has different components like what type of materials we are using and it also highlights the placement of the components on board.

The DFM may also help the manufacturer to find out any fault or wrong material that should not be used. With proper DFM of the high-volume PCB assembly, the customer can avoid any mistakes in production and any huge loss because of any hidden errors.

Use Standard PCB Board Size

You should use the board of appropriate size if you want to produce the high-volume PCBs. You should be careful in the selection of the dimensions of PCB boards because the too large or too small sized boards may reduce the utilization rate of the base material, and also reduce the production speed in high volume PCB fabrication and assembly.

For this purpose the PCB boards of standard sizes are used. The standard size of the board is considered to be 50*50mm to 500*500mm which is very convenient in PCB fabrication and assembly, then it will save your time and cost in high-volume PCB assembly.



Selection of Components

What components to be used in the assembly of the PCB is the next important step. Because the components will determine the overall quality of the PCB board. The components on each board will remain the same throughout the whole process.

Generally speaking, we should choose the most commonly used brands since they can supply high volume components in stable high quality with competitive pricing. Also, choose the proper components package, not too small nor too big, and SMD components should be chosen rather than PTH components since it is very time consuming in PTH components PCB assembly.

Placement of the Components

After the selection of the components, the placement of the components is the next step. However, the placement of the component could be more difficult than it looks because the manufacturers have to make compromises between manufacturing requirements and placement performance requirements.

Parts should be placed in such a way that the testing and inspection of the components would be easy. It is one of the important steps in high-volume PCB assembly because it will make sure that components are placed in the right manner on all the boards, they are easy to assemble and test.

PCB Assembly



Automated Assembly Process

The automated process is preferable to the manual assembly process. The PCB manufacturer should have all the required technologies and automated machines that make the assembly process helpful, more reliable and efficient.

Various devices, such as automated solder paste machines, SMT pick and place machines, and reflow solder machines, can assist in the assembly process. They serve a variety of functions, such as using an automated solder paste machine to print solder paste on the PCB surface automatically, using a pick and place machine to place the components on the PCB pads and using a reflow soldering machine to solid connections after solder melting. The whole process can be fully automatic, so it is very helpful to make high volume PCB assembly in good quality and high efficiency.

Surface Mount Technology Preferred

To assemble the components on board, the surface mount technology is usually preferred over the through-hole technology. Because in through-hole technology you will have to put components pins in the boards to assemble the components which is very time-consuming, but in surface mount technology there is no need to insert components pins because this is the automatic technology and will assemble the components directly on PCB boards.

It will save your time and cost as you want to produce the high-volume of PCB boards assembly. Therefore, you should be careful in choosing the technology to assemble your boards, try best not use through hole assembly if possible.



Automated Testing and Inspection

After the final assembly of the boards, the last step is to test the functionality of the PCB boards. You can inspect the boards with the help of various technologies like automated visual inspections (AOI), In-circuit test (ICT) and functional testing (FCT).

The automated visual inspection is the most preferred one because it can check the errors through the cameras that have been installed on them. It is a must to do step in the PCB board assembly because it makes sure that your high-volume PCB assembly has no detects and errors in it. And then there is an electrical open/short test and functional test which makes sure that all the PCBs are working perfectly fine.

Conclusion

As the demand for PCBs are increasing in every organization and industry, the manufacturers should also find different ways in which he can manufacture the high-volume PCB assembly in good quality, quick lead time and low cost. Because in this way he could save his time and cost and will produce the high-volume of good quality PCBs. For this purpose he has to make sure that he is using the right components and latest technologies in high volume PCB assembly and production.

Engr Fahad

My name is Shahzada Fahad and I am an Electrical Engineer. I have been doing Job in UAE as a site engineer in an Electrical Construction Company. Currently, I am running my own YouTube channel "Electronic Clinic", and managing this Website. My Hobbies are * Watching Movies * Music * Martial Arts * Photography * Travelling * Make Sketches and so on...

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