Contract manufacturing is a service that becomes more and more popular. No surprise there, because as it turns out outsourcing professional EMS (Electronics Manufacturing Service) provider involves fewer expenses and saves a lot of time from the perspective of an entrepreneur.
Most small and medium-size companies use contract manufacturing to avoid making an entire production line and undergoing the hiring process. One of the tasks that are commonly contracted is PCB Assembly and Production.
What is PCB?
Acronym “PCB” stands for Printed Circuit Board. These boards are used in electronics that surround out on a day-to-day basis. These little green chips are the hearts of our smartphones, for example. Sometimes they can be smaller than a thumbnail. Printed circuit boards are made of a substrate (base material that can alter from PCB to PCB), conductive copper foil, solder mask that keeps all of the mounted elements in place, and silkscreen which is used as the final layer. Of course, there are several types of printed circuit boards. The most commonly manufactured PCBs are called: rigid PCB, metal core PCB, and flexible PCB. They differ in size, materials used, and the type of technology used while manufacturing.
What is PCBA?
PCBA is a process of assembling components on PCB. There is a Surface Mount Technology and Thru-Hole Technology, which are known to be the most commonly used technologies to manufacture PCBs. What is worth mentioning, experienced manufacturers can also use mixed technologies in the process of manufacturing printed circuit boards.
Surface Mount Technology is called SMD for short. It comes from “Surface Mount Device”. This technology is used mostly to mount sensitive and small-scale components. On the other hand, Thru-Hole Technology (THT) is used when there are larger components at stake. THT works best with leads and wires which are plugged in the manufacturing process through holes made in the boards. Under the chosen manufacturing technology, the boards have to go through the different assembly processes.
The process of PCBA differs depending on the specific technology but some of the steps are universal to all of the processes of making printed circuit boards. The first step is applying a solder paste to the board. Then the components are placed on the board (usually by a pick and place machine). The next process the board undergoes is called reflow soldering which results in adhering the components to the board. Then it is time to make a quality control which consists of manual checks and both automatic and x-ray inspection. Final inspection, as well as the functional test, takes place after inserting all the through-hole components to the board.
When outsourcing an EMS provider is a good idea?
Fields of business that outsource electronic manufacturing services are often not associated with the production of electronic devices. Contract manufacturing is the best option for companies that do not have their production lines.
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