PCBA Factory: Complete the last step of circuit art
Circuit boards are in just about every piece of electronics in our lives. The process of manufacturing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is complex and requires different stages and materials in order to become an element of the circuit to assemble.
But this is just half of the process of having a functional electronic circuit; the assembly of components in the last and crucial part of what needs to be done in order to have the board. Let’s take a dive into this process and what a PCBA factory does to find out more about this and understand its importance.
What is PCBA?
When people talk about PCBA, sometimes there is confusion between the terms PCB and PCBA. It is important to understand that PCB assembly, hence PCBA, is the last stage towards the creation of a functional electronic circuit board. What a PCBA factory does includes additional flows in terms of adding the necessary components and delivery of the final product as will be described below.
The usage of PCBA
PCBA will add the necessary parts to a blank PCB and will ensure that the entire circuit is functional attending to the designer’s requirements and comply with current standards to have safety and quality for the end circuit. PCBA guarantees that there are no shorts or failures on the component assembly and tests that the board provides the expected and specified electrical behavior.
What is a PCBA factory?
Some PCB factories provide the service of assembling the components, which makes them a PCBA factory. A PCBA factory is an entity that can provide edge technology series of services dedicated to create a fully functional and safe PCBA. Those services will be described later.
What does a PCBA factory do?
A PCBA factory will manufacture your PCB according to the design rules and quality standards and will assemble several components within the board that include various packages with different technologies, such as Thru-Hole (THT) or Surface Mounting (SMT). This includes the testing an quality assurance of the end product.
Why choose PCBA produced by factory for your business?
An electronic circuit is an important part of the systems and market segments of today’s world. Industries such as Automotive or Telecomm need to guarantee safety at the time of use. Hence, the need to have proper and qualified end products for the end customers.
A PCBA factory is suitable for your business because it allows you to jump your prototype to the end design of a product that you want to sell without complications of having to automate and create the electronics by yourself. Consider the PCBA factory an ally for your production strategy and a partner that can help you refine and enable your designs for mass production.
What is the production process of PCBA in PCBA factory?
There are many processes involved in PCBA production, but in order to better understand how this flow works let’s imagine we have a tour into a PCBA factory.
-Step 1: Air Quality Control
The fist step for a PCBA cleaning is to ensure the cleanliness of the surrounding air in the assembly lines. Therefore, a PCBA factory will ensure that the air quality standards are met and will have all its employees undergo an air shot before entering into the line with the proper clothes as per standards.
-Step 2: PCB initial revision
The initial stage of the component assembly at a PCBA factory requires to verify that the PCB to be assembled has all of its pads on their right locations with the use of edge vision automated machines within the assembly line.
-Step 3: Component placement
After initial revision, a PCBA factory approved PCB will go into a pick and place machine to have all of its SMT components placed with the necessary soldering paste according to the desired position and rotation values. As interesting information a PCBA factory can have pick and place machines that can assemble up to 200,000 components per hour!
-Step 4: Soldering the components
The last stage of the assembly will have the assembly to be “baked” with the use of a reflow oven in order to have all the placed components’ bonds together and connect them appropriately.
-Step 5: COB Bonding
A PCBA factory has the necessary equipment and elements to assemble very small wire bonds and it depends of the PCBA requirements. Some PCBs not only consist of SMT components but also THT and here it is that they will be soldered and bonded to the PCBA.
If this stage is needed, special operator will solder micro cables with the aid of special machines into the circuit. In this phase, special components such as MCUs or MPUs are programmed with the designated firmware and tested.
-Step 6: Q&A Inspection
In this stage the PCBA factory does includes a very detailed and meticulous inspection of the finalized products before they are packaged. It sometimes and depending on the SMT technology (e.g. BGA) will include X-Ray inspection in order to verify the bonding of some integrated circuits and verify that they were attached to the board properly.
In addition, a PCBA factory will always look for all the materials used for assembly are kept under the right temperature conditions (e.g. solder paste).
-Step 7: Packaging
Lastly, a PCBA factory can provide special packaging of terminated products, such as having all the assembled boards inside independent anti-static bags with vacuum packaging.
What services can the PCBA factory provide?
Within the main services a PCBA factory you can have the following ones:
-Fast prototyping and production (PCBA manufacturing in a few days)
-Component Assembly (THT & SMT)
-Quality Assurance (X-ray inspection and testing)
-Equipment Assembly (PCB Equipment connection and assembly)
How to choose the best PCBA factory?
When choosing the right PCBA factory, you must take into account different key factors that have to match your product production decisions.
It is obvious that the PCBA quality is important, meaning that it can comply with all the norms and standards it was designed to support, but also material sourcing and timing become success point to consider.
When talking about PCBA, a PCBA factory has plenty of resources and several components that they can allocate and source within a detailed production plan or, even use components from their own assembly lines, which can become crucial at the time of a production peak.
You must make sure that the materials come from appropriate manufacturer channels and that the board ensures the quality you have asked for.