What is PCBA - The Process, Techniques and Technology

What is PCBA – the process, techniques and technology

Let’s begin this tutorial by responding to what is PCBA. The term PCBA stands for printed circuit board assembly, which is the process of connecting or assembling electrical parts on a printed circuit board. An electric board that carries impulses is referred to as a PCB. PCBA, on the other hand, refers to the full panel with electronic parts included. 

Consequently, the primary distinction between a PCB and a PCBA is that the latter is the full assemblage of all pieces, whilst the other excludes electronic parts. We will look at more differences later in the article, but first:

Table of Contents

What does PCBA stand for?


As hinted earlier when answering what is PCBA, for printed circuit board assembly, it serves as an abbreviation. It’s an entire printed circuit board construction. These essential technical parts are necessary for PCB fabrication:

  • Transmitter
  • ICs
  • Diode
  • Transformer
  • SMD capacitor
  • Resistor
  • Soldering materials
  • Soldering flux
  • Soldering equipment

For a PCB to be fully functional, several aspects are essential during the production line. The assembled board is what we term the PCBA. Typically, electrical components can be of two types:

  • Through-hole
  • SMT

What’s the key difference between PCBA and PCB?

When looking at what is PCBA and PCB, you can note an essential difference between the two. For starters, a PCB doesn’t have electrical components. A PCBA does. A PCB only has a heat-dissipating layer and an insulated surface. Its metal surface is on top of the dielectric section.

Difference between PCBA and PCB

On the flip side, the PCBA builds on the framework of the PCB. Thus, a PCBA needs a PCB. And there are different variants of PCBs. What differs is the substrate material.

Most companies prefer to outsource PCBs and then complete the PCBA in-house. But note that the assembly of electrical components is often a task that not many companies complete professionally. Therefore, you need a dependable partner to get your PCB and PCBA done right.

What is PCBA manufacturing?

PCBA Manufacturing

Given that we have a better understanding of PCB and PCBA, what is PCBA manufacturing? This is the procedure involving blank PCBs going through the assembly. Distinct PCBs have their unique requirements for assembly. Below are some steps in the fabrication of PCBAs: 

1.Printing of the solder paste.
2.Examining the solder paste.
3.High-speed mounting.
4.Functional mounting.
7.Automatic optical inspection.
8.Through-hole assembly.
9.Wave soldering.
10.Trim PTH pins and Fixing PCBA.
11.Conformal coating.
12.PCBA tests.
13.Thermal aging test.
14.Flying probe test.
15.IC programming.
16.In-circuit test.

Techniques and processes for manufacturing PCBA

There are several processes and techniques used in the manufacture of PCBAs. Some of these techniques and procedures include:

  • Preparing the surface of the printed circuit board.
  • Adding electrical parts.
  • Leaded solder.
  • Making it clean.
  • Examination and certification.

Besides, here are two more techniques that matter during the manufacture of PCBAs:

  1. Through-hole soldering technology – otherwise abbreviated as THT, is the method comprising the insertion of electrical appliance connectors onto the PCB’s pre-drilled perforations. THT is divided into three primary categories: pin grid arrays, single-ended, and double-ended.
  2. Surface mount technology – SMT soldering refers to the process of attaching and bonding electrical parts to the PCB. There are none or short leads when using the surface mount technology.

Benefits of PCBAs

Now that we have a better understanding of what is PCBA and how its manufacturing takes place, it is also essential to understand some of its benefits. Note that PCBA carries an integral role in today’s electronic world. It has already made more than enough contributions to the world of electronics. Here are some of its main benefits:

Easy to repair
Because circuit components can fail at some point, the advantage is that replacement with a new one is easy. Thus, the installation process becomes seamless.

The arrangement of components on the PCBA is efficient and compact. Because of this, it is possible to arrange many elements.

A PCBA lacks wires that can cause issues for the user. The typical method involves connecting several PCBA parts using copper wire.

Cost vs. reliability
It costs less and lasts longer. This is something that most companies seek in their components.

Saves time
The conventional method of connecting circuits takes too much time. However, technology has made PCBA manufacturing a lot faster and time-saving.

Where is PCBA used?

Knowing the applications of PCBA is just as important as knowing what is PCBA. Their crucial existence makes them an ideal match for different industries within the electronics niche. They are crafted using a non-conductive material. Copper sheets spread over these non-conductive materials.  

Where Is PCBA Used

So, here are some of the areas of application for PCBAs:

  • Consumer electronics – smartphones, computers, and many other household electronics you have to depend on PCBAs.
  • Military – The defense industry makes use of trustworthy and durable PCBAs. They are necessary for the operation of wireless applications and other crucial signals intelligence. They are indeed perfect for controllers like surveillance and ballistic sensing devices.
  • Aerospace – Spacecraft, observatories, airplanes, strain gauges, and inertial measurement units are a few aviation components that demand PCBAs.
  • Vehicles – PCBAs are required for power train equipment, gasoline controllers, car radios, and GPS technologies.
  • Medical sector – devices applied in diagnostics, treatment, and tracking, among others, rely on PCBAs. PCBAs are equally utilized by laser detectors, CATs, and CTs.

How to get custom PCBA?

How to Get A Custom PCBA

The steps listed below should be followed to create a bespoke PCBA:
1.Draw a circuit design.
2.Run an electric rule check for faults.
3.Move components to the proper places.
4.Assign signals.
5.Design rule check conducted.
6.Following the layout being accepted, the data can be published.
7.A PCB manufacturer helps you make PCBAs that meet your requirements according to your data.

IBE’s PCBA service

Having looked at what is PCBA and the different factors around it, we understand that you might now be looking for a strategic partner to work with. At IBE, we have been in the PCBA field for a long time to get authority in the industry.

So, what is PCBA approach that we use? First, we rely on industry-leading technologies to manufacture and produce PCBs and PCBAs. That is how we deliver our professional service to clients within even shortened deadlines.

We carry out constant quality checks to ensure that what you receive serves its intended role. Consult us today!

The term PCBA stands for printed circuit board assembly, which is the process of connecting or assembling electrical parts on a printed circuit board.

A PCB doesn’t have electrical components. A PCBA does. A PCB only has a heat-dissipating layer and an insulated surface. Its metal surface is on top of the dielectric section.

  • Easy to repair
  • Compact
  • Durability
  • Costs less and lasts longer
  • Saves time

Final thoughts

We have looked at what is PCBA and PCB. We have also looked further at the manufacturing process and custom fabrication. We hope that you now understand what PCBA is and how to go about manufacturing and custom orders.

At IBE, we are always ready to lend you our long-term experience in PCBs. So talk to us today and discover the right solutions for your PCB and PCBA needs.

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