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Introduction to PCB Assembly
Some of you might have heard of the term PCB Assembly and thought, "What's that"?
This article is meant to shed some light on the subject.
The entire process of manufacturing digital devices is an extended and sophisticated one.
The starting point for all electronics is in the materials - Silicon or another semiconductor.
Through a number of lengthy and costly clean room processes, these "wafers" are reworked into "smart" digital microprocessors and chips.
These chips can't do anything by themselves, and have to be integrated onto a printed circuit board (PCB) to be able to be able to do something in the end (like operate your laptop or telephone).
Now, there are a big number of companies that design these chips and sell end-products. Nonetheless, these firms can't afford to purchase all the equipment required to assemble their chips onto PCBs in an effort to devise their end-product.
This is what PCB Assembly firms are for. These (EMS) corporations have a number of Surface Mount Assembly lines, and provide PCB Assembly companies to other corporations who usually are not involved in doing this themselves.
The PCB Assembly process consists of a number of various processes:
1) Solder Paste Printing - During this process the initial solder paste is printed onto the PCB using a stencil. This is basically the binding material of the units to the PCB.
2) SMT Pick & Place Assembly - This is the center of each PCB Assembly line. This process takes all the person chips and accurately places them on their designated place on the PCB.
three) Reflow/By way of-gap curing - After placing the chips onto the solder paste, the boards undergo a conveyor oven to soften the solder and bind the chips to the PCB.
4) Conformal Coating - Some boards require a protective lacquer coating. Conformal "Selective Coating" machines quickly and accurately provide a layer of protective coating on the PCBs.
5) AOI and AXI - Computerized Optical Inspection and Automated X-ray Inspection. These processes are key to confirming that no mistakes have been made through the assembly process
6) Reworking if wanted - If any mistakes or defects are found, some units may be reworked. Reworking consists of heating the board or system, and removing it from the PCB so that a replacement can be placed in its stead.
Each of these processes is a world in its own right and is considered a technology area in its own. There are several specialist manufacturers for each of the these PCB Assembly fields.
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