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Essential Steps in Automated PCB Assembly Discussed

 Dec 26, 2022

Automated PCB Assembly
Most electronic devices that we use today feature printed circuit boards. However, they may remain invisible to us. Still, they contribute to the mechanical and electrical performance of these devices. Having said so, they need to be created with utmost accuracy and perfection. This is achieved through automated PCB assembly. As the name suggests, the process is fully automated and assures a faster and error-free assembly. Automated PCB assembly has helped PCB manufacturers to meet the rigorous demands for PCB production. Are you curious to know what steps are included in the automated PCB assembly process? Read the post below to get the answer.

Key Steps Included in Automated Printed Circuit Board Assembly 

The following are a few steps involved in the automated PCB assembly process.
  • Application of Solder Paste with Stencil: The solder paste is a gray color paste that is a mixture of 1% of copper, 3% of silver, 96% of tin, etc. This paste is applied accurately on the PCB layout design using a stainless steel stencil. When the paste dries, it forms a hard joint to the components.
  • SMD Component Placement: In the next step, the SMT (surface mount technology) components are placed on the PCB board. This is done with the help of a robot that picks the components and places them at their definite locations, which are pre-programmed by the designer. This step is also termed the pick and place process. These SMT components are soldered on the board’s surface in the next step.
  • Reflow Soldering: The reflow process is bought into the picture after placing the solder paste and SMT components at their places on a PCB board. During this step, the PCB board is placed on a conveyor belt that passes through a reflow oven. The oven features a series of heaters, which produce a high amount of heat necessary to melt the solder paste. When the solder melts, the PCBs are passed to cool heaters through the conveyer. This allows the solder paste to dry and solidify the components.
  • Inspection of the PCB: After the reflow process, the PCB is almost ready. Therefore, the inspection of PCBs is performed to identify and rectify the errors before they are sent for final finishing. PCB designers follow automated or manual techniques for inspecting the PCBs. Some of the most commonly used PCB inspecting methods include manual inspection, x-ray inspection, optical inspection, etc.
  • Plated Through-hole Component Placement: Through-hole or plated through-hole components are found on most PCB boards. A plated through-hole is a tiny hole that carries many components. Plated through-holes are generally plated through the board. Unlike SMDs, the plated through-hole components are usually fixed to the board using wave soldering and manual soldering.
  • Final Functional Testing: This is the last step in the automated PCB assembly process. PCB assemblers perform various types of functional tests to check the accurate working of a PCB, including its electrical characteristics, current flow, digital signals, power supply, and so on. This is done using general lab instruments like oscilloscopes, function generators, etc.
By now, you must have understood how automated PCB assembly helps improve the accuracy of PCB assembly at every step. However, if you are an OEM and regularly require quality PCBs for effective production, then you must partner with an experienced PCB manufacturer. Although there are various manufacturers in the market, choosing the best and most reliable one is essential. Accelerated Assemblies in the USA is an Illinois-based PCB assembly service that offers high-quality PCBs to meet your business requirements. The company has been at the forefront of PCB assembly and manufacturing for several years now. The team at the company believes that automated PCB assembly investments have helped them build a market reputation. Get in touch with the team today to know more. 

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