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Circuit Board Assembly – What You Ought to Know

by AnthonyJarmie

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With the continuous invention of electronic devices the demand for electronic circuits keeps growing, and so has circuit board assembly technology. Currently the market offers two assembly processes i.e. Through Hole and Surface Mount (SMT), and the two can also be combined.

PCB assembly can be broken down into the three aspects of prototyping, turnkey and low volume production. Most companies involved in circuit assembly offer the whole package or full turnkey assembly, and which includes ordering for PCBs and components, making the circuit boards, inventory control and online order tracking, testing and quality inspection, and final assembly and final shipment. Partial turnkey assembly is whereby customers order for the partial components and PCBs on their own and the company does the assembly.

PCB assembly companies are available online and this makes procuring assembly services very easy and convenient. The typical procurement procedure starts with getting the PCB quotes for the circuit board assembly process you require. Next is the labor assembly quote, followed by the bill of materials (BOM) pricing, and which normally involves the statement of quantities, references designators, and manufacturer name/s and part numbers.

Low cost circuit board assembly is only possible by having an effective and dedicated component and parts management system in place such that the parts which have been specified by the customer (partial turnkey) or the company (full turnkey) are the only ones that are ordered for the assembly job. The purchasing process should also be electronically controlled to make it efficient and error-free.

Besides making circuit board assembly low cost there is also the issue of quality. One way to guarantee quality is by using only the best components. This is possible if these components are sourced from name brand companies and authorized suppliers. Some of the major names in electronic components from which you can always be assured of getting maximum value for your money include Farnell, Future Electronics, Mouser Electronics, Digi-Key, Samtec, Newark, Arrow Electronics and Avnet. Quality assurance after the assembly process is verified through testing procedures, and which include visual inspection, AOI testing to check component polarity, missing parts, solder paste and 0201 components, ICT (In-Circuit test), X-ray inspection to check bare PCBs, QFN, and BGAs, and functional tests which are designed by the customer.

Full turnkey circuit board assembly is encouraged especially where the job involves hard-to-find parts such as the obsolete types and long lead time components. As assembly is their core area of competency, these companies usually have many different sources from which to obtain such components. Assembly companies are also suitably placed to make informed part crosses and substitutions in instances where certain parts are totally unavailable.

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  • actpcb
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