Why is Process Control Measurement essential to stop defects in SMT PCB Assembly?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: October 17, 2020
SMT PCB Assembly

The integrity of Printed Circuit Boards is crucial to ensure the reliability of the electronic product. To this end, process control measurement has to be implemented to optimize the SMT PCB Assembly. This will ensure that costly errors aren’t found at a later date, which could result in a high failure rate of products and cost the electronics manufacturer its reputation.

Process Control for SMT PCB Assembly, essentially involves putting some robust processes in place in the printing, mounting as well as reflow soldering phase.

Let us dive into them in some detail for SMT PCB Assembly:

Solder paste printing

Prior to SMT printing, it is imperative to check for the following:

  • There is no deformation in the boards and that the surface is smooth.
  • There isn’t any oxidation in the circuit board pads.
  • There isn’t any copper exposure on board surfaces.

When it comes to solder paste printing, the following additional issues need to be watched out for:

  • The boards shouldn’t be stacked vertically and there should be no collision of boards.
  • Fiducial marks on the board should tally with the location holes on the stencil.
  • There needs to be a thorough visual inspection. It is recommended that in such visual inspection the distance between the eye and the board should be between 30-45 cm.
  • The temperature during administration of the solder paste should be in the region of25°C and relative humidity in the range of 35-75% for optimal results.
  • It needs to be ensured that the solder paste being used is valid and hasn’t expired.
  • In case you are using a newly opened solder paste as well an old one, a good mix will be a ratio of 3:1.
  • You need to ensure that no bridging is seen on printing.
  • It is imperative that the thickness of the printing is uniform.
  • The stencil needs to be cleaned so it doesn’t have any dried flux.

Chip mounting

This is a fairly crucial step that needs a high degree of accuracy. Some of the aspects to watch out for during this stage, include:

  • SMDs need to be compatible with the design files.
  • Debugging needs to be accurately implemented on the chip mounter.
  • Control instruction signal and its editing should be undertaken with care.
  • You need to analyze the logical relationship between the transmission parts.
  • The operating process needs to be clarified.
  • There needs to be a proper maintenance schedule to ensure that the equipment is in good shape and errors do not start to occur on account of the state of the equipment.

Reflow soldering

This process essentially involves attaching SMDs to the board. Essentially with the rising temperature, the solder paste melts and with the cooling temperature, the components are stuck to the board. Some of the process control aspects to watch out for in this phase, include:

  • Setting the right temperature curve and doing some real time testing to avoid errors.
  • Vibration can play havoc during the process of soldering and hence needs to be avoided.
  • The solder joints need to be in a semilunar shape.
  • There should not be any residue or soldering balls on the surface of the circuit board.
  • There shouldn’t be any bridging or pseudo soldering.
  • The soldering joints should be smooth.

SMT PCB Assembly requires that an effective manufacturing quality control plan is put in place. The above tips will go a long way in ensuring that defects are minimized and that SMT Assembly manufacturing is optimized.

At Technotronix, we are highly cognizant of the above processes. With our attention to detail and over 4 decades of experience, what we offer to you are high quality products. A large portfolio of satisfied clients stand testimony to our consistent delivery of high-quality, on-time, price-competitive products. If you are looking for progressive SMT PCB Assembly solutions, you are at the right place. All you need to do is to reach out to us and have complete peace of mind, which comes from knowing that people manufacturing your product are experts in their domain! To know more, please explore our PCB Assembly Services!

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How Boundary-Scan Testing is Beneficial for PCB Assembly?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: October 12, 2020
Boundary Scan Testing

When it comes to PCB assembly testing, it is quite common to look at it like an added expenditure as opposed to viewing it as an essential quality control measure that makes a significant value addition to the final product. Even before looking at how boundary-scan is beneficial for PCB Assembly testing, it is important to answer the question of why one needs to undertake PCB Assembly testing in the first place.

The answer to why test, simply lies in the fact that it is the only way to ensure a quality product. Instead of looking at it as an expense, therefore, it needs to be looked at as a mechanism that saves the company costly mistakes at a later date, which in turn, can cost time, money and importantly company reputation. Inadequate testing can on the other hand lead to faulty products reaching the end consumer which may need replacement, may need to be recalled, can lead to irreversible dents to company reputation and even lead to costly lawsuits.

What is imperative is that the right amount of testing is ascertained so that you are sure of the quality of the product, without the testing costs, skyrocketing. The amount of testing can of course, vary across industries. Mission-critical operations, for example, will require extensive testing while there could be some industries where a certain amount of product defects could be acceptable.

Main elements of PCB Assembly testing

PCB  Assembly Boundry Scan

There are three aspects that need thorough evaluation, when we speak of the testing process. These include:

  • Structural devices
  • Structural connections
  • Functional connections

To test all these three aspects, a number of testing methodologies can be utilized:

  • Visual Testing
  • Automating optical inspection
  • X-Ray inspection
  • In-circuit testing
  • JTAG boundary-scan
  • Customized testing software

It is imperative that the testing methodology employed, can cover a whole spectrum of potential fault categories so that a defect coverage score can be ascertained. This largely involves an approach popularly called PCOLA/SOQ/FAM. Essentially this is an end-to-end approach that covers the entire spectrum of testing as below:

PCOLA
This part deals with the structural devices and relies on visual testing. An acronym for Presence, Correctness, Orientation, Live and Alignment, it studies all these aspects carefully to ensure there are no defects found.

SOQ
Unlike PCOLA, which relies on visual testing, this part relies on electrical testing methods. SOQ is an acronym for Shorts, Opens and Quality and undertakes connectivity tests so that there is no issue with the electrical connection.

FAM
This aspect refers to functional testing and checks for Features, At-speed and Measurement. These tests are therefore able to ensure that the system functions as per set benchmarks.

The relevance of Boundary-Scan for PCB Assembly Testing

In the interest of cost, it is imperative to figure out which testing methodologies need to be used, which cover this entire spectrum. This is where boundary-scan becomes extremely relevant. The big advantages with boundary scan are as below:

  • It is extremely relevant when physical access is limited
  • It covers a significant portion of the PCOLA/SOQ/FAM spectrum and therefore offers breadth of coverage
  • On account of its vast coverage, it takes away the need for other structural testing methods and thereby saves cost.
  • It is far less cost intensive than methods like ICT, for example, which among other things require test fixture and equipment maintenance. While JTAG boundary-scan does need costs such as equipment, training, labour expenses etc. it still works out to be far more optimal as far as overall cost is concerned.
  • It offers low test time, which in today’s day of intense competition is a huge advantage as it leads to quicker time-to-market.
  • Needless to mention that it comes with product yield increase, which is the very purpose of testing.

In choosing the testing method, it is imperative that various aspects are taken into consideration. These include the coverage provided, the cost incurred and more. It is on all of these parameters that boundary-scan stands out. It offers both versatility and affordability. Little surprise then that it is one of the most popular methods when it comes to PCB Assembly testing.

Technotronix is one of the leading printed circuit board manufacturers based in the USA. We have over 4 decades of experience in providing innovative PCB manufacturing services using modern technologies and latest machinery. We are adhering to strict high-quality standards and compliant with the RoHS quality management system. To know more, please explore our PCB assembly services!

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Why Additive Manufacturing is the Right for your PCB Electronics Assembly?

By | Date posted: | Last updated: August 19, 2020
PCB Electronics Assembly

Additive manufacturing is fast emerging as a buzzword. You sure have heard how it is revolutionizing the way in which organizations are able to design and manufacture their products. However, what exactly is additive manufacturing and is it right for your PCB Electronic Assembly? If these are some of the questions in your mind, here are all the details you need to know.

Simply put, Additive manufacturing is the process of using 3D data to make objects. This is as opposed to the traditional subtractive process where the entire surface of PCB is plated with copper and is etched away from the areas where it is not needed. In electronics manufacturing, the importance of additive manufacturing especially lies in creating complex parts. Little surprise then that it with many advantages including but not limited to:

  • Flexibility of design
  • Improved speed
  • Waste reduction, and more.

Let us look at some of these advantages in some degree of detail:

Flexibility in design

When it comes to traditional manufacturing, you tend to face a whole lot of roadblocks especially with complicated and intricate designs. With miniaturization on the rise, this issue is only going to go up. 3D printing frees you from these hassles, as it offers ease even with complicated designs.

Speed

With prototypes, speed is of essence. After all, improved time to market can be a major competitive advantage. Besides with prototypes, you also need to have the ability to make design modifications quickly so that you do not have to face costly errors at a later date. 3D printing offers these exact advantages. It allows you to make quick prototypes, as also make quick modifications.

Reduced need to stock inventory

With additive technology you could print on demand. What it means is that you need not stock products. This not only takes away many logistical hassles it also significantly lowers cost as you do not have to incur warehousing costs

Reduced waste

It follows from the above that you have reduced material cost as well as reduced wastage, both of which add to the product efficiency significantly.

Low on weight

The added advantage with additive manufacturing is that it relies on usage of thermoplastics or polymer. These, in turn, come with reduced weight, adding to the product efficiency. This is as opposed to traditional manufacturing where you are dealing with steel or aluminium that has a considerably higher weight.

While 3D printing comes with the above advantages, any change needs to be undertaken for the right reasons. It is, therefore, imperative that you keep the following issues in mind when opting for it:

  • With 3D printing, you will have to make provision for some amount of post processing essentially to clean up the surface finish.
  • Since additive manufacturing involves printing in layers, one has to be prepared for some amount of risk of breakage as there is fear of the layers coming apart.
  • Ideally additive manufacturing is better suited to manufacturing with complex and intricate parts
  • If your requirement is to produce in low volumes, 3D manufacturing offers a good alternative as opposed to traditional manufacturing.
  • If you deal with high value items where smooth performance is an absolute non-compromisable, 3D printing works well
  • 3D printing also reduces lead times considerably and hence is well suited for production where time-to-market is critical.
  • If you require the product to be customized to your bespoke needs, once again you could benefit from 3D printing. Traditional manufacturing may not be in a position to offer you a whole lot of customization.
  • Another major advantage with 3D printing is that it allows you to consolidate the number of parts. What this, in turn, means is that you stand to benefit in terms of cost. The added advantage also is that with fewer parts, the possibility of errors is that much less.

To sum up, while 3D printing offers a whole host of advantages, you need to evaluate your distinct requirements before you make the decision of opting for it. Your electronics manufacturing partner, on account of experience in dealing with such requirements will be in the best position to guide you through your decision-making process.

Technotronix is one of the leading printed circuit board manufacturer based in the USA. We have over 4 decades of experience in providing innovative PCB manufacturing services using modern technologies and latest machinery. We are adhering to strict high-quality standards and compliant with the RoHS quality management system. We capable to fulfill the varied need of our customer from the simple board to the most complex board for PCB prototype to production. To know more, Explore our PCB manufacturing services!

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Top Factors to Consider While Outsourcing the Box Build PCB Assembly!

By | Date posted: | Last updated: June 17, 2020

Box build, also sometimes referred to as systems integration, can mean a whole range of things – from a PCBA in a small enclosure to a complex electro-mechanical system that includes enclosure fabrication, installation and routing of cables or wire harnesses, and installation of sub-assemblies and components.

Today, it has become a fairly common practice among Original Equipment Manufacturers to outsource box build assembly services to a contract manufacturer. Not without reason. The advantages of outsourcing Box Build Assembly to a partner well-versed with the process, are many. From having experts with the right know-how and experience to getting custom products at cost-effective prices, you tend to benefit on all counts. However, while outsourcing Box Build PCB Assembly, there are a number of factors that you need to keep in mind to get desirable results. Here are some of them:

Bill of Material (BOM)

Bill of Material (BOM) – In outsourcing your assembly, the one thing that is critical to put together, is the bill of material. Simply put, a BOM is a list of components that are required to manufacture the product. It is important, therefore, to put together this list meticulously, ensuring that the parts mentioned aren’t obsolete or not recommended for new designs. It is also important for you to mention which parts are to be sourced by the provider and which will be provided by you, so that there is no ambiguity. In turn, this ensures there are no production delays at a later stage.

Assembly

Assembly – It is prudent to provide 3D models that helps the outsourcing PCB Assembly to come up with a proper visualization. CAD Models help the EMS provider to get a proper understanding of the placement and positioning of components.

Schematics

Schematics – Circuit Diagrams are yet another requirement which help the EMS provider to put together an error-free assembly.

Sample Units

Sample Units – Particularly if your drawings or schematics are unclear, the need for sample units becomes even more pronounced. By way of sample units the EMS provider can get a fair understanding of your exact requirements and ensure consistent builds.

Dimensions

Dimensions – It is important for the Box Build PCB Assembly provider to have the exact details of the size and weight of the product. It not only helps the build process, the information is crucial for the provider to make necessary arrangements for storage, handling and shipping.

Testing

Testing – When you outsource the box build pcb assembly, you also need to clearly state the safety testing that you require. Whether you require a flash test or earth bond test, it should be specified in advance. In fact the provider with his vast experience can also come in handy to indicate to you what testing processes should be used.

The other factors to keep in mind in choosing the outsourcing PCB Assembly partner, is to check for their credentials related to:

  • Industry-specific needs – It is important to see if the company meets industry regulations and standards
  • On-time delivery – This will significantly impact your time-to-market, which is a great source of competitive advantage.
  • Support – Checking to see if the EMS partner has 24 X 7 support and can respond to your queries promptly is essential.
  • Volume requirement – It will also be prudent to check whether the partner is capable of handling the volumes required by you.
  • Custom requirements – It is judicious to ensure that the PCB Assembly partner is able to offer bespoke products as per your unique requirements
  • Ethical practices – It will be worthwhile to ensure that the partner follows ethical practices.

The key to success when working with a PCB Assembly USA, partner is to work in close co-ordination. Not only should all necessary information be shared, all communication lines should be open so that there are no gaps and therefore no scope of ambiguity at a later date.

Turnkey Solutions

Supporting a wide range of industries, a Box build PCB Assembly provider can offer turnkey solutions including but not limited to:

Product assembly

System level assembly

Testing

Product configuration

Packaging and warehousing

After sales service

  • Product assembly
  • System level assembly
  • Testing
  • Product configuration
  • Packaging and warehousing
  • After sales service

The right partner will have the necessary experience, capabilities and certifications to not just meet but also exceed your requirements, allowing you to ensure that your internal resources can focus on core strategic tasks.

Our strategic alliance and multiple vendor partnerships in the United States and overseas have made it possible to assemble PCB’s overseas when the parameter of a project requires it. We have many strong, long-standing partnerships with experts in a wide range of countries to assure that your project gets the same high level of quality and attention as projects done on-site at our facility. Our overseas vendors have been specially chosen because they are committed to meeting the exact standards of every project we take on.

If you need any Custom and Quick Turn Around PCB Assembly Service, Please contact us!

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