Prototype PCB Assembly Services

Electronic products are closely related to our daily life. Everything from our smartphones to our office computers to the vehicles we use to get around—cars, airplanes, and more—contains electronic components. The core of these electronic products is composed of printed circuit boards. An integral part of countless electronic products, PCB assembly consists of various components forming a printed circuit board assembly. Printed circuit board assembly is a product assembly process that combines wiring circuits on a circuit board with related electronic devices.

PCB Assembly Solution

IBE is a one-stop PCB assembly company from Shenzhen, China, providing the most professional and widest assembly services. If your project needs PCBA service, please feel free to contact us. No matter how difficult or big your PCBA board manufacturing needs are, IBE can provide one-stop assembly services for your projects.

Turnkey Assembly

Turnkey assembly refers to services EMS suppliers provide, including the entire electronic assembly process from component procurement to final assembly and testing. In short, the customer provides PCB design files, specifications, and various assembly needs. The EMS company is responsible for the entire project until the finished product is delivered to the customer.

At IBE, we provide full support and services, from printed circuit board design to product delivery. We have advanced equipment and a professional team. We can meet any PCB assembly needs of customers, including prototype PCB assembly to small batch, mass manufacturing to assembly, procurement to testing, etc.

Turnkey PCB assembly services save you project management time and money and allocate more resources to final sales.

Partial Turnkey Assembly

Partial turnkey assembly is a cost-effective solution for PCB assembly where the customer handles the composition as part of the assembly process. In contrast, the PCB assembly company takes care of the rest. Customers can sometimes provide specific components, such as ICs and main control chips. At the same time, PCB assembly service providers are responsible for procuring general components, such as inductors and capacitors.

Partial turnkey assembly is available for customers who require specialized components to be supplied or who wish to have control over the assembly process. It is also a good choice for customers who want to save part of the procurement cost of components… However, it should be noted that this solution requires the assembly company to have sufficient procurement and management experience, and the assembly process requires constant communication. Otherwise, the quality of the assembly project may be affected.

PCB Assembly Service

Rigid flexible PCB assembly

Most rigid-flex boards consist of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates that are externally or internally connected to one or more rigid boards depending on the application’s design. Flexible substrates are designed to be constantly flexible and are usually molded into curved curves during fabrication or installation.

Rigid flexible PCB assembly
Mixed Assembly

Mixed Assembly

Although surface mount technology has replaced other placement methods in PCB production, some components cannot be assembled using SMT technology. Then, SMT and THT assembly must be performed on the same board. Assembly methods that do not use solder paste during production are called hybrid assemblies.

Through hole Assembly

Through hole Assembly

Through-hole assembly method, using leads to place components to build electronic circuits. The installation process uses wave soldering or hand soldering to connect the components to the circuit board after placing the leads in the pre-drilled holes. Today, SMT technology has replaced PCB through-hole assembly. However, some applications require through-hole mounting, such as electrolytic capacitors, connectors, and large transformers.

BGA Assembly

BGA assembly is a surface mount for packaging integrated circuits. BGA packages are used to permanently mount devices such as microprocessors. Dual in-line or flat packs cannot accommodate the connector pins that a BGA can accommodate. The entire underside of the device can be utilized rather than just the edges. The traces connecting the package’s leads to the package’s wires or balls are usually shorter in the perimeter-only type than the other, which improves high-speed performance.

BGA Assembly

SMT Assembly

SMT is an assembly method for attaching components or parts to a circuit board. The high efficiency of SMT is “eroding” other PCB assembly technologies. However, SMT has replaced the previous assembly method with soldering technology. The basic steps of SMT assembly include mounting components, reflow soldering, printing solder paste, performing AOI or AXI, etc.

SMT Assembly
PCB Prototype Assembly

PCB Prototype Assembly

PCB prototype assembly is primarily about testing and evaluating designs before production. PCB prototype assemblies can be created in small batches or as single boards to ensure the design meets requirements. PCB prototype assembly helps designers test and validate their designs, identify and resolve any issues, and optimize designs for manufacturability and cost-effectiveness.

Main Content:

PCB Assembly Process

IBE provides complete turnkey circuit board assembly services. We specialize in various PCB assembly services. Our experienced team and advanced assembly equipment enable us to meet all your order needs, from samples to batches. Our PCB assembly capabilities include but are not limited to those listed below. We are constantly innovating and updating our advanced equipment to keep our PCB assembly technology at the forefront of the industry.

PCB Assembly Basics

Different PCBA assembly processes need to start from the PCB:

• Substrate: Although the substrate is the basic material for assembling PCBs, it is also one of the important components of electronic circuits
• Copper: A thin layer of conductive copper foil is added to each functional side of the PCB – on one side if it is a single-sided PCB or on both sides if it is a double-sided PCB.
• Soldermask: Soldermask sits atop the copper layer and gives each PCB unique “protection.” It prevents accidental contact with other conductive materials in the copper traces, avoiding short circuits.
•Surface Mount Technology: Automatic placement of very small sensitive components such as resistors or diodes onto the surface of a circuit board. This is called an SMD assembly and is used for surface mount devices.
•Through-hole technology: The process of mounting electronic circuit components on a PCB by inserting metal leads through holes drilled in the PCB and then soldering the leads to the back of the PCB.

Before PCB assembly

Before the PCBA assembly process can begin, some preparatory work must be done. This is beneficial for PCB manufacturers to check the accuracy of PCB designs, the most important of which is DFM inspection.

For companies specializing in PCB assembly, PCB design documents and any other design-related requirements and instructions must be verified and checked before PCB assembly. The purpose of this is to check the PCB design files for any instability or manufacturability defects that may affect the functionality of the PCB. This is the Design for Manufacturability Check or DFM check for short.

Perform design review specifications and inspect every part of the PCB design to ensure no missing components or defective structures. Any of these issues can have a serious impact on PCB functionality. For example, a common PCB design flaw is too little spacing between PCB components. This can cause short circuits and other malfunctions.

Conducting DFM inspections before assembly begins can reduce manufacturing costs and eliminate unforeseen errors. It is precisely because of this inspection that the number of scrapped boards is greatly reduced. As part of our commitment to quality, DFM inspection is a must for every IBE PCB assembly project. IBE offers free DFM and DFA checks.

PCBA assembly steps

1. Solder paste printing

The first step in PCB assembly is to apply solder paste on the circuit board, and the assembler applies the solder paste to the corresponding PCB parts. These are where the components will be located on the finished PCB.

Solder paste is a gray substance consisting of tiny metal balls, also known as solder. These tiny metal balls are 96.5% tin, 3% silver, and 0.5% copper. Solder paste mixes with flux, a chemical designed to help solder melt and bond to surfaces. Solder paste appears gray and must be accurately applied to the board in the correct location and amount.

2、 Pick and place

After the solder paste is applied to the PCB board, the PCBA is transferred to the pick-and-place machine through the operation of the equipment, and the robotic equipment places the surface mount components or SMDs on the prepared PCB. These SMDs are soldered to the board surface in the next step of PCBA assembly.

Traditionally, this is a manual process done by hand with tweezers, and assemblers must manually pick and place components. Today, with the continuous advancement of technology, this step has become an automated process through machines. This shift is happening because machines tend to be more precise and faster than humans.

The equipment initiates the pick-and-place process by grabbing the PCB board with a vacuum gripper and moving it to the pick-and-place station. The robot then positions the PCB in a fixed position and starts applying SMT to the surface of the PCB.

3、Reflow soldering

Once the solder paste and surface mount components are all in place, they must stay temporarily. This means that the solder paste must cure to adhere to the board’s components. PCB assembly achieves this assembly step through the process of “reflow.”

After the pick-and-place process, the PCB boards are transferred to a conveyor belt. This conveyor belt runs through a large reflow oven like a large oven. The oven has a high-temperature heating effect that gradually heats the board to temperatures around 250 degrees Celsius or 480 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt the solder in the solder paste.

After the solder has finished melting, the PCB continues to move through the oven. It passes through a series of cooler heaters that cool and solidify the molten solder in a controlled manner. At this point, the permanent solder joints connect the SMD to the PCB.

Many PCBAs require special attention during reflow, especially double-sided PCB assemblies. Double-sided PCB assembly requires stencil and reflow for each side separately. First, the side with fewer parts and smaller size is stenciled, placed, and reflowed, and then the other side.

4、 Quality inspection

optical inspection

After the surface mount components are cured by reflow soldering, the steps of PCBA assembly are not all completed, and functional testing of the assembled board is also required. Often, movement during reflow can result in poor connections or loose components. Short circuits are also usually caused by movement.

The following are several common inspection methods:

• Manual Inspection: Despite the ubiquity of automation and smart manufacturing, tasks still require human involvement during PCB assembly. For smaller PCB-assembled electronic boards, visual inspection by assemblers is one of the effective ways to ensure the quality of PCBs after the reflow soldering process.

• Automated optical inspection: Automated optical inspection is a more suitable inspection method for high-volume PCBAs. Automated Optical Inspection machines, or AOI machines, use high-powered cameras to “see” the PCB. These cameras are arranged at different angles to view the solder connections. Solder connections of different qualities reflect light differently, allowing AOI to identify lower-quality solder. AOI does this at very high speeds, enabling it to complete high-volume PCB inspections relatively quickly.

• X-ray inspection: Another inspection method is X-ray. It is a less-used inspection method – it is usually used on more complex or layered PCBs. X-rays are mostly used to identify potential hidden problems.
Whether or not the inspection process finds an error, the next step is to test the part to ensure it works properly. Its main purpose is to test the quality of PCB connections.

5、 Electrical test

After the curing and surface inspection steps of PCBA assembly are completed, the function of the PCB will be inspected and tested finally. This inspection is called an “electrical test.” This test mainly simulates the normal operation of the PCB. In this test, power and analog signals are passed through the PCB while the tester monitors the electrical characteristics of the PCB.

If any of these characteristics, including voltage, current, or signal output, show abnormal fluctuations or peaks outside predetermined ranges, the PCB fails the test.

Testing is the most important step in the PCB assembly process because it determines the “fate” of each PCB board. This test also reflects that the assembly of each PCB board needs to go through layers of strict screening before deciding whether it can be put into normal use.

Our advanced SMT assembly equipment

We have 16 automatic solder printing machines, 36 high-speed SMT machines, 12 medium high-speed SMT machines, 12 online SPIs, 12 AOIs, and a series of internationally leading automation equipment.

Our Complete Turnkey Assembly

• Material and component procurement
• Order tracking, shipping, logistics and assembly
•Physical assembly of printed circuit boards
• Quality control, testing

How to choose a reliable PCB assembly manufacturer?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a PCB assembly manufacturer. The most critical factor is: whether the manufacturer can provide high-quality products and services. Other factors to consider include the manufacturer’s experience, technology, equipment, and price. Of course, checking the manufacturing process of the PCB assembly manufacturer is also essential.

Make sure that the manufacturer buys all the components you need at the most affordable price according to your needs, is 100% original and authentic, and adhere to a strict quality control process. And follow all necessary industry manufacturing standards. When inquiring, please indicate the type and quantity of the product you need. This will help the manufacturer provide you with an accurate quote. Once you receive a quote, you can compare prices and choose the most affordable and reliable manufacturer.

The best way to find a qualified PCB assembly manufacturer is to seek advice from someone who has used the services of a particular manufacturer. Of course, you can also search for PCB assembly manufacturers online. Once you have shortlisted multiple manufacturers, you can contact them and request a quote. Finally, customer service is also one of the factors you need to consider. The manufacturer should be able to provide you with timely and efficient customer service.

PCBA Professional Assembly Company

IBE is your PCB assembly solution provider. From the moment you submit your Gerber files to the moment you receive your PCB assembly, our service staff will honor your order satisfactorily. We can handle all your PCB requirements, from parts sourcing to electronics assembly. We will help you every step of the way and provide you with comprehensive professional services and quality assurance.

You choose the best service partner when you choose us as your PCBA partner company. Our PCB assembly services meet the highest quality standards and are IPC Class 3, RoHS, and ISO 9001 certified. Furthermore, we can handle any type of PCB assembly, be it double or single-sided, SMT, through-hole, or mixed assembly projects. No matter what your needs are, we can help you achieve them!

We’ll contact you from project inception to completion, keeping you informed from fabrication to assembly.

Our PCBA Product Group

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Professional PCBA assembly company

IBE is a trusted PCB assembly solution provider by your side. From your submission of the Gerber files to receipt of the PCB assembly, our service personnel will fulfill your order to your satisfaction. We can handle all your PCB requirements, from parts sourcing to electronics assembly. We will help you throughout the process and provide comprehensive professional services and quality assurance.

You choose the best service partner when you choose us as your PCBA partner company. Our PCB assembly services meet the highest quality standards and are IPC Class 3, RoHS, and ISO 9001 certified. Additionally, we can handle any type of PCB assembly, be it double or single-sided, SMT, through-hole, or mixed assembly projects. No matter what your needs are, we can help you achieve them!

We will contact you from project inception to completion, keeping you informed throughout the process, from fabrication to assembly.

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