Aseembling Printed Circuit Boards
Computers, pagers, radios, and many other electronic devices today are complex machines, and they often make use of a PCB, or a printed circuit board, that houses the wires and other electrical components that makes an electric item’ function possible. Without them, modern computers, radios, pagers, and more could not function, and small batch PCB assembly is done when manufacturers create many of these items for an intended device. In fact, there is no standard PCB; they will always be tailored to the electronic device that they are used for, and this means that PCB services should be outsourced to an item’s manufacturer or supplier. A PCB assembly quote can be issued when a manufacturer or service provider creates these items for another business, and PCB fabrication is a quick way to help a computer get built. Most often, the buying and selling of PCBs is business to business, or b2b, and small batch PCB assembly is something that a manufacturer can do for another business involved in a product’s construction. Circuit board assembly requires a fine understanding of how these delicate devices work, and small batch PCB assembly can be made easy when qualified crews are on the job.
How does a circuit board assembly work, and what are some common statistics of these pieces of hardware? Boards may often have many layers, and some common configurations include four six, eight, or ten layers on a multilayered board. And for more complex devices, such as a supercomputer, multi-layer boards with up to 42 layers have been known to exist. These boards are sensitive to temperature, and fans or cooling liquid can be used to help regulate a computer’s temperature to prevent damage from occurring. In particular, soldering quality during assembly will be affected by temperature. Until a temperature of 160 degrees Celsius is reached, the temperature during a soldering job can be allowed to rise one to two degrees Celsius per second, but if the temperature rises too quickly, the PCB may be damaged, such as during small batch PCB assembly, and the unit will be warped and potentially rendered completely useless.
Often, small batch PCB assembly or bigger assembly jobs can be done automatically, and this drastically increases production rates. For some automated manufacturers, a PCB assembly line can have a standard turn-time of five days or even less time, and that is 75% less than the industry standard. It has also been determined that just one automatic line can place and solder more components than 50 hand solder operators can, and the machine may do this with better quality control. This may be important if a complex, multi-layer PCB is being built for a supercomputer, where the allowed margins of error are extremely small, if allowed at all, and a faulty PCB board can be expensive to replace. In fact, no manufacturer will want to produce faulty goods; a survey done by the Aberdeen Group found that PCBs represent a huge 31% of the cost of any product, meaning that there is little tolerance for errors or delays in construction and shipping. In a b2b transaction, the buyer will acquire a shipment of PCBs, such as those made from small batch PCB assembly, and use them to help complete the manufacture of a finished item such as a home PC, a radio, or a pager or beeper, and the buyer will be sent a quote for all these PCBs acquired. Depending o the complexity of the PCBs bought, this invoice or quote might be fairly high, but for today’s advanced electronics, there is simply no substitute for a well-made PCB.
These devices date back to the earliest crude models used in the 19th century, and ever since radios and PCs became more powerful and prevalent in the business sector and the consumer market alike, many prototypes are being built all the time to create faster, more reliable models that may have many layers so that they can perform more work in high-spec computers and more. In fact, the Aberdeen Group has determined that even a simple PCB will require 11.6 physical prototypes on average, and more complex ones will need an average of 16.1 prototypes built before a final, workable model has been designed and is ready for construction.