Prototype pcb assembly (printed circuit board) is a mechanical board, either one sided or double sided, that connects electronic components for the smooth transfer of electricity to electronic devices. Circuits are connected on each side of double sided boards in one of two ways. One is through hole technology and the other is surface mount technology, both of which will be further explained. All connections have to be done carefully and precisely because how well they correlate will determine how well the devices they are attached to will run.
Prototype pcb assembly is the process of connecting the electronic components to the board itself. All machines can be assembled with pcb’s in three different ways. The first is surface mount assembly, which is the technique of soldering constituents with metal tabs to the pcb. The next type of assembly is plated through-hole technology, the process of attaching components with leads to pcb boards that contain precise holes already drilled into them. The third type of assemblage is electro-mechanical assembly. This type is also referred to as box-build assembly and uses items such as looms, wire harnesses, custom metalwork, cable assembly, and others in constructing the board and connecting to electronics.
A prototype pcb assembly is simply a sample of what the finished product is projected to be. It is a sample constructed early in its process of assembly that will bring out any glitches that need to be corrected before the final printed circuit board is presented. It is to be used as a test product from which much can be learned, and is used in relation to not only electronics, but also software programming, and design.
Low volume pcb assembly refers to a low number of circuit board assemblies, usually between 25 and 5000, that are produced for clients and companies only requiring that specific number. This can be done for customers of professionals who provide pcb assembly services in a variety of different ways. For instance, pcb production, design, and layout, in addition to flex pcb’s, prototype pcb fabrication and assembly, lead-free pcb’s including lead-free regulation directives, metal core pcb’s, and much more. Most companies that provide these services will offer a pcb assembly quote before any work is done.
In addition to companies that provide the listed services for clients requiring prototype pcb assembly, there are many circuit board manufacturers right in the United States who also produce electronic elements. Statistics show that in 2014 alone these manufacturers brought in about $44 billion in proceeds.
As would be expected, pcb fabrication process entails some basic steps; however, it is an intricate procedure that requires some necessary knowledge. Once the prototype pcb assembly is completed, an inspection will follow. There are several types of pcb inspection methods that can be used. The first is manual pcb inspection. This method was typically used during the early manufacturing of pcb’s and proved to be expensive and inadequate. The reason was because it involved separate inspectors searching each board for any problems. AOI pcb inspection is another type of investigating for possible problems. This is done by using an automated optical system that has an image of the way a proper board should look and then compares it with the boards being inspected. AXI pcb inspection is a way of inspecting boards by x-ray. Because certain components are not visible to the eye, or even to the automated optical system, this is the only way to inspect under the chips and to see the solder joints.
Inspection during the manufacturing process is also done. Inspections are carried out during the steps of fabrication that make it possible to catch any problems before the process moves on to the next step. High lighting any manufacturing flaws is a necessity. Any defects not found as manufacturing continues will become more costly to fix as the product moves down the line.
Sometimes the problems causing problems with quality are the result of printing technique. It is estimated that this is the cause of 70% of all quality issues that come up during surface assembly, without consideration for the quality of printed boards or pcb design.