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Types of pcb assembly-How to differentiate them?

Author: Apogeeweb
Date: 31 Aug 2022
What are the differences between the PCB and PCBA

What is the pcb?

What is the pcb assembly?

Video about the pcb assembly

What are the differences between the PCB and PCBA?

Types of pcb assembly

SMT assembly

BGA assembly

Through-hole assembly

Mixed assembly

Rigid-flex printed circuit board assembly

Conclusion of SMT assembly VS BGA assembly VS Through-hole assembly VS Mixed assembly VS Rigid-Flex PCBA

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is the pcb?

The fundamental component of the majority of contemporary electronic gadgets are printed circuit boards, or PCBs. Printed circuit boards are the base on which all other electronic components are assembled, ranging from simple single-layered boards used in your garage door opener to the six-layer board in your smart watch to the 60-layer, extremely high density and high-speed circuit boards used in super computers and servers. The PCB serves as a mounting surface for semiconductors, connections, resistors, diodes, capacitors, and radio equipment, all of which "speak" to one another.

PCBs are the best choice for these applications because of their mechanical and electrical qualities. Roughly 90% of the PCBs produced today are rigid, making them the most common type of PCB in the world. Some PCBs are flexible, allowing the circuits to be stretched and folded into shape. Other times, flexible circuits are employed in applications where they can withstand hundreds of thousands of bend cycles without failing. Ten percent or so of the market is made up of these flexible PCBs. A tiny subset of these kinds of circuits are referred to as rigid flex circuits, which have firm parts of the board that are perfect for mounting and connecting components and flexible parts that offer the benefits of flexible circuits that were previously mentioned.

What is pcb


What is the pcb assembly?

PCBA  = assembly of PCB. A surface encapsulation procedure is used to integrate various electrical components on the circuit board. The box assembly comes next, which joins the finished product's outer case and assembled PCB. In other words, the PCB bare board travels via the SMT top section before traveling through the full DIP plug-in process, also known as PCBA. In contrast to PCB'A, which adds a slant point, which is the norm in Europe and America, this approach is widely employed in the nation. PCBA stands for printed circuit board assembly. If a market is viable, mass production for new electronic designs would typically follow prototype pcb assembly (Sample PCBA) to verify designs.

PCB Assembly


Video about the pcb assembly

Video Description: This is a great explanation of the printed circuit board (PCB) and electronics manufacturing process in the context of IOT.


What are the differences between the PCB and PCBA?

The terms "bare circuit board" (PCB) and "circuit board plug-in assembly" (PCBA) both relate to the SMT technique. A finished board is one, and a naked board is the other. According to the number of signal layers, PCB (Printed Circuit Board), made of epoxy glass resin material, is divided into 4, 6, and 8 layers. The most typical layer counts are 4 and 6. The bare board has chip components like chips attached to it. PCBA can be thought of as a finished circuit board, and it can only be produced if the circuit board's manufacturing process is concluded. PCBA=Printed Circuit Board +Assembly.


Types of pcb assembly

  • SMT assembly
  • BGA assembly
  • Through-hole assembly
  • Mixed assembly
  • Rigid-Flex PCBA


SMT assembly

What is the SMT assembly?

SMT, or surface mount technology, is its full name. SMT is a technique for attaching parts or components to circuit boards. SMT has replaced other methods in PCB assembly due to its superior results and increased efficiency. Through-hole assembly was mostly utilized in the past by PCB producers to add components. But SMT has introduced welding technology to replace the previous assembling technique. And all electronic businesses, including those in computers, telephones, smartphones, home appliances, etc., use PCBs made using the SMT assembly process. Printing solder paste, mounting components, reflow soldering, AOI, or AXI are all components of the basic SMT assembly process.

SMT Assembly


The advantages of SMT assembly

Small size and lightweight

The total size and weight of the PCBs are reduced by directly attaching the components to the board using SMT technology. This assembly process enables us to fit more components into a small area, resulting in smaller designs and improved performance.


High reliability

After the prototype has been validated, the entire SMT assembly process is almost fully automated using precise equipment, which reduces the possibility of human error. SMT technology ensures the consistency and dependability of the PCBs because of automation.



SMT assembly is often carried out using automated equipment. Even though the machines' input costs are expensive, the automatic machines assist in reducing manual steps throughout SMT operations, which considerably increases production efficiency and, over time, lowers labor costs. Additionally, through-hole assembly requires less materials, which lowers the cost.


SMT assembly capabilities of PCBGOGO

A fully automated SMT workshop for bulk production is owned by PCBGOGO. We also offer manual welding services for difficult items, prototyping, and small quantity orders. For PCB assembly, we have FR4 board, aluminum board, flexible board, and rigid-flex board options. Other assembly types, besides SMT assembly, include BGA assembly, through-hole assembly, mixed assembly, and kit assembly. The following files should be included with your SMT orders: a Gerber file (used for PCB fabrication), a BOM list, a CPL list, or a PNP list (pick and place).


BGA assembly

What is BGA?

An integrated circuit is packaged using a surface-mount device called a ball grid array (BGA), sometimes known as a chip carrier. Devices like microprocessors are permanently mounted using BGA packaging. A BGA can offer more connector pins than a dual in-line or flat package can accommodate. Instead of simply the edge, the entire bottom surface of the gadget can be used. Additionally, compared to a perimeter-only type, the traces connecting the package's leads to the wires or balls that connect the die to the package are typically shorter, improving performance at high speeds.

BGA Assembly


The advantages of BGA assembly

Higher-density circuits

Through-hole circuits got more densely populated, making it practically impossible to solder them precisely without crossover or short-circuits.


Heat conduction

BGA circuits minimize overheating issues by facilitating significantly easier heat transfer from the integrated circuit externally.


Lower inductance

The likelihood of interference issues in a BGA circuit is considerably reduced because each solder ball typically only measures a few millimeters in size.



Through-hole assembly

What is a through-hole assembly?

Electronic circuits are created using the through-hole assembly technique, in which the components are inserted using leads. It describes the installation procedure in which the leads are inserted into the pre-drilled holes and the components are soldered to the board using either wave soldering or manual soldering.

PCB design evolved over time from single-sided to double-sided, and finally to multi-layer boards. It is challenging to adapt through-hole assembly to the needs of contemporary electronics. In today's PCB production, SMT technology has essentially taken the place of through-hole construction. However, some applications, including those for electrolytic capacitors, connections, and big transformers, still require through-hole installation.

Through-hole Assembly

The advantages and disadvantages of Through-hole assembly

High reliability

As opposed to SMT components, which are simply soldered on the PCB's surface, through-hole assemblies require leads that are inserted into the holes to secure the components to the board, which results in higher environmental stress. As a result, through-hole assembly provides a stronger physical connection, making it the preferred method for the aerospace sector and the military, both of which have high dependability requirements.


Easy for manual operation

Because replacing or moving through-hole components is simpler, this assembly technique is frequently utilized in applications that call for PCB testing and PCB prototyping.


Higher durability

Industrial machinery and equipment frequently use through-hole components due to their strong heat resistance and high stress tolerance. Through-hole LEDs are used in the LED lights on enormous billboards because they are strong and bright.


Lower manufacturing efficiency

Due to the extra step of drilling and hold the components using leads, through-hole assembly is time-consuming, which causes higher costs and lower production efficiency.


Limited PCB design

Drilled holes must penetrate all layers of the board in through-hole assembly, which makes multi-layer PCBs unsuitable since it makes layout design and PCB manufacturing more challenging. Additionally, the board would be larger overall than SMT PCBs, which would limit its range of applications.


Mixed assembly

What is the mixed assembly?

Although surface mount technology has taken over as the primary mounting technique in PCB manufacture, some components are still incompatible with SMT assembly. The same board must then be used for SMT assembly and THT assembly. A mixed assembly is what is referred to as a blend of assembly technologies without the usage of solder paste during production.

The majority of the components are welded in surface mount configuration on the board, although mixed PCB assembly is required for some specific components that are not available in the SMT process.

Mixed Assembly

The advantages of Mixed assembly

  • Through-Hole, SMT, and BGA components are housed on the PCB in a mixed assembly.
  • SMT (Surface Mount Technology) or single- or double-sided mixed technology for PCB assembly BGAs have one or two sides, as well as micro-BGA.
  • 100% X-ray inspection during installation and rework.
  • Small-quantity PCB board components include all varieties of BGAs, QFNs, CSPs, 0201, 01005, POP, and Pressfit Components.
  • SMT and through-hole polarized capacitors are examples of part polarity capacitors.
  • Rework capabilities include the ability to remove and replace BGAs and MBGAs, as well as having experience with ceramic and plastic BGAs.


Rigid-flex printed circuit board assembly

What is Rigid-Flex PCBA?

Printed circuit boards that combine rigid and flexible board technologies are known as rigid-flex boards. Depending on the application's design, the majority of rigid flex boards are made up of many layers of flexible circuit substrates that are outwardly or internally attached to one or more rigid boards. The flexible substrates are typically formed into the flexed curve during manufacturing or installation and are intended to be in a constant state of flexibility.

Rigid-Flex PCBA

The advantages of Rigid-Flex PCBA

  • By using 3D, space requirements can be reduced.
  • The size of the board and the weight of the entire system can be decreased by doing away with the requirement for connectors and cables between the various rigid pieces.
  • There is frequently a lower part count when space is maximized.
  • Lower solder junctions guarantee more reliable connections.
  • Assembling rigid boards is easier than handling flexible boards.
  • PCB assembly procedures that are simpler.
  • Simple modular interfaces to the system environment are provided by integrated ZIF contacts.
  • Simpler test conditions are used. a thorough test is conducted before installation is possible.
  • Rigid-Flex boards greatly lower the cost of logistics and assembly.
  • It is feasible to make mechanical designs more sophisticated, which raises the degree of freedom for ideal housing solutions.


Conclusion of SMT assembly VS BGA assembly VS Through-hole assembly VS Mixed assembly VS Rigid-Flex PCBA


Which one is better in PCBA: SMT, BGA, or Through-hole?

Through-hole technology might be the most effective for low-volume PCB fabrication (like prototyping). For components that must withstand high stress, through-hole is frequently viewed as the superior option since wire leads provide a solid link. The preferred mounting method for front connectors, where USB cables and cords will be plugged in, is frequently via hole. However, drilling holes costs more and requires soldering on both sides of the PCB, which extends the production cycle. On multi-layer boards, through hole connectors can reduce the available routing space.

Multiple advanced functions, effective performance, and enhanced speed are required for modern electronic gadgets, all in a smaller device. Even with more electronic components, the assembly still needs to be thinner. BGA packages are the best choice for these needs. For instance, BGAs are typically used in the manufacturing of ICs having more than 200 I/O connections. Surface Mount is a superior option when production volumes are high since SMD components take up less space, resulting in a more compact, component-dense circuit board. SMT is a more dependable method than manual assembly using through-hole technology because SMDs are amenable to automation utilizing pick-and-place robotic machines—no drilling is necessary. The industry standard method for back connectors is SMT. SMT does have some drawbacks, too. For example, it is not recommended for connecting high-stress components, and it necessitates an initial investment in pricey technology for mass production.

Overall, SMT is more cost-effective and time-efficient.


The comparison between SMT assembly and THT assembly

First, SMT components are fully automated and welded onto the board using a reflow machine. While wave-soldered and hand-soldered techniques are both traditional approaches in the THT assembly process, THT assembly requires pre-drilling holes in the board and employing leads to link the components and circuits.

Second, only wave soldering is permitted for PCBs with through-hole components; reflow or wave soldering are not permitted for PCBs with surface mount devices (SMDs). Therefore, if both SMT components and THT components are used on the board, there are extra stages in the assembly process. Typically, SMT is carried out first, followed by THT assembly.

Thirdly, SMT assembly can be completed quickly and accurately thanks to advanced and precise machinery. SMT is more suited to high-density and tiny size PCB applications due to its ability to precisely insert thin and small components on the board. Additionally, THT is favoured by components with high requirements for dependability and huge size since it offers more durable connections than SMT components.

SMT assemblies have a number of advantages, including high productivity, high precision, light weight, and low cost. SMT is quicker and more cost-effective for mass production. THT assemblies are often very dependable, have a high stress tolerance, are heavier, and cost more. THT is the ideal assembly technique for prototype and small-scale PCB production.


The comparison between SMT assembly and Rigid-Flex PCBA

Electrical components are put directly onto the surface of a printed circuit board using surface-mount technology (SMT) (PCB). Because SMT components can have smaller leads or no leads at all, they are often smaller than their through-hole counterparts.

Photolithographic technology is used to create flexible printed circuits (FPC). Stiff flex printed circuit boards are circuit boards that combine rigid and flexible board technology. Depending on the application's design, the majority of rigid flex boards are made up of many layers of flexible circuit substrates that are outwardly or internally attached to one or more rigid boards.

All in all, SMT is more cost-effective and time-efficient and Rigid-Flex PCBA is time-consuming and expansive.


Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is PCB board?

Copper conductors are used to make electrical connections between components on a printed circuit board (PCB), which is an electronic assembly. Electronic components are mechanically supported by printed circuit boards, allowing a device to be housed in an enclosure.


What are the differences between the rigid pcb and flexible pcb?

From their names, it may be deduced that stiff PCBs and flex PCBs differ most significantly. Flex PCBs can be bent or otherwise shaped to fit inside the designated system while rigid PCBs cannot be bent or otherwise shaped. When properly engineered, flexible circuits can be repeatedly stretched for hundreds of thousands of cycles without breaking. Flex boards are more expensive on average, but they are necessary for applications with constrained space requirements, such as consumer electronics, medical devices, space applications, and automotive applications. The affordability of rigid circuit boards is a major factor in their popularity. Because rigid circuit boards take up less space, manufacturers can save a lot on traditional electronics, especially consumer electronics.


What does PCB assembly mean?

A printed wiring board (PWB), on the other hand, is a board that is devoid of components and is used in electronics that do not require complicated functionality. A printed circuit board (PCB) is a completely constructed board that has all the circuitry required to go into an electronic device.


What is PCB SMT assembly?

The technique of soldering electronic components to a printed circuit board (PCB) is known as SMT assembly technology. Small amounts of molten solder paste are utilized in this procedure to join the component leads to pads on the PCB surface.


What is PCB BGA assembly?

Ball grid array, sometimes known as BGA, is a type of packaging used to mount components with hundreds of pins, such as microprocessors. It also goes by the name Ball Grid Array. BGA assembly is the process of directly mounting the BGA packages or integrated circuits (ICs) onto the BGA board and soldering them in place.

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