There are many ways and techniques that manufactures use to mount devices and components on a printed circuit board. Through-hole was the traditional method that remained prevalent for quite long in the past. After that, SMT went on to replace this technology by bringing something new to the PCB production and assembling industry.
In this section we have discussed some of the points that explain this amazing technique of mounting circuits, describes its features, benefits, and when can we use this technology.
What is SMT or surface mount technology?
In this technique, the manufactures place all the devices directly on the surface of circuit board, and the resulting product is what we refer to as SMD (surface mount device). Because of the effectiveness and efficiency factor, this technique has amazingly replaced the previous through-hole mounting method. However, a production unit can utilize both of these techniques on the same board to construct PCBs.
The reason behind using it in conjunction with through-hole is that there are some devices which do not support surface mounting. Large transformers and power semiconductors are examples of a few of such devices. Mostly the components that come under usage for mounting under SMT technique are small in size, as compared to those used in through-hole method. It is because the SMT devices have small leads or no leads at all.
Advantages of using SMT assembly:
Size is the biggest advantage of using SMT. As electronic devices are now getting more compact in size, there is a constant need of using small units and devices which surface mounting has made possible. It means that electronics have now become more advanced and compact than it was ever before, with technology making it more compact day by day.
Using this technique of mounting devices, there is now a need of drilling only a few holes on the board. Because of this, assembling process has become more automated and faster. Icing on the cake is that now components are able to sit on both sides of a circuit board which simplifies things even further.
To top it all, many of the SMT components and devices cost less compared to through-hole counterparts. All these features result in low cost, and less time for initializing the production along with less manufacturing cost.
When to use this technique?
- When the product has to be small
- The product should be capable of accommodating big memory volumes
- When the product has to be light and sleek despite dense components.
- It should create little or no noise.
- When it requires accommodating large and complex ICs
- When there is a need to make the product function at high frequencies
SMT assembly and mounting technique has truly revolutionized the electronics industry. It has simplified the underlying processes to several folds, thus streamlining the PCB production.