SMT Assembly Services - Surface Mount PCB Assembly
Surface mount technology (SMT) continues to grow in popularity as electronics simultaneously increase in complexity while decreasing in size. SMT assembly has been the preferred technology for printed circuit boards (PCBs) since the early 1990s.
What is SMT Assembly?
SMT assembly involves assembling and placing electronic components on a PCB using automated machines. Rather than the old way of soldering components to a wire lead, SMT assembly places the components directly on the PCB’s surface. Steps include:
- Apply soldering paste (made of flux and tin particles) to the PCB
- Place SMT components on top of the soldering paste
- Solder the boards, using a reflow process
What are the Advantages of SMT?
Reducing manufacturing costs was one of the main drivers behind the development of SMT assembly technology. SMT requires far less drilling into the circuit board and can produce high volumes, resulting in a lower cost per unit.
The efficiency of SMT assembly allows complex PCB designs in less space. SMT assembly is also speedier. A process that takes one to two hours using through-hole takes as little as 10 to 15 minutes using SMT assembly.
3. Less Error-Prone
SMT assembly is almost entirely automated. Since it relies more on machines and less on humans, it’s less prone to error.
Compared to through-hole assembly, in which lead wires must pass through holes in the PCB to connect components, SMT assembly is much less complex. SMT components are soldered right onto the PCB.
What are the Disadvantages of SMT?
1. Attention to Detail
The most significant disadvantage of SMT assembly is that it requires much more attention to detail than through-hole assembly. Even with a largely automated process, design parameters must be met by the designer and the electronics contract manufacturer.
2. Not Always a Solo Solution
Problems can arise when a PCB with an SMT assembly is used in certain conditions, including:
- Mechanical stress
- Environmental stress
- Temperature stress
These problems can be mitigated by blending SMT assembly with through-hole processes on the same board to get the benefits of both.
What is SMT assembly used for?
SMT assembly was developed to create an improved and more powerful electronic product. You can find various SMT applications in any office or home.
SMT has primarily taken over electronics manufacturing. If a product needs to be smaller, faster, lighter, or more powerful, it will likely be produced via SMT assembly instead of the through-hole process.
What are the SMT assembly capabilities of NEMO Manufacturing?
In the contract manufacturing industry, which is highly competitive, NEMO Manufacturing has taken on the mission of exceeding every customer’s expectations. We are committed to consistently producing reliable products, providing superior customer service, and maintaining a talented and experienced staff. NEMO customers can expect excellence from us because we demand it from ourselves.
1. Four High-Speed SMT Assembly Lines
SMT printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) is our core competency, with the capacity to produce high volume. We were early adopters of the plant-within-a-plant concept.
Our accomplishments include metal-clad Teflon, ceramic and fiberglass PCB assembly, IoT modules, and cell-tower gear. We have placed 0201s, BGAs, and QFPs and provided fine-pitch assembly. We can also put 01005s at scale.
2. Through-Hole Assembly
Some customers require a unique blend of manufacturing technologies. At NEMO, we also offer through-hole production, complete box build assembly, and mechanical add-ons to boards per customer specifications. We do this from Prototype through production runs.
3. Manufacturing Assembly Solutions
We offer manufacturing assembly solutions for customers needing help with problems with PCB, cable & box assemblies. We are experts in the field and would be happy to advise you.
4. Cable Assemblies
We have extensive experience making cable assemblies, including RF cables, flat ribbons, and sizeable point-to-point cable harness assemblies.
5. Box Builds
We have extensive experience with complex top-level box-level builds. Assembly using aluminum casted chassis, injection molded parts, aluminum, and plastic extrusions.
Our Competitive Advantages
- Extensive Design for Assembly/Design for Manufacture (DFM) experience
- Four automated surface mount lines built around Universal GSM and Philips/Assembleon SMT platform groups.
- Lean Manufacturing principles
- Lifecycle management
- Mirtec Automated Optical Inspection (AOI)
- New Product Introduction (NPI) expert
- Preferred Parts List (PPL) is available to help achieve low BOM cost
- Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) techniques
- Supply chain management
- Testing per customer-provided test environment
- We purchase components thru factory-authorized channels ONLY!
- Wireless, RF, Analog, and Digital
- Commercial & Industrial
Put Our Experience to Work for You
As you can see, SMT assembly is a big part of every electronics design today. If you're still using through-hole in your PCB design, consider whether SMT assembly is the upgrade you need to help your product evolve.
The obvious solution to any SMT downfalls is to work with a qualified and credible partner who can advise you on potential issues using SMT vs. through-hole.
Rely on the knowledge and experience of NEMO Manufacturing. Our engineers have decades of experience working at market-leading RF, Land-Mobile, Broadcast, and Wireless OEMs.
Our staff was involved in adopting surface mount technology (SMT) RF amplifiers and digital control gear in the early 1980s and adopting adhesive-less double-side SMT assembly in the 1990s. We have seen trends and cutting-edge technology come and go.
NEMO operates a complete lean manufacturing system, for critical inventory and manufacturing management. We accept consigned materials as well as supply turnkey materials. Vendor approval and customer-supplied material acceptance programs are in place to protect the integrity of all manufacturing materials.
SMT Assembly FAQs
Q: What do I need to provide to NEMO Manufacturing to get a quote?
A: For an accurate quote, please have the following materials available:
- Latest Bill of Materials
- Assembly Drawings
- Vendor Part Numbers for Materials
- All CAD, Gerber & Drill Files for PCB
- Sample Board if Possible
- Test Specification
- Packing Information