SMT Differ From Through-Hole PCB Manufacturing

In electronic design, one of the first decisions that must be made is whether to use surface mount pcb technology (SMT) or traditional through-hole technology (THT). The right choice will have a significant impact on the overall cost and assembly time for a PCB. The decision is usually based on the availability of components in different package types and sizes. However, there are other factors that can play into deciding which method to use.

SMT is a form of PCB manufacturing that eliminates the need for drilling holes in the board, which speeds up the process significantly. It also enables much higher circuit densities. This is largely due to the fact that components are much smaller than their through-hole counterparts, which allows them to be placed on both sides of the board and in more compact packages.

The process of assembling a PCB using SMT is far more automated than through-hole assembly, which reduces labor costs and makes the process more flexible. To begin with, the assembler places solder paste where it is needed on the board. Once the paste has been applied, a pick-and-place machine can then place the components on the PCB using a vacuum or gripping nozzle. The nozzles can be programmed to move across the surface of the PCB at different positions, enabling them to locate the various components that are required for the circuit’s function.

How Does SMT Differ From Through-Hole PCB Manufacturing?

There are a variety of SMT component styles available, although most of them can be classified into three groups: passive components, transistors and diodes, and integrated circuits. Passive components like resistors and capacitors are typically contained in small plastic packages that have leads that run from the device body to the PCB. Transistors and diodes have lead pins that extend from the package to the PCB and are bent over the pads on which they will be mounted. These are usually arranged in two rows, with the axial leads on the left and radial leads on the right.

Through-hole components are inserted into holes that have been drilled into the circuit board. Once the components are inserted, they are then soldered in place by hand or with specialized insertion mount machines. The through-hole components can be soldered either on the front or back of the circuit board. Some components, such as capacitors and resistors, can be mounted on both sides of the circuit board. This is particularly useful for high-density applications where the shortest component length is critical.

However, some components can only be mounted on one side of the circuit board or in a specific area. The most popular basic components like transistors and many logic and analogue ICs normally have versions in both leaded and SMT forms, although the selection of SMT devices often exceeds that of their through-hole counterparts. This is mainly due to the need for greater density in modern electronics and because many of the components have similar functionality.

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