For a long time, the industry standard for printed circuit boards (PCBs) has been through-hole circuits.
This method is relatively simple to implement but becomes time-consuming on a mass scale.
PCBs made by through-hole circuits involved drilling holes into the boards, mounting components on one side of the board, then threading the leads through the appropriate holes.
However, as the demand for new technology has risen, the need for automating this process became apparent.
Enter: surface-mount technology, also referred to as SMT — the solution manufacturers were looking for.
SMT has many benefits, like higher circuit speeds, customized soldering options, and vibration resistance.
Let’s explore the many benefits that surface-mount technology has to offer in the electronic manufacturing world.
More Compact Devices and Increased Design Flexibility
One of the most significant benefits of surface-mount technology is how it supports more compact devices and increases design flexibility. This is because the higher density of the board allows the PCB to take up less space while still providing the same capabilities as a traditional printed circuit board.
As electronic devices get smaller, and the demand for these smaller devices increases, PCBs must also get smaller — surface-mount technology enables this.
Manufacturers, designers, and engineers need to keep up with these trends.
Implementing SMT methods to your printed circuit board manufacturing process will lead to more flexibility in design and lighter products. Creating a more lightweight product can expand the possibilities for innovation, reduce shipping costs, and limit the amount of power required to charge and use the device.
With surface-mount technology, you eliminate an entire step in the manufacturing and assembly process.
Since you don’t have to connect through-holes by utilizing SMT, the assembly process will be quicker — boards become easier to design, assembly by the manufacturer goes faster, and products get to market quicker.
An easy and efficient assembly process alleviates the number of potential mistakes in producing printed circuit boards.
It’s not rocket science — when printed circuit boards are smaller, and assembly is easier, costs will be reduced, especially if you partner with the right electronics manufacturer.
With SMT, there are fewer materials to be used, fewer steps in the assembly process, and a better chance to design the next hot electronic device.
Disadvantages To Note About SMT
While the benefits of surface-mount technology are profound, there are also disadvantages to note.
First off, the smaller boards and limited lead space make repairs on products created with surface-mount technology difficult. Printed circuit boards can be as little as 0.2” x 0.2”, leaving no room for tools to get close and make repairs.
Having the ability to repair boards and components is important because, without this ability, you’ll likely have to remanufacture, which is costly.
Another common disadvantage to note of surface-mount technology is that this method cannot be used on electronics that have components that produce high amounts of electric heat. This is because the component’s heating can melt the solder, making the printed circuit board useless.
However, the benefits of SMT strongly outweigh the disadvantages in most instances.
Consider Using SMT
Before deciding whether to adopt surface-mount technology for your printed circuit boards, it’s important to first determine the requirements needed to produce an end-product successfully. Once you have determined your needs, design a prototype for testing purposes before beginning mass production.
Utilizing SMT will enable you to create smaller devices and simpler designs with quicker assembly and lower costs. Consider implementing this method in your PCB manufacturing process to get a step ahead of the competition.