June 15, 2024

Select the Right Components for PCB Assembly

While designing a circuit board that does what it is designed to do is the first step, there is much more to a functional electronic device than just making the bare printed circuit board. The assembler must then place the correct components onto the board and perform testing to ensure that all components are functioning properly. It is at this point that the board becomes functional and ready to be shipped to customers or retailers for sale.

To make this process go smoothly for pcb assembly us, the designer should consider component selections and placement guidelines during the PCB design phase. This starts with selecting a suitable part footprint that fits the physical package of the selected component as well as a suitable location on the PCB where it is to be placed. The footprint defines the electrical pad connections on one side of the component and mechanical (X, Y and Z) dimensions including height clearance restrictions on both top and bottom sides.

The component selection process should also include considerations such as lead time, cost and availability. It is important to avoid using low-cost, low-quality parts as this can reduce a product’s longevity and reliability. Choosing to use the latest, most advanced technology parts can increase the overall performance of a product and reduce the risk of failure due to early degradation.

How to Select the Right Components for PCB Assembly

During the schematic drawing phase, it is important to consider which components should be Plated Through Hole (PTH) or Surface Mount Technology (SMT). This decision will affect a product’s manufacturing and assembly costs. The designer should consider package size, power dissipation, area density and other factors when making this decision. It is recommended to use smaller SMD components where possible as this will improve product manufacturing yield and reduce the cost of labor associated with handling large and heavy parts.

Once the final schematic has been approved by the engineering team, it should be renamed to a BOM and then exported as a Gerber file with a matching assembly notes file. It is essential that the assembly notes file contains all of the required data callouts to help ensure error free production. This should include a DO NOT POPULATE (DNP) column for parts that are not to be populated, as well as all necessary reference designators and orientation markings.

To make sure that the assembler has the best chance of producing high quality boards, the engineer should provide the CM with a clean BOM and assembly notes file along with all appropriate Gerber files. The CM should review the BOM for proper DFM compliance, which is an IPC benchmark that helps to prevent common manufacturing errors such as incorrect trace spacing, copper slivers and solder bridging between adjacent pads.

A dedicated project coordinator can offer valuable input, real-time access to parts and materials and recommend assembly prep where needed. At CIC, our project coordinators source full BOMs for kits to be supplied for assembly on behalf of our customers and are able to quickly provide alternative parts for when the original is unavailable.

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