Since 1995, EMSG has been a partner to businesses in a range of different industries and sectors. Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing is one of our core service offerings.
Over the years, we have expanded our technical and production capabilities to establish ourselves as a leader in advanced PCB assembly services. We are an electrical assembly company that specializes in short-run productions of 50,000 units or less and offer comprehensive inspection, testing and quality control services to help you create products and prototypes that meet your requirements.
The PCB Assembly Process: Prototyping and Custom Design
The early stages of PCB production are often the most challenging if product manufacturers are starting development independently. We can help make outsourcing production a valuable choice for your product’s quality. Our experts can consult with your design team and plan a custom PCB around your specifications, including:
How the product functions and what performance benchmarks should be met
Environmental factors the electronics must withstand
The price and quantity
Any agency standards to work within
Based on our discussions around these points and more, we generate a competitive quote for the project. If no images have been made, we can create drawings to envision how the PCB will be assembled. We begin working with a small number of parts to build the circuitry and hardware of a prototype PCB.
Our goal is to exceed your expectations with the quality of the unit’s performance. Through multiple iterations and two-way feedback, we move toward a finalized design and prepare to increase production. We also perform rigorous testing to verify that the newly produced PCBs function as expected.
Preparation for PCB Placing and Setting Components
The overall composition of a PCB varies by project requirements. A board’s substrate is made up of multiple layers of material and routed with copper foil. Before any assembly of the components begins, assemblers must check design files and evaluate any potential faults in the PCBs that could hamper performance.
How the units are assembled depends on which one of two mounting methods is used: surface mount or through-hole assembly.
PCB Assembly Process Overview: Surface Mount Assembly (SMT)
The majority of printed circuit boards today are assembled using surface mount technology. Surface mount technology allows for smaller and more tightly-packed components as well as faster production times and lower overall costs.
Solder paste is applied to a PCB with the help of a stencil. After inspection by the operator, pick-and-place machines can fully automate component positioning. To secure each part in place, the assembled PCB will be heated in an oven, a technique, called reflow soldering, which liquefies the paste.
EMSG manufactures IPC-A-610 standard PCB assemblies in both leaded and ROHS technologies. Our production facilities include Samsung placement machines that can operate at speeds up to 80,000 cph while handling component types as small as 01005 package size.
PCB Assembly and Design Processes: Through-Hole
Thru-hole PCB manufacturing is an older alternative to surface mount technology that is still in use in a variety of applications. Unlike SMT devices, it requires drilling a hole into the board itself where leads can be attached. This allows for stronger bonds and, ultimately, more durable products.
During the through-hole assembly process, component leads are inserted into the drilled holes based on their position and polarity. Once an assembler determines everything is in place, they secure each component with heated solder paste. The solder cools and hardens, which creates the high-strength bond. While through-hole manufacturing was done manually for years, technology advancements have sped up the process and allowed for automation in soldering and assembly.
PCB Assembly Equipment and Quality Assurance
We run dual shifts to meet the thru-hole PCB production needs of our clients. Full or partial automation of the assembly process is possible thanks to our Universal 6287A axial insertion machine. Once the board is assembled, soldering is performed using Ace KISS-103 machines, which also have automation PCB capabilities. High-quality soldering material is applied accurately to limit any defects, such as lead protrusion, nonwetting and short circuits.Thanks to selective investments in these and other layout software tools, we can quickly process jobs that would otherwise require time-consuming hand labor.
Final Inspection (X-Ray Machine)
To ensure proper quality control, we have an in-house x-ray machine through which our technicians can quickly identify surface-level defects. We also have the machinery to perform automated functional testing and optical inspection, identifying faulty or misplaced components. Our expert technicians focus on custom PCB building and assembly.
Choosing the Right Process for Your Application
Surface mount technology PCBs are faster to produce, making them the best choice for commercial applications. SMT manufacturing is also the only way to manufacture certain small items, as it allows for more compact spacing between components.
Thru-hole circuit boards, while requiring more time to produce, are more durable and easier to modify if necessary. The soldering strength makes through-hole circuit boards the preferred choice for harsher environments in many industries, such as military and aerospace.
One of the benefits of working with EMSG is that, because we offer both services, we are free to objectively assess your needs and recommend the process that will bring your product or prototype to life in the most cost-effective manner. Set up a consultation at your convenience or request a quote online, and we’ll be happy to start planning your PCB production. We provide support throughout the process, all the way to delivering the final product to market.
Our York, PA headquarters features a 20,000 square foot production floor where we perform all printed circuit board manufacturing. We are an electronic component assembly company that is proud to serve clients throughout the East Coast and in the Metro DC area. To request a custom quote and lead time from one of our engineers, request a quote today online, by phone at 717-764-0002 or by email. If you don’t have design or Gerber files our engineering team can create the design files based on your request.