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SMT Assembly

SMT assembly

Major benefits of SMT Assembly due to their inherent automated processes include reduced errors, increased output and consistent quality, but may not always be the best solution.

The usage of SMT line machines and process are standard practice in PCB assembly and are thought to be more efficient. However, automation is not appropriate for every job. Hand, or manual assembly may be a better option for assembling boards in low quantities or using components with unique properties, like heat sensitivity, shape and/or size.

Volume can be a determining factor of whether or not to assemble by hand. Smaller volume orders are often best assembled by hand- reducing production time and complications for efficiency and faster turnaround.

The characteristics of chosen components should be factored in before making assembly choices. Careful and potentially time-consuming SMT calibration is required to minimize the risk of damage when using components with:

  • Heat sensitivity
  • Unusual shape and center of gravity
  • Inadequate packaging and/or documentation from the manufacturer
  • XY Data

Consequently, low-volume orders using components with unique properties and insufficient packaging or documentation should be manually assembled by a skilled technician.

In general, SMT lines are preferred for large-volume assembly because they consistently produce quality PCBs and reduce the margin of error associated with manual assembly. The key to ensuring quality of manual assembled boards is having a well-defined manual process with failsafe quality checks that hold hand and automated orders to the same standards. This is typically implemented by limiting manual elements to placement of components on the board.

Before starting your project, we strongly advise consulting with your PCB service provider regarding your PCB assembly options.

Optima Technology is a global provider of PCBs, PCB Assemblies, Cables and System Assemblies located in Lewisberry, PA and New Delhi, India. Since 1995, Optima has specialized in providing local support coupled with cost-effective pricing via offshore manufacturing through our ISO approved facilities. Please reach out to if you’d like to discuss further your PCB or Electronic Assembly needs.