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PCB/PCBA knowledge
PCBA Processing vs SMT Processing – What is the Difference

PCBA processing and SMT processing are two different methods used in the production of electronic circuit boards. PCBA stands for Printed Circuit Board Assembly, while SMT refers to the specific technique used in the assembly process. Let’s have a detailed look at what is the difference between PCBA processing vs SMT processing.

Table of Contents

What is PCBA processing?

PCBA, Printed Circuit Board Assembly, refers to installing electronic components (such as chips, resistors, capacitors, etc.) onto a printed circuit board (PCB), and then firmly connecting them together through welding technology to form a complete circuit board.

PCBA Processing
PCBA Processing

PCBA processing usually includes two main processes: SMT (Surface Mount Technology) and THT (Through-Hole Technology).

What is SMT processing?

SMT, Surface Mount Technology, is a technology that mounts components directly onto the surface of a printed circuit board. In SMT processing, the pins of the components are adhered to the PCB surface through solder paste, and then heated through a hot air oven or reflow oven, causing the solder paste to melt and solidify, thereby realizing the connection between the components and the PCB.

SMT Processing
SMT Processing

SMT processing has the characteristics of high automation, high production efficiency, and is suitable for miniaturization and lightweight products, so it is widely used in modern electronic manufacturing.

SMT PCB Assembly Process - Surface Mount Technology

Difference between PCBA processing and SMT processing

PCBA Processing vs SMT Processing
PCBA Processing vs SMT Processing

(1) Different processing ranges

PCBA processing is a broader concept, including both SMT and THT technologies. In PCBA processing, you can choose to use SMT technology, THT technology or a combination of the two according to project needs.

SMT processing focuses on surface mounting technology, that is, components are directly mounted on the PCB surface. SMT processing is usually suitable for small, high-density electronic products and is characterized by high automation and efficient production.

(2) Different installation methods of components
In SMT processing, the pins of components are directly connected to the PCB surface without drilling, which can achieve higher assembly density.

In THT processing, the pins of the components are passed through the holes of the PCB and then soldered to the other side of the board. THT processing is suitable for some large-scale, high-temperature-resistant, high-current components, and is also commonly used in industrial control electronic products in special environments.

(3) Different applicable scenarios

SMT processing is suitable for small electronic products, such as consumer electronics such as mobile phones, tablets, and televisions, as well as some high-density, lightweight industrial control products.

THT processing is suitable for some large-scale, high-power electronic products used in special environments, such as power modules, motor drivers, inverters, etc.

How to choose the appropriate processing method?

When choosing a PCBA processing method, comprehensive considerations need to be made based on the needs of the specific project and product characteristics.

If your product is small, lightweight, and requires high density of circuit boards, then SMT processing is a good choice.

If the product is larger, needs to withstand high current, high temperature, or is an industrial control product, then THT processing may be more suitable.

In addition, factors such as production volume, production cycle, and cost also need to be considered.

SMT processing is usually suitable for large-volume production, while THT processing is more suitable for small and medium-volume production. At the same time, SMT processing has a higher degree of automation and faster production efficiency, but it also requires relatively higher equipment investment.

THT processing is relatively low-cost and suitable for some small-scale projects with special requirements.

PCBA processing and SMT processing are two commonly used technologies in electronic manufacturing. They have their own characteristics and are suitable for different types of products. When selecting a processing method, a comprehensive evaluation needs to be conducted based on factors such as project requirements, product characteristics, production volume, and cost.

FAQ

PCBA, Printed Circuit Board Assembly, refers to installing electronic components (such as chips, resistors, capacitors, etc.) onto a printed circuit board (PCB), and then firmly connecting them together through welding technology to form a complete circuit board. PCBA processing usually includes two main processes: SMT (Surface Mount Technology) and THT (Through-Hole Technology).

SMT, Surface Mount Technology, is a technology that mounts components directly onto the surface of a printed circuit board. In SMT processing, the pins of the components are adhered to the PCB surface through solder paste, and then heated through a hot air oven or reflow oven, causing the solder paste to melt and solidify, thereby realizing the connection between the components and the PCB.

(1) Different processing ranges

(2) Different installation methods of components

(3) Different applicable scenarios

Kerstin

Author

Kerstin

Hi, I am Kerstin, graduating from one of a well- known university in China and I has a master's degree in physics. I have more than 5 year's experience as a professional engineer in PCB industry and expertise in PCB design, PCB assembly, PCB manufacturing, etc. I am committed to offering services and solutions about PCB/PCBA for various industries for their projects with professional knowledge. During 5 years of engineering career, I have done different circuit designing projects for different companies such as electronics, industry and medical devices, winning a lot of reputation among many customers. Selected as an outstanding employee of IBE every year. I'm always here to provide you with fast, reliable, quality services about PCB/PCBA.

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