As today’s electronics designs become smaller and more complex, more engineers are counting on surface mount technology. After the 1980s, this technology became the popular PCB assembly technology in electronics manufacturing and hasn’t lull since. Most of the parts of your phone whether it’s an iPhone or a flip phone were made via surface mount technology (SMT). Today approximately all of the parts in your vehicle or Uber ride were likely made via SMT assembly. Surface mount technology (SMT) is an alternative to older through-hole (TH) printed circuit board (PCB) design and manufacturing. Even when there are reasons to use through-hole components on your PCB, surface-mounted components nearly always win. In fact, the majority of equipment manufactured commercially uses surface-mounted technology.
What is Surface Mount Technology (SMT)?
During the 1970s and 1980s, automation began to rise for PCB assembly. Traditional components with leads weren’t easy for PCB assembly. Instead, resistors and capacitors needed to possess pre-formed leads so they may fit through holes. Although this was the popular method, it had been a difficult approach to master. Leads often fail to hear the holes because they were very compact, slowing down the printed circuit board assembly procedure and raising manufacturing prices. Thankfully, surface mount technology was born. instead of having to wire between two points, SMT components are set onto a board and then soldered to that. Their leads shouldn’t undergo any holes as would be required during a traditional leaded component.
Surface-mount technology (SMT) was originally called “planar mounting” and was first employed by IBM within the ’60s to style small-scale computers. This technology was eventually adopted to be used in guidance systems within the program and has been constantly improving since. SMT produces electronic circuits within which the components are directly mounted onto the printed circuit boards (PCBs). Surface-mount devices (SMDs) are the result. This technology modifies through-hole using wire lead chip assembly. Many components for SMT, often cited as surface mount devices or SMDs, are smaller and lighter than their counterparts because they need short pins, and smaller leads (or no leads at all).
Surface Mount Technology is an element of the electronic assembly that deals with the mounting of electronic components to the surface of the PCB. Electronic components mounted in this manner are called surface mounted devices (SMD). SMT was developed to attenuate manufacturing costs while making efficient use of PCB space.
Benefits of Surface Mount Technology
SMT assembly technology is the process of mounting electronic components to a printed circuit board (PCB) by soldering. During this process, tiny amounts of molten solder paste are accustomed attached to the component and end up in pads on the PCB surface. SMT assembly usually involves using automated tools that place and arranges the parts onto the PCB. SMT allows for more efficient, automated PCB assembly and production. This can be why virtually all equipment commercially manufactured today uses surface mount technology. Let’s explore the benefits of using surface mount technology:
- Automated Assembly
Most SMT parts can be installed easily on circuit boards using automated pick & place equipment. High volume parts, like passive components, are loaded into the pick and place machine from reels while other parts are loaded from tube feeders or trays. This can be an awfully important difference over PTH parts which frequently must be manually assembled.
- The commonality of parts over PTH
SMT parts are usually more cost-effective than their PTH counterparts because of their size and volume. SMT parts are more available than PTH parts due to what proportion they’re in demand.
Surface-mount technology (SMT) allows the creation of smaller printed circuit board designs by permitting parts to be placed closer together on the board. This implies devices are designed to be more lightweight and compact. SMT parts are typically smaller than their PTH counterparts since they don’t have long leads that require to be inserted and soldered into holes. This enables the PCB designer to suit more components in less space on the board than will be finished PTH parts. SMT led to much smaller components and enabled component placement on either side of the board more frequently than with through-hole mounting. Surface mounting enables a better degree of automation minimizing labor costs and expanding production rates leading to advanced PCB design and development.
- Electrical Performance
With more SMT parts having the ability to suit the board than PTH parts thanks to their size, you furthermore may find yourself with shorter signal paths on the board. This may give your PCB better signal integrity, and less generated heat than with PTH parts.
- Its Eases Assembly
Since the component leads are surface mounted to the pads, there’s no need for lead forming. This makes SMT assembly much simpler and faster than through-hole technology, where the component leads must be bent into shape and inserted into holes drilled within the PCB solder joints.
- Its Reliability
Surface mount components are typically more reliable than their through-hole counterparts because they’re less at risk of vibration and shock. Additionally, the employment of solder paste rather than molten solder greatly reduces the prospect of component failure because of cold-solder joints.
- The Ability to Use Mixed Technology PCBs
With SMT assembly technology, PCBs that combine both through-hole and surface-mounted components are possible. This can be useful in applications where space constraints necessitate using both forms of connectors, for instance, when building an audio mixer board that has both stationary controls (through-holes) and sliding faders or potentiometers (SMD).
Another advantage of Surface Mount Technology assembly is that it uses board space in an exceedingly rather more efficient way. Due to SMT assembly, engineers can now finagle complex electronics into smaller assemblies. Additionally, to more efficiently use the space on a PCB, SMT assembly is way faster, allowing manufacturers to extend total output. To place this in perspective, something that may have taken 1-2 hours to perform via through-hole takes 10-15 minutes via SMT assembly.