How Does the Weight of Printed Circuit Board Assembly Compare to Traditiona

Printed Circuit Board Assembly Compare to Traditiona

Printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) is the process of turning an unpopulated (blank) PCB into one that is fully loaded with electronic components that have been soldered to the board. This process consists of many steps from obtaining the components to component placement and quality control inspection. Depending on the design, there are both manual and automated options for each of these processes.

A printed circuit board assembly is composed of a substrate, or base material, and copper. The substrate is typically made of paper or phenolic resin, and is used as the foundation for the electrical conductors on which the circuitry is placed. The copper is added to each functional side of the PCB — on one side for a single-sided PCB or both sides for a double-sided board. The copper traces are where current passes through the circuit board, and the varying thicknesses of copper traces affect the overall weight of the board.

While thinner boards are typically lighter, they may also be less rigid. Narrower boards are more susceptible to stress during the soldering process, and a sudden change in stress can cause the board to bend at an undesirable angle. This can lead to broken connections and malfunctioning electronics.

How Does the Weight of Printed Circuit Board Assembly Compare to Traditiona

For this reason, thicker boards are often preferred. They are more durable and can withstand greater levels of stress, and they can also accommodate more components without the need for additional layers. While a thicker PCB may cost more, it is worth the investment in long-term reliability.

The standard copper thickness for a PCB is 1 ounce per layer, and this is the default assumption by manufacturers when they receive a design file that does not include specific measurements. However, for more demanding applications, a higher copper thickness may be necessary to achieve the desired results. There are several online tools that can help determine the required thickness, width and length of a trace for a particular design.

In addition to the copper thickness, the overall weight of a PCB is affected by the substrate. A heavier substrate can add more weight than a thinner one, which makes it difficult to handle and ship. A heavier board also takes longer to etch, and it can absorb heat more quickly during the reflow soldering step of the assembly process.

A PCB’s weight can also increase if it is assembled with mixed technology. This type of assembly requires the use of both through-hole and surface mount technology. A single-sided mixed assembly is when the board has regular-size components on one side and tinier components on the other, while a double-sided mixed assembly is when the board features regular-size components on both sides.

To reduce the weight of a printed circuit board, a manufacturer should consider a Design for Manufacture (DFM) check. This is an early review of a client’s PCB design that examines the part spacing, pin indications, footprint corroboration and BOM verification, among other things, to ensure that the design will be producible. Altest offers this service to all of its clients as a free way to improve their design and avoid costly errors.

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