Printed Circuit Boards, or PCBs, are one of the more important technologies that have emerged in the 20th century.
Their use has in fact, all the more accelerated, as the world becomes increasingly advanced in terms of science and technology, with its use being felt in every aspect of our lives.
There is much that can be said about the design of the PCBs, and everything else that goes into it.
One of the many principles used in the manufacture of PCBs, is that of what is called ?Surface Mount Technology?.
It is one of the key aspects of the modern PCB industry, and which is found almost everywhere, from the simplest circuits, to the more complex and highly integrated ones.
There is much that can be said about ?Surface Mount Technology?, from their basic designs to their more advanced aspects.
Some of the key details of the same are explained in the points below.
1.) The Term & Basic Introduction
The concept of "Surface Mount Technology", or SMT, is a core principle that goes into the design of PCBs, due to the nature of the way the chips are made.
In the design, the chip?s many components, ranging from ICs and to resistors and other complex assembles, is essentially mounted on the surface of the board, from which the principle gets its name.
The way that the manufacturing process works, goes along the lines of a standard board being prepared as per industry standards, after which the desired components are ?placed? on the board in predesignated points, after which they are bonded, usually through soldering or other means.
2.) Purpose of Surface Mount Technology
For a very long time, the PCB industry has used the ?through-hole? construction principles, where the components are bonded to the board, by placing their leads or other parts through a drilled hole in the board.
This however, has proven to be a rather cumbersome and lengthy process, which is why it has increasingly made it necessary for other techniques, one of which is surface-mount technology.
The surface-mount technology has proven itself to be especially useful, in the context of automation, where the process allows for large scale production of PCBs, in comparison to the system which made use of ?through-hole? construction designs.
3.) General Understanding of the Principle
While much can be said about the way the principles work, it can be understood as an alternative to the use of wires.
Rather than having the components use wires or leads to carry signals or electricity, they are simply ?placed? on the surface, through the use of solder or other such materials.
4.) History of Surface Mount Technology
The use of Surface Mount Technology is nothing new, although its increased application is a rather recent trend. The early designs of the technology were by the company IBM, with the technology itself being referred to as ?Planar Mount? rather than ?Surface Mount?.
It traces its origins back to the 1960s, to the same time when other developments in the world of technology was also taking place. At the same time however, the technology was largely ?shelved?, in favor of through-hole principles.
It began to make resurgence in the 1980s, and really taking off about a decade ago, with the large scale adoption of technology in every aspect of our lives. It should be noted here that in addition to its widespread adoption in recent times, it has evolved considerably with the passage of time as well.
5.) Advantages of Surface Mount Technology
There are several advantages that exist when it comes to the use of Surface Mount Technology in the design of PCBs.
Some of the key advantages are listed out in the points below:
1. The process is generally faster in comparison to the use of through-hole design principles, meaning that the production is generally faster. This adds up to both time as well as cost savings for the manufacture and the client. In turn, the same is passed on to the customer, who can benefit from cheaper products.
2. Although the principle is called ?Surface Mount Technology? and is touted as an alternative to drilling holes in the board, it is not always the case that no holes are drilled, although it is often the case. In many cases, fewer holes are drilled than what would otherwise have been the case.
3. When it comes to the components used for the same, they tend to be cheaper for those which use Surface Mount Technology, when compared to that of through-hole ones.
4. Another important advantage of Surface Mount Technology is that it allows for the placement of components on both sides of the circuit board, as opposed to just one. This in turn, allows for the manufacture of more highly integrated chips, which are faster and more powerful, but at the same time use an equivalent or lesser amount of space than before.
5. The size of the Surface Mount Technology components are generally smaller, which allows for a higher density of the components on the board.
6. The technology allows for higher structural integrity, especially in harsh conditions such as that of shake and vibration related environmental stresses.
6.) Disadvantages of Surface Mount Technology
As much as Surface Mount Technology has its advantages, there are a few drawbacks that need to be taken into account as well.
Some of the key drawback of the technology includes, among others, the following:
1. The technology is not suitable for all components. On the contrary, there are certain components, such as those which are large or require a large amount of power, which require a through-hole construction in order to work properly in the PCB.
2. The low size of many components used in Surface Mount Technology can make repairing the PCBs very difficult.
3. Components that require frequent connections and disconnections are unsuitable for using Surface Mount Technologies.
To sum up, there is much more than what is mentioned about, which can be said about the use of Surface Mount Technology.
The above is but a general introduction and understanding of the same and nothing more, about this new fabrication principle that is steadily being adopted across the PCB industry.