What is the differences between PCB assembly and PCB?

No matter who you are or where you are, PCB(printed circuit board), or PCBA(PCB assembly)have infiltrated every aspect of our lives. From household appliances to smart AI, from glowing light bulbs to new energy vehicles, and to be more comprehensive, from smartphones to industrial automation equipment, from medical devices to communication network infrastructure, from personal computers to aerospace technology, from digital entertainment products to military defense systems, in this digital age, electronic products have become an integral part of our daily lives. In almost all of these electronic products, there are printed circuit boards (PCBs) and printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) involved. Although they are often mentioned, many people may not be clear about the differences between them. Therefore, let’s explore the differences between PCB assembly and PCB from three aspects to better understand their roles and significance in electronic product manufacturing.

1. Definition and Composition:
PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is a substrate used for mechanical support and electrical connections, with printed conductive circuits on its surface. It is typically made of materials such as fiberglass, metal, etc., and is generally classified based on characteristics like layers, structure, functionality, etc. A PCB board is a bare board with no components assembled on it.
PCBA, also known as PCB assembly, refers to the process of installing and assembling components onto a bare printed circuit board (PCB) and connecting these components to the board to form a complete circuit system.

 

These two are PCBS.

This is a PCBThis is a PCB too

 

These two are PCBAs.

This is a PCB AssemblyThis is a PCB Assembly too

 

2. Function and Purpose:
The main functions of PCB are as follows: 1) Providing mechanical support for the installation and fixation of various electronic components. 2) Facilitating electrical connections or insulation between different electronic components, which is the basic function of PCB. 3) Providing the required electrical characteristics, characteristic impedance, and electromagnetic compatibility for circuits in high-speed and high-frequency applications.
On the other hand, PCBA carries more functions. By assembling various components onto the PCB, it connects the circuits and provides a coordinated platform for electronic components to work together, enabling devices to perform their intended tasks and achieve specific electronic functions. Ultimately, it forms various types of electronic products such as smartphones, computers, automotive electronic systems, etc. The process of assembling PCBs with their components is referred to as PCB assembly.

3. Manufacturing Process:

Manufacturing process of PCB: The production process of PCBs varies depending on the number of layers, but generally includes steps such as design, printing, chemical etching, plating, drilling, and copper coating. Ultimately, this process results in a bare board, with multiple inspections and cleaning throughout.

PCBA Manufacturing Process: The manufacturing process of PCB assembly requires the presence of PCB bare boards and components. The PCBA manufacturing process involves the installation of various electronic components on the PCB, followed by soldering and assembly, typically completed through surface mount technology (SMT) or through-hole assembly.
The processes of PCBA can be divided into several major steps: SMT processing → DIP plug-in processing → PCBA testing. 1)The steps involved in SMT processing include solder paste mixing → solder paste printing → SPI (Solder Paste Inspection) → component placement → reflow soldering → AOI (Automated Optical Inspection) → rework. 2)The steps involved in DIP plug-in processing include component insertion → wave soldering → trimming → post-solder processing → board cleaning → quality inspection.3) PCBA testing can include ICT (In-Circuit Testing), FCT (Functional Circuit Testing), aging testing, vibration testing, etc.

What is the difference between PCB assembly and PCB? Have you got it?

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