What is PCBA: A Printed Circuit Board Assembly

What is a PCBA? 

A printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) is a printed circuit board (PCB) that you fit with all the components that you will utilize after installation. These products are used in nearly every field in the country, from medical imaging devices to GPS-controlled harvesters to nuclear facility control panels. A PCB allows different parts like capacitors, resistors, transistors and inductors to link together using conductive circuitry, and the assembly signifies a complete product that is ready to perform its job.

Methods of Assembling Components in a PCBA 

  • Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) 

A PCB with Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) allows for fast production with room for savings. Conductive lines make connections on the face of the PCB, so no special drilling needs to take place. The links are on the surface, which means a part only needs to be soldered into place. SMT not only speeds up the installation of important elements by removing the boring process, it also leaves more space available for mounting components. The pieces can be fitted closer together on the board face, and you can utilize both sides of the PCB.

  • Thru-Hole Device (THD)

Another method that can be used instead of or alongside SMT is crafting a Thru-Hole Device (THD), which dates further back than SMT, but still holds advantages over the newer process. The largest draw for using THD is the strength of the connection it provides and the durability of the product. Anything that may experience excessive amounts of environmental stressors might benefit from this line of production. You can find additional value in the flexibility of the components, which may be more easily modified or exchanged than those that you solder in the SMT process.

Differences Between a PCB and a PCBA 

A PCBA, however the process is done, will begin as a PCB. This board is printed with insulating materials to hold the components and the conductive lines that will connect them together, and any additional modifications to the board will take place. The transition to a PCBA then takes place with the addition of the working components, resulting in the ready-to-use final product. These last steps are where additional costs come in as you affix each component to the board, and the links formed. You can then place the individual boards in housing units or panels, ready for installation.

Custom PCBA Solutions with RPC Manufacturing

RPC Manufacturing Solutions specializes in the production of PCBAs, from gathering raw materials to performing the final assembly. Let us help you reduce your material investments and staffing and streamline your facilities by providing you with expertly-crafted PCBAs that will meet your exacting standards. Contact us to find out more about what we can do for your PCBA needs.