A Detailed Discussion on PCB Assembly Problems and Their Solutions

Over the years, the demand for complex, compact, and performance-driven electronic devices have grown. As the demand for fast, yet miniature devices is growing, the printed circuit boards (PCBs) fabrication process is has gotten complex. Almost all electronics devices in use today feature PCBs which contribute to the functioning and performance of these devices. Therefore, extra care should be taken while manufacturing these PCBs. If not, then it will affect the overall functionality of the product and may result in massive repair and maintenance costs. Would you like to know what common PCB quality issues to avoid? If yes, this post guides you through all the questions you may get while reading. So, stay tuned.

PCB Assembly Process: Problems and Their Solutions Analyzed

The following are some common problems OEMs should avoid while manufacturing circuit boards. So, let’s have a look at it.

  • Solder Defects: This is one of the common PCB assembly issues. It occurs when the solder crosses traces that lie adjacent to each other. In many cases, solder defects are hard to detect. These solder defects can cause damage to the circuit board assembly if not detected early. Many solder defects, such as blow-up or burning of board components and traces, can be avoided by adding a solder mask between the pads.
  • Plating Voids: Like other PCB parts and components, plated through holes play a key role in PCB operation. These holes facilitate the conduction of electricity between two sides of the board. These holes have electroplated walls, and the board is made conductive using copper deposition before this electroplating. One major problem with copper deposition is that is the walls may be unevenly coated with copper. This may affect the electricity flow through certain sections of the board. This PCB issue may arise due to various reasons such as air bubbles in the material, material and hole contamination, and so on. The plating voids can be averted by employing the best practices of electroplating.
  • Delamination: This is a defect where a separation is noticed in PCB base layers temporarily. The separation becomes more visible in the form of bubbles or gaps that seem like blisters. Delamination commonly occurs due to the presence of humidity or heat during the manufacturing process that may affect the material characteristics. Hence, it is important to use a material of correct grade during the assembly process.  
  • Dewetting: This is another common defect found in the PCB assembly process. Also known as non-wetting, this occurs when the solder moderately covers the circuit board while exposing the copper. It affects the quality of solder joints. To avoid this, PCB design and assembly experts recommend using high-quality components that have been stored in temperature-controlled storage environments. Dewetting can be a big issue with PCBs that have been stored in a regular environment for a long time. So, it is always recommended to avoid using such PCBs.
  • PCB Bows and Twists: The PCB bows and twists are common problems in most PCBs. The bow is usually characterized by a spherical or cylindrical curvature on the board when all the corners are in the same plane. However, twist refers to a deformation that makes one corner different from the other three corners in a plane. This may be caused due to different factors such as bad material selection, broken holes, abnormal manufacturing processes, and so on. So, these factors must be taken care of to avoid bows and twists in PCBs.

Designing and manufacturing PCBs requires exceptional technical skills and experience. Both these would help avoid the above mentioned PCB assembly mistakes. A standardized assembly process assure a reliable and performance-driven circuit board. If you are planning to build a printed circuit board for your application, you must consult industry experts. Rigiflex Technology offers the best possible PCB solutions considering specific application requirements. The company specializes in different types of circuit boards, such as single-layer, double-layer, flexible, multilayer, and rigid-flex PCBs.

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