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What Are the Advantages of Surface Mount Assembly?

12th February 2014

What Is Surface Mount Technology (SMT)?

SMT is a form of printed circuit board assembly that, in recent years, has come to dominate the production of new PCBs.

Whereas with PTH boards each component has to be inserted into the board and then soldered into place on its reverse side, SMT involves soldering the components directly on to the PCB surface. Surface Mount Assembly developed out of the need to make PCBs both smaller and lighter. SMT is commonly used in flatpack packages and chip carrier packages and in PCB prototyping.

What Are the Advantages of Surface Mount Assembly?

As PCBs were becoming more and more complicated, traditional PTH assemblies were becoming far too heavy and cumbersome. Surface Mount Assembly has helped to combat this problem.

Not only are SMT components smaller than their PTH components (which in itself saves space and reduces weight), but with Surface Mount Assembly components can be mounted on both sides of the board. This saves an enormous amount of space and reduces weight considerably. SMT makes applications possible that simply cannot be achieved with PTH boards.

Because they require less fiddly soldering, SMT boards are more suited to mass production, which can save customers a significant amount of money.

As SMT boards tend to be much smaller than their PTH alternatives, circuit speed is increased significantly, which makes them a much more attractive proposition for many applications.

Although in many ways inferior to SMT boards, PTH PCBs still have a role to play, especially with older applications where converting to Surface Mount Technology is impractical and uneconomical. SMT is fully compatible with PTH boards and hybrids of the two technologies are fairly commonplace these days.

Because the initial outlay is high for the equipment needed to produce SMT boards, Surface Mount Assembly is more suited to out-sourcing than PTH.

SMT also requires a higher level of design, production and technological skill than PTH solutions so, again, out-sourcing to the experts is usually the path to go down. Working with experts in SMT is often a productive activity in its own right as new solutions and opportunities often present themselves during the initial design meetings.

If you have a requirement for SMT assembly or would like to consider it as a solution to your PCB requirement, then please do not hesitate in contacting us for information or advice.