PCBA Best Practices

As electronics technologies continue to advance and the demand for more functionality increases, smaller and more complex PCBs and components are being designed. For this reason, PCB assembly has become an even more crucial step in electronics manufacturing. Even a small assembly error could lead to poor performance or failure of an electronic device in the field.

Below are some PCBA best practices to ensure this step is executed smoothly. Given the criticality of PCBA, it is important that OEMs partner with a knowledgeable company, like RiverSide Integrated Solutions (RIS). RIS has the requisite experience and proven processes to guide OEMs through the PCBA process and select the right assembly technologies to ensure success in the field.

  • Clear Communication Upfront: the best way to avoid PCBA issues is to collaborate with your partner upfront – before the detailed design begins. OEMs must clearly communicate the functionality requirements and application of the PCB. Clear communication allows OEMs to tap into the experience and expertise of their partner, often resulting in a better design, and production and assembly plan.
  • Design for Manufacturability and Assembly (DFMA): to ensure operations run efficiently, companies need to confirm the product is as easy to manufacture and assemble as possible. A thorough DFMA assessment identifies production and assembly issues early on, resulting in more cost-effective production, better quality, and quicker speed to market. Click here for additional tips on how to implement DFMA in your PCB designs. Designing PCBs with assembly in mind is crucial yet is often overlooked – leading to significant challenges. Below are 3 broad concepts that should be applied during the DFMA process:
    • Minimize Complexity: the team should evaluate each feature and functional requirement of the PCB for complexity – minimizing complexity where possible without sacrificing requisite functionality.
    • Standardize: when possible, the PCB should be designed with common components and sizes that are compatible with standard assembly processes. This simplifies the procurement of parts as well as PCB assembly – saving OEMs time and money. Additionally, specialized components often have longer lead times so the team must ensure the desired parts can be procured without sacrificing the project schedule.
    • Quality: not all PCB components and parts are created with the same level of quality. Similarly, not all manufacturing partners assemble PCBs with the same degree of quality. For these reasons, it is crucial to partner with a proven PCB assembler, like RIS, that has established quality control programs and a network of reliable suppliers


Looking for a PCB assembly partner with proven experience and advanced facilities?

Contact the professionals at RIS to learn more about our PCBA and other product assembly expertise.

In addition to the general DFMA concepts above, the following should also be considered. It should be noted that most of these PCBA best practices apply to the design phase, where it is significantly more cost-effective to revise the PCB design.

  • Component Sizes: space is costly on boards, thus, component sizes should be evaluated and reduced when possible. Additionally, evaluate fragile or heavy components to determine if each is necessary as they add complexity and, in some cases, require special assembly methods – driving up PCB costs.
  • Board Spacing: adequate spacing between components is crucial as insufficient spacing results in a myriad of assembly and operations challenges. Spacing should be evaluated during design to avoid costly rework once the project enters production and assembly. Additionally, larger components should be well distributed to ensure an even layout on the board, helping ensure balance and a proper thermal profile.
  • Orientation and Placement: the location of components on the board is important in achieving an efficient assembly process. Additionally, placement is also important for successful soldering. For example, the location of components should be considered to ensure larger parts do not “overshadow” smaller components, limiting the effectiveness of the solder joints. Also, components should be perpendicular to the soldering wave if possible to ensure balanced and equal soldering on both sides.
  • Thermal Profile: special focus must be given to components that discharge heat. Designers must clearly understand the PCB heat profile and place parts accordingly to optimize cooling across the board.
  • Testing and Inspections: once PCB assembly is underway, proper inspections and quality control are key to success. Proven assemblers perform robust tests and inspections at various stages of assembly to ensure PCBs are fully functional and reliable.

RIS PCBA Expertise

RIS PCBA Expertise At RIS, PCB assembly is one of our core competencies. We provide reliable, seamlessly-assembled printed circuit board systems built with extreme precision. Our skilled engineers, technicians, and assemblers work to expertly put together a complete PCBA. When you choose RIS for your PCBA projects, you can expect the hands-on customer care of a small manufacturing operation and the capabilities characteristic of a much larger company with our complete electronics manufacturing services for OEMs in any industry. Our electronics assembly expertise includes:

  • Surface Mount Technology (Fine-pitch, BGA (1 mm), µBGA (.4 mm), 01005, X-Ray, automated rework, and automated optical inspection (AOI))
  • Magazine to Magazine handling
  • Smart Shelving floor stock inventory control
  • X-ray reel counting
  • Lead-through auto-insertion (Axial, Radial, DIP, and Zierick Terminals)
  • Wave Solder and Selective Solder Machines (No-clean & aqueous flux processes) RoHS and Tin/Lead capabilities
  • Special Application Equipment (Robotic dispensing systems)
  • Conformal coating (Silicone, Acrylic, Urethane)
  • Potting (Epoxy, Urethane, and Silicone)
  • Low-pressure molding technology
  • Comprehensive product test
  • 3D Printing

Contact us today at (507) 523-3220 to see how we can help strengthen your supply chain, or click here for a quote.

PCBA Best Practices
Article Name
PCBA Best Practices
PCBA best practices include design standardization, simplification, and attention to component spacing, sizing, orientation and location.
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RiverSide Integrated Solutions
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