Quality Assurance in PCB Assembly

Due to the importance of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBs) in electronics manufacturing, they have to meet very specific criteria.  In order to ensure they fulfil their intended function, PCB assemblers undertake rigorous testing using a variety of methods to make sure every part of it works correctly and is manufactured without impurities or flaws.  These include thorough visual inspections through to final functionality tests. During the last twelve months, … have invested in new technology to make this possible.

Visual Inspection

Highly trained staff and state of the art equipment are used to detect soldering defects and other manufacturing errors.  Manual visual inspections are carried out under different levels of magnification to spot flaws and contaminants.  PCB assemblies are also examined using an Automatic Optical Inspection machine which uses specialist software and lighting techniques to identify most solder defects, no matter how small.  Testers at … use a brand new AOI machine to thoroughly inspect ball grid arrays (BGAs) as it can provide high quality imaging at a variety of angles to spot any connection or fixing problems.  These visual inspections are vital to the manufacturing process as most faults in PCBs are down to solder and connection flaws.

In-Circuit Tests

The next level of testing makes sure all the circuits work in the way they should.  Probes and Manufacturing Defect Analysis (MDA) systems can detect short and open circuits as well as resistance and capacitance.  These tests are essential to check that the components are connected properly before going on to the function tests.

Functional Tests

The exact nature of the functional tests on a PCB will depend on what it is required to do.  Software is used through an edge connector or test-probe point to find any defects in the PCB, verify its functionality and see how it behaves under different conditions.  These tests are designed to simulate the real life function of the PCB by subjecting it to a series of signals and power supplies and monitoring the responses.  Most tests are looking for wrong component values, functional failures and parametric failures.  … use automatic functional tests but most of their PCBs require specially created semi-automatic test jigs to test the specific function of the unit.

Environmental Tests

For some applications, environmental tests are necessary to ensure the PCB can operate successfully in the operation it is required for.  … use a Montford environmental chamber which can subject PCBs to temperatures ranging from -40°C to 125°C.

At …, we take inspection and testing very seriously using state of the art equipment to make sure our PCB assemblies meet our clients’ exacting requirements.  This year we also purchased a new MRO(maintenance, repair and operations)/ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to ensure we manage our time and resources effectively to deliver the best quality products on time.

posted on 05/07/2017

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