Circuit Card Assembly

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Circuit Card Assembly

Today’s manufacturing world is amazingly complex with its language and concepts that you might not be familiar with. One of those is the concept of the circuit card assembly, which is a pre-assembled design for use in electronics manufacturing. This blog post will discuss what this process consists of and why it is an essential part of the modern world.

Placing components into a PCB is an essential step in the electronic device manufacturing process. This step is often overlooked but can have a large impact on the overall quality of the device. Many manufacturing companies use a very hands-on approach when creating their products. It includes testing individual components and verifying their functionality. The machine comes in, replacing the technician or engineer who used to perform this task.

The manual method is costly and time-consuming, but it allows for a higher level of accuracy and allows for fewer errors. The semi-automated process is the best way to go. Because it allows placing all components correctly and holds the most error within itself. It is also affordable. Manufacturers commonly use the automated process. It allows for the least number of mistakes and most efficiency.

 

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The invention of circuit card assembly

circuit card assy

The concept of the circuit card assy has been around for many years. It is a process where we use a series of circuit boards with electronic components to create a complex machine or device. This concept began in the early 20th century people started using it in the 196s. These boards’ designs use much fewer materials than electronics manufacturing needs. It costs more money to deliver them.

Circuit card assemblies are essential. Because they make electronics manufacturing faster, cheaper, and more efficient. You can do it using the new technology provided by today’s companies. As of 2015, we create hundreds of new circuit card assemblies each year. Many are for use in various machines and devices regularly found in homes worldwide. The main reason is that creating a circuit card assembly is easier than creating an electronic device entirely made from scratch. Through this process, we can create many products that we do not think about daily better and more efficiently than they could otherwise be.

Current companies such as RayMing PCB and Assembly are becoming leaders in the use of circuit card assemblies. They create new devices and machines, using their technology. This new technology depends on rapid electronics manufacturing. It creates a circuit card assembly quickly and efficiently. Many companies such as these that create circuit card assemblies will use large-scale machines to do many things.

What is a circuit card assembly?

Circuit card assembly, assembles printed circuit boards (PCBs) by inserting electronic components. PCBs are boards made from several materials. They include sheets of copper, graphite, multilayer ceramic, FR4 laminate, or polyimide.

The manufacturing technique involves placing electronic components onto the printed circuit board. Then soldering them to create a permanent electrical connection.

The components that make up a circuit board layout may be digital, analog, or hybrid. We then connect each component to another by attachment points on the circuit board that one plans to solder.

The difference between CCA and PCB

The difference between a circuit card assembly and a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is as follows:

  • Engineers design PCBs, whereas technicians design circuit card assemblies.
  • PCBs, connect electronic components, while circuit card assemblies connect electronic parts.
  • Manufacturers make PCBs in one step, whereas they make circuit card assemblies in multiple steps. A PCB consists of individual components that, once soldered together, form a single circuit. A CCA consists of multiple PCBs that one places into one production line for simultaneous production.
  • We consider PCBs one of the most crucial parts of an electronic device. Circuit card assemblies aren’t as vital as a PCB but can still be an essential part of an electronics device.

Circuit boards that contain complex circuits take a lot longer to create than those that have basic circuits due to the complexity of their circuit board layouts. The more complicated a circuit board layout is, the greater the chance for error during assembly. It could cause problems with the electronics after its completion.

CCA methods

There are multiple methods of creating a circuit card assembly. These methods include manual, semi-automated, and fully automated options. Each of these methods has its strengths and weaknesses. The common methods of creating these assemblies include using stencils for automated assembly. Stencils work hard to manufacture BGA assemblies. It is the most used method of creating them; it also allows for an extremely high level of accuracy and efficiency.

Manual method

This method is the most common method of creating circuit card assemblies. It involves manually placing components onto circuit boards. Components are manually placed into electronic devices and then soldered to create a permanent connection. The manual method is affordable for small production runs. Still, it can become costly if we need high-volume batches because it can take a long time to place all the components required for the device.

Semi-automated method

This method is also widespread and is the best manual and automated method because it’s a compromise between the two. It allows for the removal of human error from the equation but still allows for an affordable price point for larger production runs. This method uses machines to place components to make sure they fit in their required locations. The machine will also check each component and ensure that they will be suitable in their eventual locations in the circuit board before placing them onto the board. It can make for a much more streamlined production process.

Automated method

This method is excellent for larger production runs. It’s also much faster than the manual method because it removes human error from the equation. This method involves using highly specialized machines to place all the components into their required locations at extremely high speeds. These machines are expensive, but they offer an extremely high degree of accuracy and efficiency unmatched by other methods.

 

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Step of circuit card assembly

The printed circuit board (PCB) is the heart of any electronic device, and without it, there would be no electronics. Circuit card assembly is placing components onto a PCB and then soldering these components onto the board. The process consists of the following six steps:

  1. Selecting the correct circuit board: This step begins with an engineer designing a circuit board or creating a circuit schematic. From this point on, a technician will view the PCB design and determine which circuit boards are best for the assembly.
  2. PCB Design: This step involves creating a PCB schematic based on which components they will place if needed for the device. This schematic will include all information. They include values for voltage, current, and resistance needed to place the components within their required locations.
  3. Preparing the PCB: This step involves preparing the PCB and its components. The technician will often use a laser cutter to remove the excess material on the circuit board to leave more room for placing components.
  4. Placing components on PCB: This is perhaps one of the most crucial steps since it involves placing all the required components onto the circuit boards.
  5. Soldering components: This step involves soldering each of the components onto the board. It is the best way to ensure that each component has the correct connection and will not come loose or malfunction in any way.
  6. Testing: This step involves testing all circuits and ensuring every circuit works properly without any errors due to a bad connection. Testing can involve sending an electrical current through a circuit and then analyzing each part to make sure all circuits function properly without any issues.

Mold Design and Production: Circuit Card Assemblies (CCA)

Circuit card assembly manufacturers

A circuit card assembly (CCA) is an electronic assembly that has one or more integrated printed circuit boards. Its special design can perform a specific task for a device, circuit, or system. A CCA can also serve as a sub-assembly of the main integrated circuit, but it is also possible for the two to be separate.

Design:

To design a CCA, you must first create a specification or design that will work on the circuit. This specification would include information like:

  1. The necessary inputs and outputs
  2. The internal software needed for the device to function properly (if applicable)
  3. The power supply and voltage requirements (if applicable)
  4. The interface connections (if applicable)
  5. You must include any additional features in the device, such as a touch screen, LCD screen, etc.

Once you have created your specification, you can begin designing the CCA. To do this, you will need to make use of a CAD program. It is important to note that while some programs can design a CCA from start to finish, most only focus on the circuit board portion of the assembly. To complete your design, you must rely on a separate program that deals with electronic components and subsystems.

Creation:

After your design is complete, you will need to create the CCA. To do this, you would need to perform a lot of printouts of the design to get it into a format that a CCA service can use. The types of printouts that you would need for this include:

  1. A complete copy of your circuit board
  2. A drawing of the CCA along with information describing the placing of the parts on each side (specifications)
  3. Any other drawings required for the assembly

If you have a specific service that you would like to use, we recommend that you check with them to find out if they have any requirements before starting the design process.

Packaging:

After designing and assembling your CCA, you will need to package it. It includes a few different types of packaging, including:

  1. Single-Chip packaging: This type involves placing all your parts into a small package that you can easily incorporate into the final product.
  2. Module Packaging: You need this for larger electronic assemblies that you cannot easily package. Not only does this include the parts for the assembly, but it also includes the necessary housing for those parts as well.
  3. Sub-Assemblies: You create these are assemblies on their own and then use them in another final product. Since you will usually need to create more than one of these sub-assemblies, you will need to use a box or housing to accommodate multiple pieces at once.

PCB Manufacturing: Circuit Card Assembly (CCA)

PCB manufacturing is the process of producing assembled PCBs. It will be essential to have the proper equipment and tooling for your PCB assembly to go smoothly. Here are some of the crucial aspects of PCB manufacturing that you should keep in mind when dealing with CCA services:

CAD System:

It means that you will need to have a software program compatible with creating accurate circuit designs on your PCBs. It will also be essential to make sure that the software can generate the necessary information on your PCBs, which includes:

  • Ports on your assembly (no. of rows, columns, and positions on the board.)
  • Outputs (number and type of connectors.)
  • Supply voltages (direction and voltage strength) for all ports and outputs
  • Board size and thickness
  • The number of layers etc.

Circuit Design:

It will be essential to select a design that can fit within a certain amount of space. If the design is too large, then your circuit may not fit into the desired space, or it may perform improperly because of other parts placed near it.

Gerber Generation:

We use this process for creating files that PCB manufacturers can read. These files will include information about the layout of your board and include any necessary notes, files, or diagrams that you don’t need.

Sub-Assembly:

These are the components you will add to your final product and must manufacture it by a different company than your circuit board. They can come from multiple companies, which can help save on production time and a result that is lower in cost.

Forming:

This process involves taking the final product and attaching it to the proper housing if necessary. It usually will require additional information like drawings, dimensions, or specifications.

Testing:

It is one of the essential parts of manufacturing your CCA. It can ensure that your result will be safe for use by consumers and that no problems will appear later down the line. There are three main types of tests that you can make use of for this purpose:

The best mounting for CCA

Fixing and placing electronics components correctly is the essential aspect of managing a circuit card assembly. These devices can be costly. If they poorly assemble them, they could be detrimental to their functioning. Components like transistors, diodes, and resistors all have different levels of heat sensitivity. One must consider them when placing them on circuit boards. The best mounting for these components is usually precise, depending on the type of electronic device they will place.

For example, a device that generates high amounts of heat may require a different mounting method than a device that does not produce as much heat. In these cases, the circuit card assembly process will often involve the use of thermal adhesive. Thermal adhesives allow for improved thermal conductivity between the PCB and components because these types of adhesives are products out of materials designed to be highly thermally conductive.

There are many types of surface mount technology: SMT, BGA, and THT.

 

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Surface Mount Technology (SMT):

This process involves the grouping of electronic components on a tiny circuit board via laser drilling. It allows for the making of much smaller assemblies when compared to traditional methods. SMT also limits the amount of solder used in the assembly process. It is because we need less solder when placing all these tiny components on a tiny PCB. It invariably results in a much lower thermal resistance because the component is so close to the PCB.

We can break down the typical SMT process into two parts that are simple to carry out. The first part involves placing all the used parts into their required locations using solder paste. The second part includes placing the PCB into a machine that we fit with a laser drill bit. This bit will then drill out all the components’ locations, ready for soldering onto the board.

The nature of SMT makes it a very effective method of creating a circuit card assembly. Because these components are very small, and the process is much quicker than traditional methods.

Ball Grid Array (BGA):

This process involves using a specific surface mount technology. It allows placing components on a PCB even further than SMT. The specific BGA process involves placing the component by hand using bonding wire. Once all these parts are in their correct locations, they then attach them with solder. It is the most closely related to traditional methods of circuit card assembly. Because it allows spending more time on placing each component properly. It also utilizes an easy method to attach each component through a bonding wire.

Ball Grid Array is also commonly referred to as Chip Scale Packaging (CSP).

Thru-Hole Technology (THT):

This technology involves placing each component on the circuit board to be visible instead placing it below the board’s surface. They usually do THT with larger circuits to give them an aesthetic appeal that one can add instead of just relying on functionality.

T and R:

This technology involves using a fixture to hold the PCB in place while soldering components into specific places. This method relies on gravity to allow placing each component into its correct location. While this is not as precise as SMT, it allows for much greater material flexibility and much lower cost than SMT. It also requires less time when compared to other methods due to its nature.

Things to Consider Before Choosing a CCA Service Provider

We must consider the following factors when examining the capabilities of a circuit card assembly service:

  1. Quality: You need to consider the quality of the work done. This type of service needs to leave you with a product that is 100% reliable. If your device requires an overhaul in its architecture, you should consider working with a qualified company. One that offers services like circuit card assembly instead of doing it yourself.
  2. Speed: The speed of service is an essential factor to consider. For example, one can do SMT in less than 10 seconds because the process allows placing many components on a PCB in a short amount of time.
  3. Cost: while the price is usually not the top decision-maker when dealing with a CCA service, it can be an essential factor for managing your finances properly.
  4. Quality of Customer Service: it is essential to obtain the highest quality customer service when working with any service, especially with electronics.

Applications of CCA

There are many different types of circuit card assembly used depending on the type of device used. Some typical applications include:

  1. Consumer Electronics. Products like televisions, radios, sound systems, and stereo systems. You can assemble them with circuit card assemblies because they require a very low amount of power and are usually simple to work on.
  2. Industrial Electronics. some industrial equipment is complex and challenging to work on. They include things like home appliances, sporting goods, and emergency response equipment. If you can assemble the PCB for this type of device, it will allow for a reduced number of errors and a reduced amount of downtime.
  3. Medical Electronics. Medical devices are also very complex and sometimes hard to work on.
  4. Embedded Systems. It involves the assembly of microcontrollers and hard drives onto circuit cards.

Advantages of CCA

The benefits of circuit card assembly include:

  1. We often use the term “flexible” in professions that deal with electronics. It allows for a lot more creativity when creating a device.
  2. Science is making large advances in the electronic world. This type of work is allowing people to focus more on functionality than feature lot.
  3. The use of CCA has allowed for electronics to become a lot less expensive. It allows for the use of a more simplistic design and assembly technique.
  4. Time/Space. Using this type of technology can sometimes create an electronic device in a shorter amount of time. It uses a smaller amount of space than traditional methods would allow.

Disadvantages of CCA

The disadvantages include:

  1. Cost: while there are many benefits of this type of work, creating a PCB with all necessary components can also be very expensive. For the design itself, manufacturers usually pass the cost over to the customer. However, materials can also become costly.
  2. Quality: While this is not something that individual businesses can easily manipulate, there is always a chance that you will receive a poor-quality product.

Conclusion

CCA manufacturing involves carefully manipulating boards with sensitive electronic circuitry, several times. The necessity for accurate manufacturing results is clear. The CCA industry is developing product reliability test procedures that guarantee quality in assembly.

With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers comes an increased need for wireless communication between them and other components in a system.

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