Through hole technology has been the primary approach in PCB manufacturing for a very long time. Even though it is now contested by other methods, such as surface mounting, it still sees a lot of use.
In this brief overview, we will try to examine the through hole PCB assembly for its advantages and disadvantages in an attempt to forecast its future.
What is Through Hole Technology
Also known as through hole mounting and through hole drilling, all of which refer to a method of attaching component leads to a bare PCB (printed circuit board). The alternative to it is surface mounting technology. Surface mounting emerged in the late 80’s of the previous century and was predicted to become the new standard, something that hasn’t quite happened since. Through hole drilling, while isn’t the widespread standard anymore, is still very much in use in certain parts of the electronics industry.
The main reason for it is reliability
Products that require stronger connections will always fare better and last longer with through hole technology rather than surface mount application where components are attached to the board by surface soldering. It may work for small electronics that don’t need to endure any mechanical strain. PCB’s in vehicles and other applications, however, where stress and vibrations are a factor will still prefer through hole drilling for its boards.
This is why through hole PCB assembly is prevalent in aerospace, military, automotive and other similar industries. When a system’s components need to endure vibrations, collisions and acceleration without losing their functionality, THD is still very much the way to go.
Another useful application of through hole technology is when a prototype PCB is tested and manual adjustments or alterations to the circuit may be required. Rerouting a surface mounted component is far more difficult than one on a board with through hole drilling.
Disadvantages of Through Hole Technology
The primary disadvantage of this type of board is the necessity of drilling holes. This adds cost and time to the board’s manufacturing process. It also restricts the routing possibility to the holes’ positioning and limits the use of multi layered boards.
The obvious conclusion is that through hole technology is no longer the standard, it is still far from being fully obsolete. There are niches where it is the standard still, and also cost and availability sometimes make it preferable to surface mounting even in common applications.