Designing and manufacturing surface mount assemblies requires a unique technology. Known as Surface Mount Technology, or SMT, this method is what engineers use to produce electronic circuits found in components placed or mounted directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards. Once completed, the product is known as a Surface Mount Device, or SMD.
Today, the through-hole technology is often replaced with SMT. Instead of fitting components with wire leads that go through holes in the circuit board, most manufacturers use the more updated process. Keep in mind that for surface mount assemblies, experts still use both technologies, but the through-hole process is typically saved for components deemed non-suitable for surface mounting, including heat-sinked power semiconductors and large transformers.
Different Types of Surface Mount Assemblies
There are several different types of surface mount assemblies, depending on the exact surface mount technique used for manufacturing. Following are some of the terms and processes commonly associated with these assemblies.
- Surface Mount Devices (SMD)—Active, passive, and electromechanical components
- Surface Mount Technology (SMT)—Technology for assembling and mounting
- Surface Mount Assembly (SMA)—Module assembled with SMT
- Surface Mount Components (SMC)—Components for SMT
- Surface Mount Packages (SMP)—Case forms for SMD
- Surface Mount Equipment (SME)—Assembly machines for SMT
Advantages of Surface Mount Assemblies
Because surface mount assemblies are made with the innovative surface mount technology, there are numerous advantages.
- Size—Components on surface mount assemblies are much smaller.
- Density—In addition, component density is much higher, but there is also a larger number of connections for each component.
- Cost—The initial cost of surface mount assemblies is lower, and setup time for production less.
With SMT for creating surface mount assemblies, manufactures use an automated assembly that is faster but also simpler. This technology also reduces the risk of error specific to component placement, and there is lower inductance and resistance at the connection. As a result, unwanted RF signal effects are fewer, and high-frequency performance better and more accurately predicted.
Because surface mount assemblies are comprised of extremely small components, engineers use special machines and computer programs during the manufacturing process. This prevents mistakes and ensures precision.