Assembly of PCB prototypes and low volumes
From solder paste application to component placement, LPKF provides low-costs and proven processes for an electrically functional product in just a few simple steps.
SMT Production Process
- Solder paste is printed onto the board.
- Surface mount devices (SMDs) are assembled with SMT pick and place machines.
- The entire board undergoes reflow soldering, melting the solder and joining the components to the board.
All processes and methods that are used in SMT production are also available for in-house prototyping, according to the requirements of the lab.
SMT for PCB Prototyping
1. Solder Paste Application
The LPKF ProtoPrint S4 stencil printer is a manual stencil printer for SMT prototyping and low-volume production. It helps apply solder paste with maximum precision onto the pads where components are placed.
The mechanical resolution with a grid size of 0.4 mm (16 mil) allows stencil printing in the ultrafine pitch range. The stencil thickness (between 100 µm and 250 µm) determines the thickness, or amount of solder paste applied on the board.
For PCB prototyping, milling of polyimide stencils with LPKF circuit board plotters is a genuine alternative to laser-cut steel stencils, especially from a cost perspective. Solder paste stencils (SMT stencils) can usually be milled in-house in less than ten minutes.
2. Component Placement
Components on circuit boards are getting smaller and smaller, making manual assemblies of circuit board much more difficult. The LPKF ProtoPlace E4 and ProtoPlace S4 pick and place systems allows for precise assembly of PCB with fine-pitch components, making complex SMD assemblies a piece of cake!
LPKF ProtoPlace E4
LPKF ProtoPlace S4
3. Reflow Soldering
The LPKF ProtoFlow E and ProtoFlow S4 are the ideal reflow ovens for RoHS-compliant, lead-free reflow soldering.
It is also applicable for through-hole paste curing and other thermal processes that requires precise temperature control.
LPKF ProtoFlow S4
4. Assembly Pressure and Solder Mask Application
A solder mask coating is often applied to protect the surfaces and conductive traces of a circuit board. It prevents short circuits between closely spaced pads by preventing solder from accumulating.
The LPKF ProMask is a green solder mask that is easy to apply and provides a professional surface finish. The LPKF ProLegend can apply any marking to the board without using environmentally harmful wet chemical processes.