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What is the difference between PCB and PCBA?


What is the difference between PCB and PCBA?

Printed circuit board (PCB) and printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) are both important terms in the electronics industry. Some people use them interchangeably, but they are actually two distinct things.

The main difference between these two terms is that PCB refers to a blank circuit board, while PCBA refers to a board that contains all of the necessary electronic components for the board to function as needed. A PCB is not yet functional because it does not have the required components in place, while a PCBA is a complete and functional board. PCBs and PCBAs are two different parts of the same process — a PCBA is built on top of an existing PCB(PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD)

Then what is PCB means (pcb meaning), pcb in some coutry also know as pwb, first, pcb means printed circuit board, pwb means printed wire board, basically pcb vs pwb the same meaning, but in different expression. Below are some common keywords you might found for pcb,bare pcb, bcp board(here i don’t understand why bcp? Probably mistake),blank circuit board, blank pcb, blank pcb board, board printed circuit, circut borad etc.

PCBA definition, pcb assembly, or printed circuit board assembly, or call Electronics assembly, it is a process that generally involves collecting, soldering, or integrating electronic components and circuits to perform one or more specific functions. It is a vital process in manufacturing everyday electronic equipment such as computers, toys, engines, remotes, and phones. This ensures the service ability of a printed circuit board (PCB) which is at the center of all eviscerated electronic gadgets and devices. You will find some common pcba keywords as below, pcba assembly, pcba board,pcba boards,pcba definition,pcba factory, printed board assembly, printed circuit board,printed circuit board manufacturing, printed circuit boards pcbs,printed circuits assembly, circuit board assembly etc.

What Is a PCB?

A printed circuit board (PCB) is a stratified sandwich structure of conductive and insulating layers. PCBs have two harmonizing functions:

  1. To fasten electronic parts in selected locations on the outer layers by means of soldering.
  2. To make available reliable electrical connections (and also reliable open circuits) between the component’s terminals in a controlled manner often referred to as PCB design.

Each of the conductive layers is constructed with an artwork pattern of conductors (identical to wires on a flat surface) that make available electrical connections on that conductive layer.

Type of PCB

The main types of PCBs include:

A rigid PCB is a Solid, inflexible Printed Circuit Board. We all know that a PCB can be Single Sided PCB, Double Sided PCB, or Multi-layer PCB. At the same time, a Printed Circuit Board can be Rigid, Flexible, or Rigid-Flex (A combination of Rigid and Flexible PCB).

A Rigid Circuit Board is a Board that we cannot bend or force out of shape. It is not flexible. A Rigid PWB can be Single Sided, Double Sided or Multi Layers. Once a Rigid Circuit Board is manufactured it cannot be modified or folded into any other shape

Flex PCBs also known as flex prints or flex circuits, is a special type of circuit board that you can bend into the desired shape. They are widely used for high-density and high temperature applications. The flex designs are composed of polyimide or a transparent polyester film, as a substrate material that comes with high heat resistance which makes it the right fit for solder mounting components.

A flexible circuit comes with a conductive layer of traces made up of copper that is combined with a polyimide dielectric layer. The thickness of the copper conductive layer can vary from 0.0001’’ to 0.010’’ and the thickness of the dielectric material can range from 0.0005’’ to 0.010’’. An adhesive is required to bond the conductive copper layer to the substrate; while sometimes vapor deposition is equally handy to attach the copper to the substrate.

The material selection for making flexible circuit boards is a bit tricky and depends on many factors including chemical and mechanical resistance, current, temperature, capacitance, and types of flexing.

The flexible designs are more reliable as they come with fewer interconnections that ensure fewer solder joints and contact crimps. And these circuits require less space due to their flexible bend capability and they cover only 10% of the area compared to rigid circuit boards.

Rigid-Flex is boarded using a combination of flexible and rigid board technologies in an application. Most rigid flex boards consist of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates attached to one or more rigid boards externally and/or internally, depending upon the design of the application. The flexible substrates are designed to be in a constant state of flex and are usually formed into the flexed curve during manufacturing or installation.

Rigid-flex designs are more challenging than the design of a typical rigid board environment, as these boards are designed in a 3D space, which also offers greater spatial efficiency. By being able to design in three dimensions designers can twist, fold and roll the flexible board substrates to achieve their desired shape for the final application’s package.

What is PCBA?  

PCBA is Also known as electronic assemblies, since electronic devices and gadgets are a very important part of modern life as they have a wide variety of applications. However, they would not be possible without electronic assembly. Let us look at air conditioners, refrigerators, smart automobiles and homes, and many other machines and products that make our lives easier, they all exhibit electronics assembly during the manufacturing process.

Electronics assembly is a process that generally involves collecting, soldering, or integrating electronic components and circuits to perform one or more specific functions. It is a vital process in manufacturing everyday electronic equipment such as computers, toys, engines, remotes, and phones. This ensures the service ability of a printed circuit board (PCB) which is at the center of all eviscerated electronic gadgets and devices. You can mostly recognize a PCB as a specific green chip littered with copper parts and lines.

Types of PCBA

Surface-Mount Technology

Surface-mount technology (SMT) is an assembly process that involves mounting electronic components to the surface of a PCB. It is highly automated and flexible, and it allows for higher connection densities. It enables manufacturers to place complex circuitries into small components.

The four basic steps of PCBA SMT are:

1. Preparing the PCB: First, the assembler places solder paste where it is needed on board.

2. Placing the components: Next, the assembler places the components on the board, typically using a pick-and-place machine.

3. Reflow soldering: The assembler then heats the boards in a reflow oven until the solder paste reaches the temperature required for the solder joints to form.

4. Inspection: The assembler conducts inspections throughout the SMT process, including before attaching the components and before and after reflow soldering.

 Thru-Hole Technology

Thru-hole technology is an assembly process that involves drilling holes into a PCB through which electronic components called leads can be attached. It is an older technology than SMT but creates a stronger connection between the board and the components, which makes for more durable and reliable assemblies.

Thru-hole assembly can be either fully automated or semi automated. The steps of the PCBA thru-hole process include:

1. Drilling the holes: The first step in the thru-hole process involves drilling holes into the board. These holes must be the right size for the component leads.

2. Placing the leads: Next, the assembler places the leads in the holes.

3. Soldering: The next step in the process is soldering. This step ensures the components are held firmly in place.

4. Inspection: Throughout the process, the assembly undergoes inspections to ensure the PCBA will function as expected.


The earth is getting bigger and we can’t reach everything we need. Our electronic and electric needs are rising, and the solutions are scattered around the world. It will be stressful and difficult to surf from region to region and office to office in search of a solution.

However, solutions have been made available with just one click of a button. Solutions incorporated with absolute Flexibility, Reliability, and Quality for effective service (Electronic Assembles, Printed Circuits, NPI/Prototyping, and Supply Chain Management) delivery.

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