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Surface Mount Technology (SMT)

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) is a method used in the assembly of electronic circuits where components are mounted directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs). This technology marked a significant evolution from the traditional through-hole technology (THT), where components had leads that were inserted into drilled holes on the PCB. SMT components, often referred to as surface mount devices (SMDs), have no leads or have very short leads that do not require holes to be drilled through the PCB.

The adoption of SMT has brought about numerous advantages in the electronics manufacturing industry. It allows for much higher component density, meaning more components can be placed on a board of the same size, contributing to the miniaturization of electronic devices. Additionally, because SMT components can be placed on both sides of the PCB, this technology facilitates more complex and compact circuit designs.

SMT also enhances production efficiency and automation. The components are placed on the PCB using automated equipment, which precisely places the SMDs at high speeds, significantly increasing the production rate and reducing the likelihood of human error. This automation extends to the soldering process, where reflow soldering—a method where solder paste is applied to the PCB, components are placed, and the entire assembly is heated so the solder melts and solidifies, forming the electrical connections—is commonly used.

The switch to SMT has not only allowed for the development of smaller, more complex electronic devices but has also improved performance. SMT components typically have lower resistance and inductance at the connections, which can lead to better high-frequency performance. This is crucial in today’s high-speed and high-frequency electronic circuits.

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