Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source Freepik
The process of assembling printed circuit boards has been evolving over the years. The current manufacturing process is quite different from how it was several years ago, or when PCBs were invented. Technological advancement is just one of the motivating factors that have pushed the evolution of PCBA to the edge.
The fact that there is a high demand for cutting-edge technological solutions in different industries means that PCB manufacturers have to come up with the most effective ways of delivering these modules. In this article, we are going to discuss the future of PCBA technology. We will discuss some of the key technological innovations and inventions that are expected to dominate the PCBA industry.
The current state of the PCBA industry
To predict the future of PCBA, it will be prudent to understand the current state of the industry. When we look at the market value, the PCBA industry stands at USD 75 billion. It is predicted that it will be worth more than $130 billion by the year 2030. These figures are proof of the vibrant nature of the PCBA industry. As more people are going for technological solutions, we should expect a steady expansion of the PCBA market.
What about location? Well, according to reliable statistics, top PCBA manufacturers are based in China. Some of the world’s best PCBA manufacturing units are in China and other Asian-Pacific countries. North America is also among not only the top manufacturers but also consumers of PCBAs.
The development of other areas of technology has also influenced the PCBA manufacturing process. For example, automation, a common trend in the world of technology has been embedded in the PCBA. It has improved the process of assembling printed circuit boards.
Future trends in PCBA technology
Now let’s look at the trends and things that you should expect with regards to the future of PCBA.
While this technology is already trending, currently, there is still heavy involvement of manual labor in PCBA manufacturing Most activities revolving around PCB assembly will be fully automated. Already high-end machines and systems will be being developed to do this job.
Automation will improve the productivity in the PCBA manufacturing process. It means that more circuit boards will be assembled within a record time. We cannot ignore the accuracy and reliability of using automated systems in the PCBA assembly.
Flexibility in PCBA
Flexibility is another key feature that is predicted to define the future of the printed circuit board assembly. Flexibility in this context refers to the ease of assembling components on the semiconductor wafer. In the future, PCBA manufacturers will have unlimited capacity to interchange components when doing the actual assembly.
Miniaturization in the world of electronics is one of the factors that will make it necessary to embrace flexible design and manufacturing processes.
AI and machine learning
While automation may play a big role in defining the future of PCBA, there is a bigger revolution that is likely to affect PCBA. Artificial intelligence technology is making strides in different areas of technology. By the look of things, PCBA is likely to be affected by this revolution.
We should expect to see robots taking over some assembly roles that are currently being done by humans. Of course, this will affect the quality of work and as well as productivity in PCBA. Trained models will also be used for testing and identifying errors on the assembled PCB modules.
Closely connected to AI and machine learning is big data. Currently, PCBA manufacturing is already relying on big data and analytics to determine the steps and procedures that should be followed in the assembling of printed circuit boards.
Streamlined supply chain
There is no doubt that PCBA has been affected by a rough supply chain in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic is among the top factors that have disrupted the supply chain. It was difficult for manufacturers to access components that were to be assembled on the printed circuit boards.
All the players in the PCBA industry have learned their lessons and are taking appropriate measures to avoid any challenges that are related to the supply of PCBA components. We are already witnessing diversification in the supply chain. We expect this trend to continue as it will define the future of PCBA. There is also a widespread collaboration among different players that are involved in PCBA.
3D PCBA manufacturing
Additive manufacturing is also expected to be fully embraced in PCB assembling shortly. This technology entails using 3D printers to design and assemble components on the circuit board. The method is ideal for minimizing electronic waste and also streamlining the mass production of printed circuit boards.
Push for customer-centered PCBA
In the past, the whole PCBA manufacturing process was centered on getting the job done. Manufacturers focus on the requirement specifications and customers are only involved at the end of the process. By the look of things, the future of PCBA technology will be centered around the customers.
Customers will be involved in the designing and assembling of components on the PCB modules. The advancement of technology is even making things better as it provides a seamless communication channel through which customers and manufacturers can exchange data during the PCBA process. This mode of PCBA manufacturing enhances the integrity and accountability of the PCBA manufacturer. It also improves the overall customer relationship.
What is the future of PCBA? From the issues that we have just highlighted, you should have high expectations about the future of printed circuit board assembly. If you are in this industry, whether it is as a user of the modules or even a distributor, you should be putting up the right systems and be ready to embrace the future.
One way of getting ready is by finding a reliable PCBA partner. This is an entity that will help you with all the issues pertaining PCBA process. For example, PCB component suppliers will be availing the right components that you will need for assembling a complete printed circuit board.
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