Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Testing PCB underway source Freepik
Testing and certification are mandatory practices that are observed during PCBA manufacturing. PCBA module has to tested the certified that it meets specific requirements. Any reputable PCBA manufacturer should execute these two critical requirements before supplying the modules to the market.
The last thing that a PCB manufacturer wants to hear is negative reports about the functionality, reliability, and performance of their PCBA modules. Given the importance of PCBA in different electronic applications, some serious flaws in the design and manufacturing process can attract serious consequences.
Testing and certification prove that the PCB is of the highest quality and ready to execute its different functions. Keep reading as we discuss other roles of testing and certification in PCBA manufacturing.
What is PCB testing and certification?
Testing and certification are two different processes that encompass a PCBA manufacturing process. Testing refers to various methods and procedures that are carried out on the PCBA to find out whether it meets certain set standards.
Usually, when manufacturing PCBAs, manufacturers start by outlining the requirement specifications of the PCBA. They define what the PCBA should do and how it should work, or the results that they should expect when it is operating smoothly. Testing and certification procedures are used to cross-check the state of the PCBAs against such requirements.
Some requirements are laid out by external parties in the industry. There are standardization bodies that set industry standards for certain certifications. PCBA testers carry out various procedures to ensure that the PCBA is within the defined requirements. Once they are satisfied, they can then seek certifications from various bodies.
What is being tested and certified on the PCBA?
There are several components that undergo vigorous testing procedures. Some of the components that are tested include the following:
- PCBA lamination: The module has to be tested to ensure that the lamination will not peel anytime soon.
- Hole wall quality: The holes on the PCBA have to be tested and analyzed to ensure that they won’t be affected by drastic thermal variations in the PCBA.
- Copper plating: The testing procedure should also include copper plating. Its core purpose is to establish the conductivity property of the copper plates that are used in the PCBA.
- Solderability: The main material for the PCBA has to be tested for solderability. The main purpose of this test is to ensure that all the components will be firmly etched on it.
- Electrical performance test: All the electrical features and properties of the PCBA have to be tested. The purpose of this test is to ensure that the PCB allows the required current and voltage.
- Environment: PCBA modules have to be tested for their ability to operate in different environmental conditions. This test usually entails exposing them to different environmental factors and then collecting data on how they were able to perform.
Why PCB testing and certification
Now that you know what PCB testing is, let’s discuss some key roles of testing and certification in the PCBA manufacturing process.
Quality assurance and control
One of the primary roles of testing and certification is for the PCBA quality assurance and as well as quality control. These two terms are critical in the production of PCBAs for commercial use. They are used for controlling and regulating the quality of PCBA that a manufacturer produces.
Quality assurance provides full confidence that the manufacturer has fulfilled all the quality requirements of a product. Quality control, on the other hand, focuses on the individual elements of PCBA manufacturing. It highlights how each manufacturing process is performed by the PCBA manufacturer.
It is through testing and certification that you will be able to ensure that the PCBA meets quality assurance and quality control requirements. The parameters for these two elements are defined internally by the management and externally by the government and other regulatory organizations.
Testing and certification are also capable of improving PCBA product safety. Since PCBA are used in electric devices, it is important for the manufacturer to ensure that the modules will not cause any safety issues. For example, current leakage in the PCBA can easily cause fire and explosion.
It is through a comprehensive PCBA testing procedure that all the safety issues pertaining to PCBA are brought to light. The PCBA module may even be exposed to various risky situations. Once the PCBA passes all the safety tests, then relevant certificates are issued. The highest safety ratings not only improve the credibility of a PCBA manufacturer but also save you from the legal repercussions that may arise due to accidents and incidences caused by safety flaws.
Reliability of the PCBA
Reliability is all about the ability of a PCBA module to do its tasks well without failing. It also covers the ability of the module to operate for a long period. Testing and certification help to establish the reliability of the PCBA module. Different types of reliability tests are conducted on the modules. They include performance tests, stress tests, and thermal tests among others. All the flaws are rectified and the module is corrected to achieve the highest levels of reliability.
Testing and certification in PCBA manufacturing is just one of the many ways of managing the cost of producing and selling PCB modules. While testing and even the process of certifying the PCBAs may be expensive, they have a long-term impact on the overall cost of manufacturing PCBAs.
By carrying out tests at different stages of PCBA manufacturing, it is possible to mitigate the cost that comes with making necessary corrections.
For marketing purpose
Testing and certification in PCBA manufacturing can also improve your position in the very competitive PCBA market. Your brand will get a good reputation for selling certified PCBA modules hence gaining more customers. The two elements of PCBA manufacturing will also make you stay ahead of your clients.
Regardless of the type of PCBA modules that you want to buy, it is always important to ensure that they are fully tested for performance and reliability. The surest way of getting such modules is by choosing reputable PCBA suppliers and distributors. With the right sourcing agents, you are likely to end up with PCB modules that have been tested and certified.
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