Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Additive Manufacturing Printed Circuit Board Assembly Processes
Additive Manufacturing Printed Circuit Board Assembly Processes
Utilizing 3D printing, the design process can be shortened and the manufacturing of the jigs and fixtures can replace the cost and lead time of traditional manufacturing.
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Authored By:
Zohair Mehkri, David Geiger, Anwar Mohammed, Murad Kurwa
Flex
Milpitas, CA, USA

Summary
Additive Manufacturing has recently been brought into the spotlight as an alternative manufacturing method. It is being frequently used across various industries for different applications. For Flex, a company that is heavily involved in the Printed Circuit Board (PCBA) process, 3D printing and additive manufacturing can play a role across the life cycle of the product. Due to the fact that 3D printing can allow the fabrication of parts in different materials and different geometries, its allows a rapid prototyping solutions combined with design freedom.

In the PCBA process this is advantageous in the areas of manual assembly. When a product is designed and needs to be assembled, the auxiliary equipment such as floor space, capital equipment, work area and working tools need to be considered and planned for. These areas will have manual assembly areas where operators and resources will work on the product. When setting these areas for assembly and ultimately production, jigs and fixtures are required to be designed, fabricated, tested, finalized and then manufactured themselves for the assembly processes. These jigs and fixtures go through design iterative cycles so that they can accommodate the product in the best way. The iterative processes cost time, money and resources in the initial stages and then for the manufacturing of volume parts.

By utilizing the strengths of 3D printing, the design process can not only be shortened, but the manufacturing of the jigs and fixtures can also be looked at to replace the cost and lead time of the traditional manufacturing process of the jigs and fixtures. For 3D printed jigs and fixtures to be considered as replacements for traditional jigs and fixtures, there needs to be a certain material characterization, and parts validation process involved to properly select the correct material, technology and process. This paper will compare different 3D printed materials and processes with traditionally manufactured jigs and fixtures.

Conclusions
From our testing we were able to see that the material that has the highest number of favorable rankings is material F. This material was able to perform well under thermal and flexural tests, therefore opening up applications that require these types of characteristics. The material that had the second highest number of favorable rankings was material G with material H following with third highest.

Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings

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