What is a PCBA?

With the development of the electronics industry, users are more familiar with the printed circuit board (PCB), the component used for the assembly of electronic products, but do you really know what a printed circuit board is? A large number of users refer to the green board in electronic products as a PCB board, which is actually a wrong name. PCB refers to a bare circuit board with no components installed, while those used in electronic products are called PCBA boards. The PCBA board refers to the assembled electronic components, known as the “mother of electronic products”, and is an indispensable part of modern electrical engineering. In this article, FS Technology will introduce to you “what is PCBA”, “the significance of PCBA in electronic products” and “why choose PCBA service” from a professional perspective. Next, please watch a YouTube video to quickly understand the difference between PCBA and PCB.

What does PCBA mean?

Through the above reading and watching the video, I believe that you have a clearer concept of PCBA, and FS Technology will continue the above content to deepen your impression.

Definition of PCBA: The meaning of PCBA is Printed Circuit Board Assembly, and the more standard writing is PCB’A. When the PCBA factory receives the assembly order, the factory will solder and assemble the PCB bare board and components through SMT, DIP or BGA assembly to form a PCBA board. The PCB that electronic consumers often talk about is only a carrier, which exists to realize the electrical connection and make the PCBA board complete the specified function. The most essential difference between PCBA and PCB is whether it contains circuit board components. If you want to know more about the difference between the two, please read the article “PCB VS PCBA”. Through the above definition explanation, do you already know the concept of PCBA? The picture below is a comparison of PCB and PCBA, can you tell which is the PCBA board?

Comparison of PCB and PCBA

How is the PCBA board manufactured?

The manufacturing process of PCBA is a complex process. For some turnkey manufacturers, the process starts with bare boards, and finally completes the production of PCBA boards after a long manufacturing and assembly process.

The following is the simplified PCB manufacturing process:

  • PCB CAD files
  • Substrate Manufacturing
  • PCB inner layer
  • Board and check
  • Laminated
  • Drilling
  • Copper Chemical Precipitation on Pores
  • PCB outer layer
  • Computer Control and Copper Plating

The above steps lack the process of testing and cleaning. In the actual PCB manufacturing process, in order to ensure the quality of the product, professional turnkey PCBA manufacturers will add cleaning and testing processes to each link of the process. After the manufactured PCB is guaranteed to be qualified, a more sophisticated PCB assembly process will be carried out:

  • Loader
  • Conveyor belt
  • Solder paste printing
  • SPI
  • SMT high speed patch
  • Reflow soldering
  • Manual/automatic DIP assembly
  • Wave soldering
  • AOI
After the above process, a perfect PCBA board is born. For electronics users who don’t know what a PCBA board is, they may think it is a simple process but it is not. If you want to have a deeper understanding of PCBA, you can click on the link of the manufacturing and assembly process, and we have dedicated videos and texts to describe the entire process.

The technology and equipment needed to assemble PCBA

Assembly technology

As the changes in human needs prompt electronic products to undergo major reforms to ensure that they are not eliminated by the times, the innovation of PCBA technology is the most important in terms of application size.

THT through-hole technology: This technology is applied to plug-in components. PCB manufacturers drill holes on bare boards so that assembly companies can easily complete DIP assembly work, but due to limitations and changes in requirements, this technology has gradually fallen out.

SMT patch technology: This technology is applied to the placement of SMD components. SMD refers to surface mount components, which are more reliable and smaller than plug-in components, so they are respected. At present, SMT technology has replaced THT technology. Almost all PCBA manufacturers have automatic SMT assembly capabilities, while DIP uses manual assembly.

SMT and DIP are the two most commonly used assembly methods, in addition to this, turnkey PCBA manufacturers usually also provide hybrid assembly, BGA assembly, box packaging, mechanical assembly and other services. It is of great help to understand the meaning of PCBA in electronic products through the concept of different assembly technologies.

Assembly equipment

PCBA processing requires the use of a variety of advanced equipment, including:

  • Printing press
  • Dispenser
  • Mounter
  • Reflow Soldering Machine
  • Testing Equipment
  • Repair equipment
  • Cleaning equipment

What is the significance of PCBA in electronic products?

Before the 20th century, the components in electronic products were connected by wires to achieve electrical connection, but because this process is too complicated, it can no longer meet the needs of human beings for electronic products. Therefore, people began to study the PCB assembly process steps and make electronic devices more powerful through PCB assembly technology. PCB assembly simplifies the electrical interconnection between components and accelerates the development of production technology at the time. It took only 20 years for people to not know what a PCBA board is to the elimination of circuit breadboards, which is enough for the power of front PCBA. Today, printed circuit boards dominate the electronics industry, while breadboards are lost in the flood of history. PCBA is of great significance to the development of electronic products.  The core technologies of all electronic devices we use today are concentrated on circuit boards, which are particularly reflected in artificial intelligence, smart furniture, and smart applications. If these smart products are separated from the working principle of PCBA, then all is gone.

Reasons why electronics manufacturers choose PCBA services

The integrated trade form of industry and trade is outdated, and most electronic sales companies complete the assembly and production of products through turnkey companies. Ordering a turnkey PCB assembly service means that the supplier is in charge of your entire PCBA project, which is the best decision for a small or start-up company. This will play an important role in optimizing corporate strategic goals and improving sales models. For some customers who do not know what is PCB assembly service is, or who have never purchased a PCBA service, FS Technology has sorted out the following advantages:

  • Save Time
  • Cut Costs
  • Timely Detection of Problems
  • Better Management
  • Provide More Quality Services

Is it possible for PCBA to be replaced?

The development of technology depends on human desires, which is like the development of button mobile phones to smart phones. Although we cannot judge the trend of technology, FS Technology believes that the position of PCBA in the electronics manufacturing industry cannot be replaced in the short term or in the next 30 years.

What is PCBA in Industrial Robots

The PCBA industry has been following the trend of the times since its birth. For example, in order to comply with the development of miniaturization of electronic devices, turnkey PCBA companies abandon traditional DIP assembly and transform to SMT assembly, making electronic devices smaller and smaller. In the future trend, the intelligent development of manufacturing industry will be the main topic of the next era.

With the gradual decline of the demographic dividend, the biggest problem that the electronics manufacturing industry needs to face is the rising labor cost, and the best solution is to make industrial robots that can complete the basic human acquisition. Before the rise of PCBA, it was difficult for us to imagine that robots could smoothly complete activities such as grasping, clamping, and placing, but with the development of PCBA, all this has become possible. The development of PCBA manufacturing technology allows manufacturers to create multi-layer flexible PCB, and these boards are used in various cutting-edge technologies, including industrial robots. These flexible multi-layer boards provide robots with better functions and smoother body movements. At present, the automobile and food industries are very dependent on this kind of robots using flexible multilayer PCB, and it has become the key for these enterprises to reduce labor costs, solve yield problems, and realize automated and intelligent manufacturing. Therefore, FS Technology believes that the question we will consider in the future is not what technology to use to replace PCBA, but to focus on the development of high-end flexible PCBA.


So far, “What does PCBA stand for?” has all ended, and this article starts from the concept of PCBA to the meaning of PCBA in electronic products. For most ordinary electronic users, PCB is a relatively professional field, which contains many difficult terms. If you want to know more about related concepts, you can click the link below.

What does SMT stand for in electronics?

What is the difference between SMT and SMD?

What is PCB Board made of?

How does the circuit board work? Video and text explanation

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