What is PCBA?

With the popularization of electronic technology, people have gained more understanding of printed circuit boards, but there may be some conceptual deviations. Many users tend to refer to the green boards in computers or other devices as “PCB”, which is actually an inaccurate term. In fact, as consumers, the circuit boards we commonly see are already assembled, known as PCBA board, hailed as the “mother of electronic products”, and are an indispensable part of modern electrical engineering. In this article, FS Technology will provide you with a detailed introduction to the concept of PCBA, although there may be some differences in terminology in different regions.

Here is a YouTube video that explains the difference between PCB and PCBA in detail.

What Does PCBA Mean

Through the video, I believe you have gained a profound understanding of PCBA.

In fact, PCBA stands for Printed Circuit Board Assembly, a term commonly used in Southeast Asian countries but less formal in usage in European and American countries.

In electronics, the PCB is considered the carrier of electronic components, serving as a platform to achieve electrical connections between components. In other words, the PCB bare board is unable to function and needs to be combined with components.

Therefore, PCBA represents the process of using assembly technologies like SMT and THT to place components on the surface of the PCB and then fix them through high-temperature soldering.

Ultimately, the PCBA board is used in electronics, the final form we see in electronic products.

Here is a comparison image between the bare board and the PCBA board. Can you distinguish between them?

Comparison of PCB and PCBA

How Does the PCBA Process Work

After knowing what PCBA is, let’s take a look at what the process is like!

For Enthusiasts:

Before proceeding with PCBA, it is essential to ensure the preparation of some basic materials and equipment: components, bare board, soldering material, soldering iron, and some common tools.

The critical first step in PCBA is design, which involves wire routing, drill hole placement, component types, and positions. Send the design files to the manufacturer for PCB production. Upon receiving the PCB, precisely install the components in designated locations according to the design. Apply an appropriate amount of soldering material at the component pins, and solidify the soldering with a soldering iron to ensure a good electrical connection.

There was once a detailed video showcasing the entire process from PCB design to the final PCBA by an enthusiast. Unfortunately, I lost the link, but I will share it if I find it later.

For Business:

This is a complex and intricate process, which happens to be the main business of FS Technology: PCBA services. Here, we will briefly discuss it:

In terms of equipment, we need to prepare, including but not limited to: pick-and-place machines, soldering equipment, testing equipment, and a workbench.

The simplified PCB assembly process includes: loading → conveying → solder paste printing → SPI → component placement → reflow solderingAOI → through-hole insertion → wave soldering → AOI → cleaning → final inspection.

The entire process takes place in an automated factory, and any errors in the process will render the PCBA board unusable.

Significance of PCBA

Before the 20th century, electronic components were connected through wires, leading to a series of problems:

  • Complex manufacturing processes
  • Chaotic internal structure
  • Difficult maintenance and repair

The emergence of PCBA boards simplified the way components were connected, bringing order to the internal connections of devices and ultimately accelerating the development of electronic technology. From the birth of PCBA boards to the complete replacement of traditional connection methods, it took only 20 years, underscoring its significance.

While technology continues to advance, and more sophisticated techniques are needed to meet manufacturing demands, the development of PCBA remains at the forefront of the era. From rigid to flexible, from 10 layers to 100 layers, from THT to SMT, PCBA technology is constantly evolving. Modern electronic products are becoming smaller in size while their functionalities are becoming more powerful.

In addition to its positive impact on devices, the development of PCBA has also driven reform in the entire electronics industry. Traditional integrated manufacturing and trade companies have become a thing of the past, with more companies separating sales and production. The manufacturing of PCBA is largely outsourced to specialized manufacturers like FS Technology. This seemingly inconspicuous change has greatly promoted the development of the electronics industry. Sales companies can focus on their expertise in sales and marketing, while PCBA companies concentrate on research and technological investment. In the end, the quality of electronic products has improved, and their functionalities have become more robust.


At this point, FS Technology has basically introduced PCBA. If your project requires PCB assembly services, then FS Technology will fully serve you.

Or you may want to know more related concepts or terminology in the PCBA industry. The links below can help you!

What does SMT stand for in electronics?

What is PCB?

What is through-hole technology?

What is the difference between SMT and SMD?

What is PCB Board made of?

How does the circuit board work?

History of Printed Circuit Boards

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