Electronic production on SMT line - PCB machine computer chip assembly. Technology Electronics on SMT Line for production of computer chips by SMT Pick and Place machine with Machine Vision System.

How Many Electronics Are Made

Unlike some of the best foods you will eat, creating today’s state-of-the-art electronics does not involve a pinch of this and a dash of that. Instead, the manufacturing process includes numerous steps that are extremely detail-oriented. Should one circuit or chip be out of place or defective, it can throw off even the most sophisticated of electronic devices, be it a car, computer, or even a missile. If you’re wondering just what is involved in the making of electronics, here are some facts you should know.


Nothing starts without a plan. Computer simulations of electronics are more advanced than ever. Many programs let you create the product virtually and test it to see if it works. If it works, the designers need to make a specific PCB design. This design will include traces and paths that the electricity will take. This process is now being accelerated by machine learning to make it much easier. However, many still create paths manually.


Known as the “blueprint” for electronics, fabrication means creating a PCB. Made of substrates that are non-conductive, a PCB will contain copper layers. Using chemical processes, the copper layers are etched into the PCB, with solder masks and silkscreen then applied. Afterward, a circuit layout is transferred to the copper layers via lithography.


After fabrication, assembly is perhaps the most important of the PCB process that takes place during electronics manufacturing. This step is where mass production begins within a manufacturing facility, most of which are located in China, Hong Kong, or the United States. Prior to starting assembly, a fabricator will create solder paste stencils for a PCB, after which solder paste is applied to the SMD footprints. Next, SMD components are fed into what is called pick-and-place machines, where they are mounted onto a PCB and soldered.


As you would expect, electronics do not leave manufacturing facilities until they have been tested to make sure they work as intended. Prior to an assembled PCB being placed into an electronic device, it will undergo a visual inspection using an x-ray machine. The x-ray machine can help you detect soldering defects or short circuits, letting you make any adjustments to the PCB before functionality testing begins.


A complex process, electronics manufacturing is nevertheless getting more efficient and accurate with each passing year. Remember, the next time you use your cellphone, computer, or television, take a moment and pay homage to the MOSFET.


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