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Surface Mount Technology Advantages and Disadvantages

While Surface Mount Technology offers certain design-related benefits or advantages such as smaller and flexible PCB, Less Weight, Noise, Shock and Vibration, one of the Major Disadvantage is that not All Electronic Components are available as SMD. Let us discuss and understand one by one.


Advantages of Surface Mount Technology

  1. Smaller and Slim PCB: SMD Components are 60-80% smaller in size than their Thru-Hole Counterparts. Weight of these components is also much less. Therefore they occupy lesser space on the SMT PCB thus making it Smaller and Slimmer.
  2. PCB Flexibility: Since SMD Components are mounted or soldered directly on the Surface of the Board, Surface Mount Technology offers Great Flexibility in terms of PCB Material and Design. Flex PCB and Rigid-Flex PCB are possible only because of SMT.
  3. Reduced Board and Material Cost: Size of SMT PCBs are smaller and there is No Need for any Plated Thru-Holes. Also cost of many SMD Components is lesser that Thru-Hole Electronic Components. This helps to reduce SMT PCB Manufacturing Cost. Since Surface Mount Assemblies are Smaller and Slimmer, there is reduced cost is terms of handling, packaging and transportation.
  4. Automated Simplified Production: Through-Hole Electronic Components have leads that need to be inserted in the Plated Thru-Holes Manually. These leads need to be bent, shaped and cut. This is not the case with SMD Components. With Automatic SMT Pick and Place Machine, they can be Automatically Placed on the Board. This reduces processing and production cost.
  5. High Signal Transmission and High Frequency: SMT PCB Assembly can support high density mainly on Double Sided PCB and Multiplayer PCB. Because of short delay these boards are capable of high speed signal transmission. Also because SMD Components have No Leads or Short Leads,RF interference is reduced. Also SMT PCB Assembly offer more resistance to vibration and there is no to less noise.

Disadvantages of Surface Mount Technology

  1. Expensive Equipment: Most of the SMT Equipment such as Reflow Oven, Pick and Place Machine, Solder Paste Screen Printer and even Hot Air SMD Rework Station are Expensive. Hence SMT PCB Assembly Line Requires Huge Investment.
  2. Difficult Inspection: Since most SMD Components are Small and have Numerous Solder Joints, it get very difficult during inspection. BGA Package has Solder Balls and Joints under the Component and are very difficult to inspect. Also SMT Inspection Equipment are very Expensive.
  3. Prone to Damage: SMD Components can easily get damaged if dropped. Also they are very sensitive to ESD and needs ESD Products for Handling and Packaging. There are generally handled in Cleanroom Environment.
  4. Expensive Small Volume Production: Making SMT PCB Prototype or Small Scale Production is Expensive. Also there are several technical complexity and need great experience and training.
  5. Less Power: Not all Active and Passive Electronic Components are available in SMD. Generally, power of SMD Components is Less.

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