Surface Mount Technology in Printed Circuit Boards
Surface mount technology or SMT is always used in fabrication process of the printed circuit board, but what is the surface mount technology? Prior technology of printed circuit board design and fabrication consisted mostly of components situated on the board and connected to conductors through holes and typically soldered in place. This through-hole method requires detailed manufacturing steps of drilling holes in the board material, inserting leads through those holes properly and consistently, and connecting them in place securely through soldering processes.
While many of these fabrication functions are today highly automated to provide quality and efficiency, they are steps in the manufacturing process that require attention to detail and introduce potential for flaws and quality issues when not executed with exacting precision.
Surface mount technology began to be widely used in the 1980s with the introduction of improved manufacturing processes and surface mount devices (SMDs). Nearly every electronic device that contains printed circuit boards and is mass produced today includes some level of SMT-manufactured boards. SMT boards are typically smaller through the very nature of smaller SMD components that can be positioned in a higher density on the board.