Surface Mount (SMT) Assembly Cost in China

Surface-mount technology is widely used by most of the turnkey PCB assembly companies as it results in an overall reduction in the Surface Mount (SMT) Assembly cost in China. Many of them prefer these types of SMT components because they are smaller in size as compared to Through-hole components and can be mounted on either side of PCB.

The SMT component can weigh as little as one-tenth of their conventional through-hole counter parts, which leads to significant reductions in weight of the Surface Mount assembly. SMT has helped significantly in solving the space problems that were commonly experienced with the Through-hole mounting. SMT is suitable for high volume production that provides the added advantage of lower costs per unit assemblies, which is not possible with through-hole technology.

The SMT assembly cost consist of different elements such as solder stencil making, pick-and-place SMT machine programming, reflow soldering process, cleaning of solder flux, labor charge, quality inspection methods adopted, etc. This cost varies if there is a requirement of dual-sided SMT assembly.

Dual-sided SMT assembly leads to a considerable increase in cost as the whole process is repeated again for placing the components on both sides of the circuit board. This process consumes additional solder stencil making, SMT machine programming and reflow soldering for the other side, which may affect the average assembly cost.

A typical example of the average SMT assembly part can be given through this illustration: Board Quantity 150, Components on both sides, BOM lines 40, SMT 125, Fine Pitch 3, Leadless/QFN 1 is $ 30.4 per board and average assembly cost per SMT part is $ 0.235 in China. The competitive SMT assembling rate enables most of the customers to get desirable benefits of SMT assembling in China.

China has emerged as a popular place for SMT printed circuit board assembly because of easy and low cost availability of small and thin surface mount parts and inexpensive labor. There are scores of components available with good standards and at a discounted rate. Most of the circuit board assembling companies look forward to China to get the benefit of reduced operational cost and time, as well as improved quality.

Some of turnkey PCB assembly companies make use of X-Ray inspection to check the joint soldering SMD qualities. Implementation of extra prevention and detection processes helps to produce the desired quality level, which increases the price. Conversely, removal of various quality checking processes would lead to decrease in the cost of SMT assembling. It is suggested to discuss balance between quality and cost with the manufacturer to make sure that overall expectation of the deliverables is achieved.

Bittele is an experienced SMT assembly house in China. Their employees are highly trained and considered professionals in this area. Bittele performs single and double sided placement of all component types. The SMT soldering process used by Bittele is carefully matched to the customer’s design and constraints. Bittele provides DFM advice from the earliest stages of the design. Bittele’s instant PCB assembly quote calculator helps the customer to estimate the rough cost of project’s assembly from the very beginning.


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