Surface Mount Technology: A Major Contributor to the Growing Miniaturization Trend
Surface Mount Technology (SMT) is referred to as an area of electronic assembly utilized for mounting electronic components onto the surface of a printed circuit board (PCB). Earlier, development engineers used to insert components via holes in conventional assembly.
As the level of automation rose for the PCB assembly, the utilization of traditional components with leads did not work well for PCB assembly. Hence, the advent of surface mount technology reduced the manufacturing costs and helped in making efficient utilization of PCB space. With the use of surface mount technology, it is now possible to make highly complicated electronic circuits with increasing miniaturization of devices. The soaring miniaturization trend is further contributing to enhancing market growth. The components can be designed to a much smaller size and can be mounted on the PCB much closer together than the traditional leaded counterparts. This has further led to achieving a greater level of functionality within the integrated circuits.
Through SMT, it has become quite convenient for the components to be soldered directly onto the board. Today, almost all of the electronic equipments are manufactured utilizing the surface mount technology.
The growing demand for consumer electronics is contributing to fueling the growth of the surface mount technology market, with a rise in consumer electronics manufacturing. This growth in demand is further supported by the increasing urbanization, increasing purchasing power of the consumers who are willing to spend on premium consumer electronic products such as kitchen appliances as this helps in saving time and provides convenience to people following a busy schedule. The women entering the main workforce has also contributed to the manufacturing of sophisticated electronic devices. The Asia Pacific region, mainly India and China are considered to have a substantial market share in the global consumer electronics industry due to high consumerism owing to a large population base coupled with increasing disposable and family income. As per the National Bureau of Statistics, China, the per capita disposable income increased by 5.8% y-o-y to reach 30,733 yuan in 2019.
Source: National Bureau of Statistics China, per capita disposable income in Yuan
There is an availability of different types of package for different types of surface mount component. In general, package styles are categorized into three categories namely, passive components, transistors and diodes, and integrated circuits. According to the level of adoption of surface mount technology, a variety of components are available in market, this is mainly driven by the high demand for these components in comparison to traditional leaded forms. Nonetheless, the basic components such as transistors and numerous logic and analogue ICs are usually available in both the formats, traditional leaded component and as a surface mount component.
One of the main reasons for the adoption of surface mount technology lies in providing great improvement in speed, reliability, and cost for the printed circuit board process in a manufacturing facility. This has further put a strong impact for technology adoption and also impacted the designing and development of novel electronic circuits and equipment. Hence, this shift has contributed to improvement in circuit development and performance.
SMT is extensively utilized for the PCB assembly and manufacture as it is possible to pack more electronic components in a much smaller space using this technology. Surface mount components are quite smaller in size and are known to offer a better level of performance. Additionally, these can be utilized with an automated pick and place machine in the assembly process, further reducing human intervention and avoiding chances of error. Hence, with growing industrial automation in the semiconductor industry along with other industries, the market will continue to grow at a significant pace at present and in the future.
It has been noticed that in several industries where PCB assembly takes place, there is still a requirement of manual intervention, however, this is continuing to fall with time. With advancements in PCB designing, currently, printed circuit boards are manufactured to an extent that the surface mount components utilized are capable of being placed automatically. Additionally, this has provided an opportunity for the component manufacturers to develop specialized surface mount versions of components, offering complete automated assembly for most PCBs, further contributing to the market growth.
Amid the novel coronavirus infection scenario, it is predicted that the consumer electronics industry was the worst hit due to the lockdown measures resulting in movement restrictions. The trend was closely followed by the industrial and automotive industry as well. Disruptions in the supply chains causing shipment delays for the manufacturers of the electronic products were noticed on a large scale. Hence, it has contributed to causing an adverse impact on the market growth as well. This is further attributed to the mass migration of employees to work remotely, also, due to the preventive measures taken in order to avoid gatherings and break the chain, many manufacturing units were forced to shut down. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous pressure on the sectors that are dependent on imports from China for their production. This is due to the fact that the country is a hub of factories for many countries in the world. However, not all the electronic industries are suffering from the global pandemic. This is attributed to the increase in sales of electronic goods and equipment required for gearing up with the adoption of work-from-home. It is being observed that consumers are buying electronic products in order to support their shifting to adopting new methods of interaction like video conferencing, additionally, they are also taking initiatives regarding the enhancement of their home entertainment experience amid COVID-19. Apart from this, the demand for medical devices also surged at a significant pace. Tracking and logistics have become busier than before as food packaging companies are speeding up in order to keep pace with the high demand. Furthermore, the demand for electronic devices that are allowing companies to continue to work even during lockdown is adding to surge the surface mount technology market growth.
Besides, the advantages offered by the surface mount technology, there are certain disadvantages as well. There is always a scope of improvement for any technology, SMT also has its own limitations. For example, high-power/voltage parts SMT are not ideal, that is why there is a provision of holes and SMT on the same device. Also, components that generate a lot of heat or carry a high electrical load are not suitable for surface mount technology. This is due to the fact that solder can melt under high heat and it is not capable of adapting to mechanical stress. Hence, inspite of the fact that surface mount technology is utilized on a large scale, it does not hold suitability in all cases.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vibha Saklani is a Market Research Analyst at KSI, working on the estimates and global reports on multiple industries spanning from IoT to food and beverages, with a special knack for healthcare, medical devices, and related markets. With the addition of her formal education in Biotechnology and having a research background, she is able to shed more light on the detailed analysis of the story. To read more articles by her, and for more information regarding multiple global markets, visit www.knowledge-sourcing.com.
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