The essential guide to PCB rework and repair

The essential guide to PCB rework and repair

How good would it be if all circuit boards were perfect, 100% of the time?

It may sound good, but it simply cannot be guaranteed. Even the highest-quality components fail every now and again. And fixing them can be costly.

This is why PCB rework and repair expertise is so important. These are specialist processes and another reason you should always use an experienced PCB assembly partner with the right in-house facilities.

To help you understand what is involved in PCB rework and repair, the types of rework and PCB repair that are available, and why it is vital that this work is carried out properly, we have created this short guide.

What is PCB rework and repair?

Electronic product innovation is fast paced and, in order to support its advances, PCBs are becoming increasingly complex. PCB assembly specialists go to great lengths to ensure circuit board performance, but errors, defects and damage do happen.

As do product upgrades and changes to engineering orders, which are other reasons why PCBs need to be reworked and repaired. And for many companies, time is of the essence: lifecycles for a lot of products are short, so any delay in getting products to market is money lost.

This is why PCB rework and repair know-how is critical. The right electronics manufacturing partner will have the experience to advise you on the type of PCB rework and repair you need, and the expertise to deliver it quickly and to a high standard.

What types of PCB rework and repair are available?

There are various types of PCB rework. The most common forms are the replacement of defective components and the modification of circuit boards to new specifications.

The right PCB assembly partner will be able to rework or replace components on all circuit boards, including those that feature ball grid arrays (BGAs). BGAs are difficult to replace because they sit entirely underneath the component body; other packages have protruding legs that make rework easier.

The most common forms of PCB repair are track repairs and pad repairs. The copper tracks in PCBs can break and pads can become lifted or damaged. In addition, overheating can cause PCBs to delaminate from their fibreglass boards.

The right PCB manufacturer can carry out these forms of repair and rework and more, including the provision of expertise on component linking to improve design. They should also be able to rework and repair PCBs built by third parties, although the extent to which this is possible depends on the original test information provided.

There is, however, one type of PCB rework and repair work that no PCB assembly specialist can carry out and that is on potted PCBs. Potting is a popular protective coating for PCBs and, once applied, rework and repair are not possible.

Rework and repair and your PCB assembly partner

One of the reasons why more and more electronics companies are outsourcing PCB assembly manufacturing is to ensure access to the delivery of expert and quick reworking and repair of circuit boards and their components.

Product lifecycles are becoming shorter, which means time to market is increasingly important – any delay can be extremely expensive. Outsourcing rework and repair helps to minimise costs and ensure product safety, reliability and durability.

This is why it is critical that you choose the right PCB manufacturing partner.

To find out how MPE Electronics PCB manufacturing and assembly services can benefit your business, contact us on +44 (0)1825 764822 or enquiries@mpe-electronics.co.uk.