Is it necessary to use Manual Soldering in the SMT Assembly Manufacturing?

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: August 30, 2022
SMT Assembly

With the increasing trend towards miniaturization, the one thing that is gaining huge ground in the SMT assembly process is the use of automation. Rightly so, as the rate of production needs to improve, and the possibilities of errors need to be reduced. With the automated manufacturing process not only are boards produced at a faster rate, but the cost is also significantly reduced.

Does manual soldering, therefore, find any place in SMT manufacturing process? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. However, before we look at some of the aspects that can be achieved only through manual soldering, let us look at the difference between manual and automated assembly.

Automated Assembly versus Manual Soldering SMDs

The significant difference between the two lies in the use of equipment. Automated assembly uses a wide variety of equipment including:

  • Dispensing machine that applies solder paste to the PCB using a stencil
  • Pick and place machines to mount SMDs on the solder paste
  • Conveyor belts and reflow ovens where the solder paste is melted so as to join the components to the PCB.

In contrast, the requirements for manual soldering include:

  • Experienced operators – They should be able to handle the multiple components and carry out the soldering work without any damage to the PCB assembly. Especially when it comes to soldering small parts, overheating needs to be avoided and solder iron with quick temperature changes needs to be effectively used.
  • Some of the tools that aid manual soldering include:
    • Soldering iron
    • Solder flux
    • Solder wick
    • Hot-air gun and nozzles
    • Vacuum pump
    • Tools such as shear cutters, wire cutters, tweezers, safety goggles
    • Hand-operated vacuum
    • Solder wicks to remove excess solder
    • Lead free solder
  • Some of the other tools that come in handy include tweezers to move parts, vice to keep the board in place, an illuminated magnifying glass to detect defects and more.

With the difference between the two noted, let us look at some of the use cases where manual soldering finds use:


Manual touch-ups are often necessary even when your assembly process is otherwise automated. Some of the use-cases where manual touch-ups are needed include:

  • Where smaller components are overshadowed by larger components. This leads to incomplete melting of the solder paste. Manual touch-ups can correct these defects.
  • Mishandled components such as tombstones and bent pins also need manual touch-ups.


Damaged and misplaced components often need replacement. This is made possible through a manual process. Operators typically use hot air guns to heat the solder joints and melt them. Once the melting process is done, the component can be removed from the board. In order to replace the component, the excess solder paste is removed and reapplied manually. The hot air gun is once again used to melt this freshly applied solder paste.

Special Components

With fragile components, prolonged heat exposure can be an issue. Such components have to be soldered by hand to prevent any damages. Also, since the PCB has both large and small components, the smaller components tend to heat up far quicker than larger ones. This can lead to overheating of the small components. It is, therefore, advisable to solder the large components by hand.

To sum up

Clearly automated manufacturing processes will continue to see increased usage on account of the many benefits it offers such as:

  • Improved rate of production
  • Reduced defects
  • Lower costs

In addition to this manual soldering process comes with some challenges of its own including:

  • The soldering is only as good as the expertise of the operator
  • Reproducibility can be an issue
  • High thermal stress can be applied to a small area

Despite these challenges, manual soldering will continue to play a pivotal role in the SMT PCB Assembly Process especially where special components are required or where repair and rework is needed.

Mer-Mar Electronics offer high-quality SMT PCB assembly services in quick turnaround time. Our SMT PCB assemblies are known for its high mechanical strength & a reliable choice for many industries. If you require SMT assembly, surface mount PCB fabrication, or any kind of services, contact us at or call us at (760) 244-6149.

Get a quick quote for SMT PCB assembly. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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What makes the Flexible Circuit Board assembly a perfect choice for your Industry?

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: November 1, 2022

When it comes to the types of PCBs, three main types of PCBs- rigid PCB, flex PCB and rigid flex PCB suit different needs in terms of design and construction. As their names suggest, rigid boards are inflexible, while flex boards can be designed to fit into different shapes. A rigid-flex board, of course, lies somewhere between the two.

Here is a comprehensive guide on flexible circuit board assembly including their benefits, the types of circuits, cost drivers as also the process involved in their assembly.

Benefits of Flexible Circuit Board Assembly

First up, let us look at the many benefits of Flexible Circuits that make them a perfect fit for miniature designs where saving weight and space is a priority.


The big advantage that flexible printed circuit boards offer is the ability to create a customized routing path, adding to the dependability and reliability.

Suited for harsh environments

With flex PCBs you have the added advantage of the PCB working in harsh environmental conditions without any glitches. In fact, since this PCB can withstand high temperatures, it is particularly used in a wide variety of industries including but not limited to aerospace and military.


You can count on the flex circuit to go through several cycles without any disruption.

High vibration

Being ductile they can take to various shapes without breaking. They can also withstand high vibrations without any impact on PCB.

Lend themselves to miniaturization

They are perfect for a milieu where miniaturization is the norm. They go a long way in saving space as also reducing weight.

Signal Integrity

Flex circuits are eminently suitable for high-speed systems where signal integrity is extremely important

Reduced assembly time and cost

With flex circuits seamlessly integrating into different devices, what you have with flex circuits is reduced cost of PCB assembly. The reduced steps of assembly also come with decreased time of assembly and reduced error potential.

What are the aspects that influence the cost of a flexible circuit?

Number of layers

Typically projects with a high number of layers come at a high cost on account of increased cost of material, time and the technical challenges involved

Size and shape

Size and shape of the circuit determines how many circuits can fit on a manufacturing panel. In turn, this has an impact on the cost.

The class of the circuit

If your circuit falls under IPC class 3, typically there are more requirements as well as greater need for validation than class 2 circuits. In turn, this will have an impact on the cost.

Final finishes

The requirement of the final finishes can also impact on the cost.

Blind and buried vias

Multilayered PCBs typically require blind and buried vias to route a trace from one layer to another. This also has an impact on the cost.

Flex Circuit Board Assembly Process

The broad steps involved in the flex circuit board assembly process include:

Solder Paste Stenciling

Essentially this stage involves the application of the solder paste on the board. The use of a thin stencil ensures that the solder paste is applied to the board at the correct places.

Pick and Place

The use of a robotic device places the surface mount components on the PCB. A process of soldering follows. The automated process ensures precision.

Reflow Soldering

The PCB is now put on a conveyor belt. The heating of the board ensures that the solder melts. It now moves to the cooler where the solder solidifies. In this way the components are attached.


A robust inspection process ensures that there are no shorts and that the connection isn’t poor. A number of inspection techniques span manual inspection, Automatic Optical Inspection as well as X-Ray inspection.

Through-Hole Components

In the case of through-hole components a manual soldering method is put into place. Wave soldering could also be used, although it isn’t possible to use it for double-sided PCBs.

Functional Test

A robust process of functional testing completes the process where simulated signals help test the electrical characteristics.

Clearly, on account of the many advantages that they offer, flex PCBs find extensive use in a wide variety of industries. A broad understanding of the many aspects of keeping costs in check as also the assembly process can go a long way in ensuring that an effective use of these PCBs is made.

Mer-Mar Electronics is one of the leading printed circuit board manufacturing companies, providing all in one PCB assembly and fabrication solution. Whether you are looking for flexible PCBs, flexible PCBs fabrication or flexible circuit board assembly, we have you covered.

Send us an email with your queries at or call us at (760) 244-6149 related to our flexible PCB manufacturing and assembly.

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What You Need to Know Before Choosing a Quick Turn PCB Manufacturer?

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: February 28, 2023
Quick Turn PCB Manufacturer

Choosing the right Quick Turn PCB Manufacturers is nothing but hustle for some people who want the best fabrication service that suits their project. The reason is because of the chaos of the market, which is full of manufacturers who are just side cutting your demand to profit from their own business.

If you are searching for the best Quick Turn PCB Manufacturing Company, then this blog will help you find the best suitable service provider to some extent. So, check it out if you don’t want to take any risk for your project.

What is a Quick Turn PCB Manufacturer?

By the word “Quick Turn”, you can guess it is about producing the product in the least amount of time possible. In some projects, the deadline for completing the project is very shorthand. At that time, quick service is required. The fact is you can easily find a quick-turn PCB manufacturer in the market, but in many cases, you have to compromise about the quality. But if you know properly about the market, you don’t have to suffer about it.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Benefits of PCB Assembly in USA

Factors to be Considered When Selecting a Quick Turn PCB Manufacturer:

Actually, which PCB manufacturer is good and which one is bad somehow depends on your project. Some service providers are very good for small businesses, and others are favorable for the industrial business. But some criteria are applicable in any company, which you have to keep in mind getting the best selection. The parameters you have to consider if you don’t want to turn out your project to be a compromised one is –

Quality is Priority:

Quality is forever at the prime of preference. Never compromise about the quality the partnering company tries to offer because there is no reason to hire a manufacturer who cannot meet your expectations about the project.

The best quality of a good manufacturer is the ability to operate the assembly in the simplest possible way, very handy prototype, easy to use software, updated application version, skilled engineer, etc. Just have a Look at their customer’s guidelines, how they can solve the doubt if they arise, this is very important to know every detail about the circuit you use over your project to get the maximum results from the project.

If you are confused about knowing the quality service a manufacturer provides, inquire about the customer review, consumer’s rating, work with other renowned companies, etc. You can also check acknowledgment certificates or awards the manufacturer company received.

The timelines:

Quick Turn PCB is developed in the hectic timeline of a project. So, you keep being conscious of how short a time the partnering company delivers the circuit boards. Quick turn PCB speeds up the production rate of the prototype to make the process of manufacturing fast. So before selecting the service provider, convey to them your expected timeline to make sure they can’t hamper your deadline delivery.

Cost-effective service:

Your budget is one of the important points to consider while choosing the PCB manufacturer. You need to check the various quality of the element, bill of the material, number of layers used in the design influences the price of the service. With the complexity of the circuit, the PCB manufacturing cost range goes higher.

So, if you aim to prepare your project on a low budget, try to make the design simple. Try to negotiate the budget, and some of the companies offer some contention in case of the bulk order or high-volume PCB assembly.

Guards yourself from brokers:

Brokers act as a mediator between you and your partnering company. But many times, beginners can’t differentiate between manufacturers and brokers because many of the companies present in the market are brokers of large companies.

If you don’t like to sand such problems, make sure of the authenticity of the services provider. Middleman increases the cost of the project because they take a commission for their work. And besides that, direct contact with the manufacturer helps to build a circuit according to your demand.

PCB Prototype review:

Layout review is the analysis of the first sample of the design to check the proficiency of it. Does it meet your expectations or not? It is crucial because it helps not to put your entire project at risk.


The flexibility of the company is important when it comes to the change in the production. Raise a question about their reviews of the work facility before partnering. A quick, satisfying change is minimal in requirement.

Think twice before choosing:

Just don’t choose any PCB assembly company present near your hand. First, look keenly at your project’s aim, and depending on the resources present in your hand, you can choose the best. Take as much moment as you require to research because it will be worth every penny more than when you fail to get the results you want.


We here force the light on the quality of a good Quick-Turn PCB Manufacturer, who will narrow down your confusion during choosing. The very best if your decision will give you the direct result through your project in the distant future. So, be careful in every step of deciding when assigning with the Quick turn PCB Assembly manufacturing company.

If you are looking for a Quick-Turn PCB Manufacturer for your next project; you can upload your BOM files by requesting a quote for PCB assembly.

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Medical Electronics Manufacturing accelerates the growth of the Healthcare Industry during COVID-19 outbreak – How?

By Mer-Mar Electronics | Date posted: | Last updated: May 24, 2021
Medical Electronics Manufacturing

Never before in recent times, the medical industry came under this tremendous amount of pressure! The supply chain is totally disrupted in many countries across the world and medical electronics companies have been trying to keep up with the demands and challenges brought on by the global pandemic. These companies have been scaling the supply chains and trying their best to build resilient health infrastructure. They have also been adapting to the post-pandemic medical landscape through collaborations and focusing on data intelligence.

In this blog post, let’s understand how medical electronics manufacturing has handled the challenges and accelerated the growth of the healthcare care industry during COVID-19 times.

Before we delve into how the medical electronics manufacturing companies showed brilliance in handling the situation, let us first understand what are the risks and challenges.

  1. Shortage of the supply
  2. Lack of alternative equipment
  3. Delays in production issues

It is painful to know that many nations have been in dire of medical ventilators, respiratory devices, and other life-saving medical devices. Many electronics manufacturing businesses have been adapting to these uncertain times and meeting the current needs.

From addressing the current manufacturing limitations, supply chain shortages, there are a number of ways for boosting both production and availability of medical products.

Some of the things that went right for the Medical electronics manufacturing company amidst the turbulent times are listed below –

1. Build a resilient local supply chain

Many medical electronics manufacturing companies have increased their supplier network to gather and procure the components. The primary focus remained on building a stronger and resilient supply chain. This helped in mitigating certain risks. There are companies that adopted a more prudent approach by building strong local supply chains. The medical electronic companies also improved the qualifications of the suppliers and restructured their supply chains to quickly adapt to the demand shifts.

Earlier, the supply chains were dispersed and overseas. This is a serious bottleneck in times of pandemic and hence domestic manufacturing got ramped up. The benefits of manufacturing are also numerous like keeping a check on counterfeiting issues, quality checks, inexpensive, and having greater control over the entire process.

2. Data-based Manufacturing

The pandemic uncovered the existing disconnect between the planning and manufacturing of medical electronics. But the scenario has changed now. There accurate forecasts on-demand requirements based on which the manufacturing efforts are calculated. Medical electronics manufacturing companies rely on semiconductor and electronic component suppliers for a broader understanding of what’s happening in the supply chains so they can make procurement resilient.

3. Lead-time reduction

The electronics manufacturing companies have reduced the lead time especially the supplier leads times which used to be around 28 weeks, cut down to half of that now. Proper reviews of the material costs, logistics, product designs, helped reduce to cut down the lead time to around 8 to 12 weeks. Design modifications, prototypes, testing, and other processes in the development cycle are all fast-tracked to meet the unprecedented shift in demand. Some turnkey PCB design and manufacturing companies offer greater benefits like single-source PCB manufacturing.

The ready availability of the core components and materials also helped in reducing the delays in supply acquisition and production. Some even had buffer stocks of the essential component that also helped in these difficult times. Another thing is that an FDA premarket review which used to be mandatory for any modification made to these medical devices is relaxed now. There is an ease of the regulatory burden on the medical electronics manufacturers where FDA also showed discretion on certain modifications to the medical devices.

4. Ramped up production

By complying with various regulations and standards like ISO 13485:2016, IEC 62304, and FDA standards, there is also a ramp-up in the production. By building a proper funnel of medical equipment, there is a dramatic improvement in the production outputs. From parts procurement to engineering training, improvements have been made to ramp up production and establish a resilient supply chain even in the crisis years. Through high-level operations for medical device manufacturing, precision and quality work are ensured.

Medical device manufacturers should also be equipped for creating components for electronic medical devices like life-sustaining medical devices and understand the risks and challenges of electronics design. The manufacturing team especially design engineering teams are geared up with technology and capacity for building mission-critical apps. The build, test, and tracking process have been streamlined for faster building of devices.

5. Maintain Critical Quality Standards

The life-saving devices like ventilators have also adhered to the highest standards in terms of design, function, production, and quality. Reliability is a prerequisite in medical electronics and hence safety is not thrown to winds at all. One of the mandatory quality standards is ISO 13485 that is served as regulatory and legal requirement for ensuring quality management system.

All the safety elements like radiation, thermal, electrical, or mechanical safety were being taken care despite the immediate demands. Most of the companies like Mer-Mar Electronics hold certifications for the entire product development lifecycle like design, development, manufacturing, shipping, etc. of the medical devices. With ISO medical certification, most of the devices are also of quality approved. Hence safe, reliable, and effective PCB assemblies are rolled out.

Companies whose PCB engineering team is trained in surface mount technology and through-hole technology and comply with IPC-610 & J-STD-001, cable harness production complying to IPC-620, etc. FDA also fast-tracking these and also making it vital for getting proper certifications.


There are newer risks and uncertainties that have challenged the status quo and hence to thrive, one needs to look beyond the traditional medical electronics manufacturing. It is true that medical electronics manufacturing companies have seen an unprecedented increase in the demand for medical equipment and have been one of the companies that are hit the hardest by the global pandemic. But good news! With unparalleled innovation, they have sailed through effectively and recorded impressive growth. Mer-Mar Electronics is one of the leading medical electronics manufacturing company that has been manufacturing quality and high precision electronics based on demand anticipation.

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