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PCBCart Team

Sep 16th, 2020

What does SMT Process Engineer Do?

As the busiest staff in PCBCart, Yang is wanted a thousand times a day and still a lot of work is left undone. As we always say, Yang stays on line every minute. Unless the assembly line stops, Yang has been devoting himself to his job as an SMT (Surface Mount Technology) PE (Process Engineer) which must be usually heard. But what on earth SMT PE does maintains seldom known. This article strives to tell you SMT PE’s responsibility, the importance of SMT PE to the whole manufacturing line and how to be an excellent SMT PE, just like Yang from PCBCart.

What is SMT PE?

A process engineer is usually needed when confusing problems take place during PCB (Printed Circuit Board) assembly process, rejection rate miraculously declines or PCBA products go down in terms of quality and manufacturing efficiency. The leading responsibility of SMT PE can be listed as the following:
• To define SMT assembly process and to upgrade it;
• To deal with process abnormities;
• To improve pass rate and decrease rejection rate;
• To implement and testify special manufacturing processes;
• To set process parameters.
• To evaluate new components and new process.

Briefly speaking, the task of an SMT PE is to prepare, implement and monitor the whole SMT assembly process.

As electronic technology gets constantly upgraded and higher demands are laid to electronic products, the fundamental responsibility of SMT PE maintains unchanged. However, new requirement has been set to SMT PE in order to meet increasingly higher demands.

Firstly, PE should be able to accurately define and predict the possible results process changes bring forward to significant function implementation. As soon as changes do take place during SMT process, PE should be sensitive enough to predict corresponding results they’ll lead to so that other links of the process receive timely treatment.

Secondly, PE should be fully aware of all the tools that are applied in all phases of product life cycle. Leading technology has been regarded as the core competitiveness by electronic companies, simultaneously leading to higher requirement of electronic manufacturing. For example, some types of new mounters contain lots of modules through which PEs are able to easily get aware of SMT process. New tools call for new solutions. Therefore, SMT PEs should embrace the development of all the changes at any minute so that they can do better in new workshops.

What is the Significance of SMT PE?

a. There are so many elements involved in SMT assembly manufacturing process, like component package, technical requirement, materials, equipment etc. that there must be a person who is able to understand, explain and monitor the whole process.

b. The fierce competition between companies and workshops around the world lead them to actively improve manufacturing technologies in the field of electronics. What’s more, the progress in terms of technology adds more possibilities. For example, smaller and more complicated components need to be dealt with and technologies that are environment-friendly, such as lead-free soldering are called for. All the trends give SMT process engineers both opportunities and challenges. When it comes to their opportunities, it indicates that electronic workshops have to depend on SMT process engineers to optimize their manufacturing process. When it comes to their challenges, those process engineers are standing at the center of profit increasing as far as electronics companies are concerned.

c. New era is witnessing higher demands laid on PCB process engineers so that excellent SMT process engineers should do well in both traditional tasks and be proficient in modern technologies. Their role determines their significance to this industry.

How to Be an Excellent SMT Process Engineer?

• Excellent SMT process engineers should be fully aware of SMT manufacturing process and supply chain and can treat both of them as a whole thing.

• In order to be competent in all tasks and responsibilities, PEs have to win higher demands. They should not only be enthusiastic in all the improvement but strive for clear directions as well. Besides, they should be quite cooperative because they need to monitor manufacturing quality and actively draw up manufacturing plan. To achieve those targets, PEs should own high analysis capability and sufficient knowledge on SPC (Statistics Process Control).

• It took lots of time for process engineers to record and collect data while this task can be completed by the newest machines and tools that are able to steadily improve the programming and increase efficiency. Furthermore, they can help process engineers to analyze great amount of data and automatically monitor the most significant technical parameters. As a result, process engineers should learn to use the machines used for inspection. Once the technology changes, all the tools will be able to influence the whole technology within a few seconds. So, process engineers have to learn to depend on data model and scenic technology to emulate new technologies and there’ll be no need to carry out tests time and time again on real manufacturing line.

SMT process engineers play a center role in striving for higher proficiency through optimizing SMT assembly manufacturing line. Just as what Yang, the process engineer from PCBCart says, manufacturing technology counts for a manufacturer and engineering attitude counts for a process engineer. All in all, SMT process engineers should make all efforts to perform more professionally for smooth optimization and upgrading of SMT assembly manufacturing, which is what is done in PCBCart.

Helpful Resources:
The Most Essential Facts about Surface Mount Technology (SMT)
Design Requirement of SMT PCBs Part One: Bonding Pad Design of Some Ordinary Components
Design Requirement of SMT PCBs Part Two: Settings of Pad-Trace Connection, Thru-Holes, Test Point, Solder Mask and Silkscreen
Design Requirement of SMT PCBs Part Three: Component Layout Design
Design Requirement of SMT PCBs Part Four: Mark
Some Handy Methods in Evaluating SMT Assembler’s Capabilities

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