Surface Mount Technology

Surface Mount Technology

There have been vast improvements in Surface Mount Technology (SMT) over the years.

Recently, Falconer Electronics Inc (FEI) made a new investment in Surface Mount Technology by purchasing the DDM Novastar LE40V Benchtop Automated Pick and Place Machine.

Investing in SMT  offers incredible benefits and opportunities for our customers. Let’s take a deeper look. 

Benefits of Surface Mount Technology

One of the many benefits that surface mount  delivers includes improving thermal performance.

Additionally, the accuracy of component placement is another significant benefit with SMT. The ability to place state-of-the-art miniaturized electronic components such as resistors, capacitors and LED’s certainly offers high level precision with manufacturing printed circuit boards.

Furthermore, the supply chain is major benefactor with drastically reduced production times thus increasing production volume. 

Increasing speed and accuracy helps to reduce prices. 

Therefore, all of these factors work together to bring a tremendous competitive advantage for our customers.

Especially, on low-volume, high-mix runs which is a specialty for our team.

Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Once the circuit board leaves the Surface Mount department, in most cases, additional components such as wires require soldering. 

FEI has been specializing in soldering Printed Circuit Boards for over 30 years. However, soldering and producing printed circuit boards takes a talented skill set. It requires precision as well as a steady hand.

Furthermore, Falconer Electronics has been blessed to have a highly talented team. Surprisingly, this team brings over 100 years of soldering experience.

The longevity of each staff member is a true testament of their commitment. Along with their dedication to the craft.

Additionally, exceeding customer expectations is a daily goal.

Therefore, combining the vast experience of our seasoned staff with new technology brings a unique combination. One that has our customers excited.

Partnering with Volt Vision

FEI partners on a number of projects with LED lighting design and electronics consulting firm Volt Vision

Volt Vision President, Steve French says: 

Surface Mount Technology offers faster time to market, higher density, and lowers cost all while vastly improving reliability. This is a game changer for customers at Falconer Electronics and Volt Vision. Surface Mount Technology provides an outstanding opportunity to dramatically increase the profitability for our customers.

Some of our current projects include commercial vehicle lighting and health care vehicle transportation. 

Partnering with industry experts maintains a strong competitive advantage for our team. 

Additional Helpful Information 

For additional information on Circuit Boards, click on the links below: 

Also, click below of helpful information about Wire Harness Assemblies:

Finally, for more information on Ground Straps, please click these helpful links: 



The History of Surface Mount Technology

History of Surface Mount TechnologyThe History of Surface Mount Technology began in the 1960’s. However, it didn’t become popular until the 1980’s. The original name for this technology was Planar Mounting. IBM designed the majority of the components for these machines.

Surface mount technology is a method for producing electronic circuits. These circuits include components. These components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards.

Originally, the machines were quite large. However, the components became smaller over time. This was due to the ever changing technology. Therefore, there was an increase in the ability to create higher quality work.

Advantages of Surface Mount Technology

There are many advantages to Surface Mount Technology.

Some of these advantages include:

  • The reduction of human intervention (thus errors). 
  • The reduction of labor costs.
  • Additionally, the reduction of production/overhead costs.
  • Repetitive operations support process control quality concepts.
  • Surface Mount enhances production speed.
  • There is an increase in operating speed.
  • Surface Mount increases circuit density.
  • Increased circuit capability.
  • Surface Mount creates adequate performance capability.
  • Also, there is a reduction in heat generation.
  • Furthermore, Surface Mount reduces power consumption.
  • There is a continuation in production enhancement and evolution.
  • Most noteworthy, Surface Mount is useful in combination with through-hole techniques.

All of these advantages help to increase production. Along with the this production increase, there is an elevated level of quality.  

Disadvantages of Surface Mount Technology

There are many advantages to Surface Mount Technology. However, there are also some disadvantages.

Some of the disadvantages include:

  • Surface Mount machines are more costly due to investment in expensive machinery
  • Also, Surface Mount is mostly suitable for small or low power parts as well as low-voltage parts.
  • Unfortunately, solder connections can have damage. This is due to potting compounds going through thermal cycling.
  • Surface Mount requires advanced manual prototype assembly as well as component-level repair. Therefore, requiring skilled operators. This is along with, expensive tooling.
  • Furthermore, most of all these machines require skilled workers. This is due to small components.

Wrapping It Up 

To learn more about Ground Straps as well as the Wire Harness Assembly process, please click on the links below:

Lastly, check out our other blogs!

Where would we be without Surface Mount Technology? 

Take a look around your home or office. Isn’t it amazing the amount of technology available that rule our lives? Including the computer or device that you are using to read this post. 

What drives these incredibly advanced devices that allow us to communicate with the rest of the world? Typically a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). 

How is a circuit board created? Surface Mount Technology

What is Surface Mount Technology? So glad you asked. 

Surface Mount Technology is the method where electronic components such as diodes, capacitors, and resistors are mounted to the surface of a Printed Circuit Board. Each component is safely secured to the circuit board with solder which creates a permanent bond. 

Over the years, Surface Mount Technology has largely replaced through-hole production due to the efficiency, speed and accuracy. 

New machinery is developed when there is new technological advancements.

Especially, for jobs that originally were done by hand such as through-hole circuit boards.

These machines turn these jobs into automated actions. Surface mount technology is a perfect example of such machinery.

Surface mount is a way of integrating components directly onto the surface of a printed circuit board.

Compact Automated Surface Mount Pick and Place 

Falconer Electronics is very happy to announce the addition of the DDM Novastar LE40V. This is a Benchtop Automated Pick and Place machine with Vision Centering.

Furthermore, the LE40V is here to increase productivity. Specifically, for larger orders. Especially, orders requiring tiny surface mount components.

Due to the need for higher volume of product in a shorter time we obtained the machine. The LE40V produces final product with efficiency and accuracy/ 

However, in addition to the larger volume we still need to be as flexible with the smaller runs as well as a higher mix of assemblies.

Furthermore, with the LE40V our quality improves. This is in addition to increasing our outflow as well as decreasing our lead times.

Our customers have come to expect the highest quality of standards. The addition of this new equipment ensures Falconer Electronics can continue to provide quality products at a superior level. 

Machinery System Features 

There are many features the LE40V which include the following:

  • Placement rate up to 3000cph with a +/- 0.001” accuracy.
  • Flexibility for those lower volume higher mix SMT PCB projects
  • Maximum travel area of 22” (560mm) x 22” (560mm)
  • Fine pitch capability of 15mil
  • Compact design
  • As well as, virtual placement of components
  • Self contained for maximum flexibility and economy of short or larger production runs.
  • Flexible feeders to accommodate reels or cut strip components

Advantages of Surface Mount LE40V

Surface Mount Pick and Place Machine

There are many advantages to the LE40V. The design does not take up an increased amount of floor space. The compact size makes it easy to integrate into our floor design.

There is an increase of the accuracy of surface mount placement on the printed circuit boards. This is due to, the Cognex® Vision System. This decreases errors. Therefore, the amount of reworks needed per board has also decreased.

This decrease can be attributed to the software that is standard with the machine. Also, the machine recognizes errors. As well as, self-diagnoses any issues during specific jobs.

The LE40V has a range of uses.

These uses include:

  • Component as small as the 0201package up to and including 2” (50mm) square body.
  • Handling loose components.
  • Also, it has the capability for tape and tube feeder.

In conclusion, the features of the LE40V are perfect for us at Falconer Electronics. Especially due to our focus on low volume – high mix production runs. 

Wrapping it Up 

To learn more about Ground Straps as well as the Wire Harness Assembly process, please click on the links below:

Lastly, check out our other blogs!


Many electronics use solder as the “glue” to attach components to circuit boards. Whether lead-free or lead solder, the function is the same. Lead-free and lead solder do perform the same function. However, different products and applications will use different solder.

Why Do We Need Lead-Free Solder

When manufacturing specific products, they must use lead-free solder. This is due to new regulations by RoHS.  The main reason for the introduction of these regulations is the need to reduce lead in the landfills, mostly in Europe. However, American industries are now sharing these views.

With the increase of popularity of electronics in every home and businesses the need to reduce lead is becoming more important. On circuit boards, solder attaches components and wires, as previously stated. Solder is also a part of manufacturing wire harnesses. Electrical devices wear out over time and therefore need to be disposed of.  There is an increased amount of lead being removed from landfills and other disposal areas by reducing the amount of lead solder within these electronics.

What Are the Uses of Lead Solder

Most hobby solderers still use lead solder for their projects. Due to these projects not being publicly or commercially used they don’t have strict regulations of RoHS to follow. Hobbyists will often choose lead solder for their projects because of its high melting point and therefore the decreased heat required. Also, with a higher melting point, the cooling time required for the solder is lower and can mean a decreased chance of cold solder joints. A cold solder joint can mean that there is not a good connection of the component to the circuit board. This bad connection can lead to a project failure.

Also, hobbyists do not use the amount of solder that commercial manufacturers do. The decreased use is the main reason why there are not as many regulations on hobby electronics. Due to this decreased use, there is also a decrease in the waste from the lead solder. A hobbyist will not use the amount of solder that a commercial manufacturer will in a year’s time.

Here is a helpful video on soldering from STC (Soldering Training & Certification):

For more info on electronics manufacturing please check out our weekly blogs. Also, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.






There are multiple options for the material of capacitors. There are also different purposes for each material. The materials range from ceramic to Teflon. Although the materials are all different from each other they all have one thing in common. All of the materials are non-conductive.

Depending on the capacitor some are better for high frequency. Meanwhile, others are better suited for higher voltages. There are capacitors in the smallest electronics like calculators. Also, there are capacitors in large electronics like the NASA space shuttle.

Capacitors work like batteries in a circuit. Once a capacitor is charged it will have the same voltage as the battery that initially charged it. However, there is a difference between a capacitor and a battery. A capacitor can discharge its energy in a very short amount of time. Whereas a battery takes a longer amount of time to discharge its energy. Farads or even micro-farads are the units of the amount of energy a capacitor will store.

Here is an excellent video about capacitors from our friends at Techquickie:

Integrated Circuits (ICs)

Integrated Circuits

An IC can do the job of many different components. Due to its small size, it is surprising the amount of technology that it holds. The idea behind an IC is to take a complicated circuit with all of its components and connections and make it very small. Therefore, creating a single component that is small enough to fit into smaller electronics.

There is a large process when creating such a small part that contains so many smaller components. An integrated circuit, commonly referred to as an IC, is a microscopic array of electronic circuits and components. These circuits and components have been diffused or implanted onto the surface of a single crystal, or chip, of semiconducting material such as silicon.

Due to its small size, there can be a lot of challenges with an IC. The main issue when working with such small circuitry is it is very easy for small dust particles to impair an ICs function. Therefore, workers take extra precautions when assembling an IC. Some of these precautions include clean labs. These clean labs have special filters for the air to decrease the dust that could damage the IC. Also, anyone working on these components has to wear special protective clothing and enter the labs through airlocks.

Keep Up To Date

Follow us on our Facebook page!

For more info on electronics manufacturing, please connect with us on TwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Check out our previous blog posts for other information!




Switches are components that have the ability to go between conducting electrical energy and not conducting energy. Therefore, Switches control the current flow on a circuit board. This control is easier than having to go in by hand and cut connections within the circuit. These components are important to a circuit board that requires control of current flow.

There are also many different types of switches. Some of the types of switches include toggle, joystick, and pushbutton switches. Each of these types performs the same basic function of conducting and not conducting energy easily. However, each type of switch is structurally different which are described below.


toggle switchtoggle switches

A toggle switch contains an angled lever that goes in one or more directions. A light switch is a common type of toggle. Due to the way that a light switch holds its on or off position the circuit is either open or closed. There are also types of toggles that include a spring. This spring means that the lever will not stay stagnant in the switched position but will return back to a predetermined position.


joystick switches

A joystick switch contains a lever much like the toggle switch. However, the joystick moves in multiple directions. This is unlike the toggle switch’s movement of singular direction. Most recognizable is the joystick on a claw machine. The freeness of directional movement makes it possible to control the claw in any direction required.


green push button switchpush button switchespush me switch

A push-button switch is two position component. Just as the name would suggest a push-button switch works by pushing the button in and releasing it. There are also designs of push-button switches that when pushed in the button does not release until it is pulled out or pushed a second time. The most recognizable push-button are those on a television or sound system.

Our PCB Component series will continue on our blog.

You can also check out a number of switches available in our e-commerce store.

For more info on electronics manufacturing, please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.



Resistors, Diodes, and Transistors

Resistors, diodes, and transistors are integral parts of a functioning Printed Circuit Board. Without them, a PCB would not be able to perform its tasks. Each of these components has a specific function.


Resistors Resistors    

Resistors are a part of a Printed Circuit Board. A resistor creates resistance in the flow of electricity. When calculating resistance the measurements are in ohms. An ohm is a standard for measuring electrical resistance.

Resistors have many different purposes. A resistor’s purpose includes the division of voltage. Resistors divide voltage when they are in series with each other. Another purpose of resistors is their way of generating heat. A resistor can generate heat by converting the electrical energy flowing through it to heat energy. The final purpose that we will describe is how resistors match and load circuits. Most of the output power is displaced as heat in the instance of a too low load resistance. However, if the load resistance is too high then the current will be too low to move energy to the load.

Here is an excellent video from


   Diode         Diode

Diodes only allow current to flow in a single direction. Also, diodes have two electrodes. The anode and the cathode are the two electrodes within a diode. An anode allows current to flow from an outside circuit. Whereas a cathode allows current to flow out in a polarized device. A cathode is also metallic.

A diode only works properly if a cathode is negatively charged in respect to the anode at the specified voltage. Therefore, when a cathode is positively charged the diode does not work at all. This will also happen if the cathode has the same voltage as the anode. It also occurs when its negativity is less than that of the forward breakover voltage with respect to the anode. The direction of the cathode is very important to the diodes functionality.


Transistor      Transistor

Transistors are three-terminal devices. This three-terminal device can regulate current or voltage flow while also acting as a switch for signals of the electronic variety. Semiconductors make up three layers of a transistor. Therefore, each of these layers can carry current. The material of a semiconductor is between that of a real conductor and an insulator. A transistor’s job is to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power and to regulate the current or voltage flow in a circuit and that is only possible due to the semiconductors.

Stay in touch

Coming Soon: our continuation of our series on printed circuit boards and their components.

You can always visit our blog for more information or our website!

Also, visit our FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

Printed Circuit Boards

Printed Circuit Boards

The History of Printed Circuit Boards

A wood material patented by William H. Mason called Masonite made up Printed Circuit Boards. Masonite is a wood that has gone through pressure molding and steam treatment. Bakelite, an early type of plastic also made up some of the very first Printed Circuit Boards. Finally, cardboard even made up some of the original boards.

In order to rivet flat wires onto boards holes needed to be drilled. These riveted wires created the first primitive form of the traces we know today. Therefore, using rivets as the spaces for component placement.

In the beginning, Printed Circuit Boards were only one-sided. Due to the components going through the boards by way of the rivets, there was no way to have circuitry on both sides. Circuit boards made it possible to condense electronic components into one place rather than have wires running all through an electronic device.

Modern Day Printed Circuit Boards

After the initial design of the single-sided circuit board, there were new developments. These new developments were to drill holes in the boards and then plate those holes with copper. The result of this copper plating is that you can now use both sides of the board.

Much like the circuit boards of today, there was printing on the boards of the past. They were able to use a printing press to place the images of the drawing pattern onto a zinc plate with a copper foil and then transfer those images onto the boards. This was the early stages of the pattern transfers that we know today.

Early on in the circuit board development, they did not solder dip their boards. However, in modern designs, solder dipping or wave soldering is very common. By using solder circuit boards, manufacturers can ensure the connections between the components and boards.

Here is a helpful video from Linus at Techquickie explaining how PCBs work:

For More Information: Go to our Circuit Board page.

Also, continue reading our blog for the continuation of our circuit board series! Please connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.





Avoiding Grief and Pain When Using Your Soldering Iron

In a recent blog post, we discussed soldering safety tips. Our team brings over 100 years of experience with soldering circuit boards. Over the years, we have learned the best practices on how to efficiently and safely solder a variety of electrical products, particularly printed circuit boards. Through our vast experience, we have also gained a clear grasp on what NOT to do while holding a Soldering Iron.

10 Things NOT to Do While Holding a Soldering Iron

Below is a helpful list that may spare you lots of grief and pain when using a Soldering Iron:

    Something in your eye? Please put the soldering iron down first. Thankfully your safety goggles are in place for absentminded events such as this. Singed eyelashes will be the least of your problems without your safety glasses securely fastened.
    Scratching an itchy nose with a soldering iron in your hand is typically not a good idea. Unless you are eager to add that new nose ring that you have been putting off. If that is the case, then the soldering iron will cut right through the victimized or targeted area. Viola! A new hole available for your new nose ring.
  3. OUCH!
    Absolutely under no circumstance should you zip up you fly if you notice it is down. No adjustments, fixing, or any other engagement in that general area while holding a soldering iron. Results could be disastrous. Plus you will have an extremely difficult time trying to explain this accident to the emergency room staff.
    Feel water floating in your ears from the early morning swim? This is not the time to clean out your ears. Set down your soldering iron and grab a few Q-tips.
    Tell everyone around you no jokes if you are one to slap your knee when laughing. Yelling, “Hey Johnny, that’s a knee-slapper” can turn painful real quick once the soldering iron hits your knee.
  6. SEE #1
    Soldering is not a time to apply mascara or eyeliner. Please refer to rule #1.
    If you suddenly feel a piece of popcorn stuck in your teeth from that movie you watched three nights ago, please do not try removing the kernel while soldering. A soldering iron is not a replacement for a toothpick and this could quite easily be more painful than a root canal without Novocain.
    Holding or using your cell phone while soldering typically falls under the category of a “Bad Idea”. If you find it necessary to Facetime or Go Live on Facebook while soldering, please have someone else hold the phone to film your activities. You will be glad you played it safe.
    Please under no circumstance do you want to apply lipstick or Chap Stick while holding a soldering iron.  You may end up looking like the Joker from Batman….permanently.
    Last but not least, if you are sitting next to someone while soldering, please keep them beyond arm’s length. Especially if you like to speak with your hands, point when making a point, flail your arms when emotional, stretch frequently or tend to smack people on the shoulder when speaking. All of the above can cost you a friendship real quick.

Soldering Iron

We had fun putting together this list even though burns and injuries are a very serious matter. Please use extreme care and caution when using a soldering iron. Hopefully, these tongue-in-cheek comments convey the message. We use the safest measures possible when soldering printed circuit boards at our facility. Falconer Electronics has proudly participated in the SHARP program since 2005 to proactively maintain a healthy and safe workplace.


Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.

Also, to learn more about wire harness assemblies, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts.

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.


History of Circuit Boards

The Beginning of the Twentieth Century

The History of Circuit Boards dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Albert Hanson, a German scientist, and inventor, first described the use of multiple layers of foil conductors laminated to an insulating board in 1903.

In 1927, Charles Ducas’s circuit method placed an electronic path directly onto an insulated surface. The wires were printed onto the board through a stencil, and the ink applied could conduct electricity. This process is an early version of electroplating.

Next came Paul Eisler. He invented the first printed circuit. This was in England in 1936 while working on a radio set. Eisler’s early PCBs were first used in small radio sets. They were intended to be used by the British and American military during World War II. However, the US military ended up incorporating PCBs into anti-aircraft shells. In 1947, the First double sided PCB’s with through-hole plating began production.

The Middle of the Twentieth Century

In the middle of the Twentieth century, the types of materials used for the board was shifting to different resins and other materials. However, there was a problem with these materials. Only one side could have the printing. Therefore, the wiring would be on one side, while the electrical components would be on the other.

In 1956, the U.S. Patent Office granted a patent to a small group of scientists representing the U.S. Army. The patent was for the “Process of Assembling Electrical Circuits”. The process involved drawing the wiring pattern and then photographing it onto a zinc plate. This plate was the first step in creating a printing plate for an offset printing press. By using this plate they could print the wire in acid resistant ink on the copper foil. Furthermore, the use of an acid solution would etch the copper foil. This was a giant leap forward. Therefore, in 1960, a multilayer PCB design began production.

The End of the Twentieth Century

In the 1970s, the circuitry and overall size of the boards got a lot smaller. Also, there was an increase in the use of hot air soldering methods. During the 1980s, Surface mount parts became the preferred option. This was over through-hole components. This led to further size reductions. All while maintaining the same level of functionality.

In the 1990s, the complexity of modern circuit boards continued to go up. However, the size of the boards and costs of materials continued to go down. Once developers were able to start using multi-layer circuit boards they were able to minimize the size. Also, they were able to incorporate combinations of rigid and flexible PCBs in a range of devices. 1995 was the beginning of the use of micro-via technology in PCB production. Which ushered in the era of HDI (High-Density Interconnect) PCB’s.

History of Circuit Boards

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on the History of Circuit Boards. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.

To learn more about Ground Straps click on this post:

Ground Straps: What Are They And What Are They Used For?


Also, to learn more about wire harness assemblies, check out our “Wire Harness Manufacturing” blog posts including:

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.




Custom Electronics Manufacturer in the U.S. Since 1985

Falconer Electronics, Inc (FEI) has proudly served its community as a U.S. Custom Electronics Manufacturer since 1985. Our customers love the convenience and flexibility of working with a domestic manufacturer.

There are tremendous benefits gained when working with a domestic manufacturer. Especially since partnering with a U.S. Custom Electronics Manufacturer drastically reduces costs and lead time.

The three areas that FEI specializes in include:

  1. Wire Harness Assembly
  2. Commercial Outlet Strips
  3. Printed Circuit Boards

Benefits of Partnering with a Custom Electronics Manufacturer in the U.S.

Outsourcing your Wire Harnesses, Commercial Outlet Strips or Printed Circuit Boards to a U.S. Custom Electronics Manufacturer provides a list of competitive advantages for your company:

  • Time zone challenges do not exist – We get up super early and start our day at 6:00 am est.
  • Quick and easy communication where language barriers do not exist (except for our goofy accents).
  • Shipping charges are much cheaper.
  • QUICK turnaround time – we work fast!
  • Over 30 years of experience.
  • We lobby all of our tools, resources, and expertise to provide an outstanding customer experience.
  • “Made in the USA” is a symbol of pride and high quality. Hard working Americans at work producing incredible products.
  • Fast and convenient shipping options
  • Inventory management and control
  • Our purchasing power lowers your costs
  • Long-term relationship with vendors
  • Keeping our overhead costs as low as possible to pass savings on to our customers.  We are frugal! We consider ourselves part of your team and work relentlessly to keep prices down and dirty.
  • Accessibility – many of our customers visit our facility and we consider it a privilege to go on tour to visit our customers as well.
  • Supply chain efficiencies


Our experience, expertise, tools, knowledge, and resources become an extension of your business allowing you to do what you do best – Make your outstanding products and produce profits. One of the keys to the long-term success at FEI is our deep commitment to driving profits for our customers. The greater the ROI each customer enjoys from our products the better.


Thanks for reading our post and check out our Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.

Having a Blast Producing Printed Circuit Boards

We find Producing Printed Circuit Boards a blast here at Falconer Electronics. Is it the actual placing parts that we find so much fun? Or is it the amazing people we work with on a daily basis? Or is the incredible customers that we are blessed to build product for?  ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Could it be the cool products that we produce for our customers that keeps our workplace so energized? It is a true privilege that we are able to see our finished goods in action.

For example, we find it extremely exciting seeing our work on roads and highways in vehicle lighting fixtures. Many of our products find their way in major retail stores such as Walmart and Lowe’s, working as electrical display units. Our products also find homes in the health care industry, industrial heating systems,  locomotives, vehicle mobility units as well as in national defense projects. 

Producing Printed Circuit Boards for over 30 years allows the opportunity to see trends come and go. What holds true through all of those years is delivering high-quality product, on-time and with a smile for our customers.

Producing Printed Circuit Boards on a Pick and Place Machine

Producing Printed Circuit Boards

This past year, Falconer Electronics invested in DDM Novastar LE40V Benchtop Automated Pick and Place Machine. This fantastic piece of machinery drastically increased our productivity. Especially for larger orders requiring surface mount components.

The Pick and Place Machine delivers a wonderful competitive edge by offering speed, accuracy, and flexibility. This fits perfectly with our customers who primarily require prototypes as well as low to mid-level volume.


Common Components Placed When Producing Printed Circuit Boards:
  • Resistors
  • Capacitors
  • Diodes
  • LED Lights
  •  Wires
  • Integrated Circuits
Several key steps when Producing Printed Circuit Boards:
  • Make sure to place parts properly
  • Parts and lights in place
  • Parts pushed up
  • Look for parts missing
  • Check for parts missing solder
  • Always wear safety glasses

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on Producing Printed Circuit Boards. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.

Also, to learn more about wire harness manufacturing and wire harness assemblies, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts.

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.

How often do we really think about the electric makeup of everyday objects? We use things every single day that contain printed circuit boards and we don’t realize it. We’ve collected a list of everyday objects that may surprise you by containing PCBs.

PCB is short for Printed Circuit Board. These boards are the object within electrical devices that connect all of the internal electrical components to each other. These boards contain electrical lines that conduct electricity, components, and solder. All of these things work together to make everyday items that we see and use run correctly.

5: PCBs in Digital Watches and Clocks

How many times a day do you check a clock or your watch to see the time? Think about the days that you look at a clock and think it must be lunch time only to discover it is only eight O’clock which is just five minutes after the last time you checked. On the days that you are checking your digital watch or clock multiple times do you think about what’s inside them to make them work? That watch you looked at at-least one hundred times today hoping it was lunch time has a tiny circuit board in it. The idea that inside a small sized watch is an entire circuit board with even smaller components is an incredible thought. With their smaller size, watches have even smaller components making them function the way that we have become accustomed to.

4: Washers and Dryers Using PCBs

If you didn’t have to wash your clothing by hand to have clean clothes for today you can thank a circuit board! Well, technically a few circuit boards because you used both a washer and dryer. Washers and Dryers are a convenience that very near everyone uses. They make our lives easier and take the hard work out of scrubbing those tough stains. Grandparents everywhere are forgetting the days of hand washing and having to scrub stains without fancy stain removers that we know and love. None of this would be possible without PCBs.  

3:  Fans, AC units, and Heaters 

                                        Related image  

Fans, AC units, and Heaters are very helpful with changing seasons. Who hasn’t gone to the movies on a hot summer day just to suck up some free air conditioning? Think of how different life would be without heaters in our homes and office. Furthermore, who hasn’t been grateful to hear the heating system kick on when temperatures drop to single digits.  No matter the temperature these helpful units of air adjustment keep us comfortable all year round and all because they have PCBs. 

2: Stereos

No one goes through an entire day without listening to music on some type of device. This includes home stereo systems, iPods, or CD players. Every day we set the tone for our mood by what we hear on the radio or what we plug our headphones into. All of these devices wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for PCBs. We would all be living in a very quiet place if it weren’t for the small circuit boards. These boards make them function the way we need them to.        

1:  Electronic Kid Toys


Kids love toys that make noise, the louder the better. Parents around the world have had to learn to tolerate listening to the same three versions of the wheels on the bus. The newer kids movies and shows circulate around songs. There is more chance of parents “misplacing” a child’s toy just to get some peace and quiet. These delightful moments of listening to the same song over and over again wouldn’t be possible without a PCB.

Check out our other blogs and our website to learn more!


Soldering Safety Tips

Hand soldering printed circuit boards takes tremendous skill, patience, and expertise. As we discussed in a previous blog post, our team at Falconer Electronics has over 100 years of soldering printed circuit board experience. Below includes a list of Soldering Safety Tips that helps keep our staff safe. 

Soldering Safety Tips

14 Helpful Soldering Safety Tips

  1. First, if the soldering iron happens to slip out of your hand, PLEASE DO NOT GRAB IT! The soldering iron is extremely HOT. Let it fall, keep your cool and pick it up by the handle. Wearing gloves or having a dry cloth nearby will come in handy (yes, the pun was intended).  
  2.  Solder runs. It can seep through a hole in a printed circuit board. Ouch! After doing that a time or two, you will wisely consider wearing gloves. Using tweezers to hold the wire works great as well.
  3. Always return the soldering iron to the stand when not in use.  
  4. Safety Glasses, Safety Glasses, Safety Glasses. By the way, did we mention Safety Glasses? Safety Glasses probably serve as the most important tool and resource that you will use when soldering.
  5. Keep the cleaning sponge wet.
  6. Wash hands thoroughly when finished soldering. Especially if you are grabbing a meal afterward. Lingering solder on your fingers typically does not add value to the tastiness of a meal.
  7. Wear long sleeves and gloves. Our team has observed that solder plays “Dodgeball”. Solder likes to toss or launch little specs of heat at you. Unfortunately there is little time to “dodge” these bundles of joy. Protect your skin as much as possible. By the way, did we mention to make sure you are wearing safety glasses?
  8. Keep the work station clean and free of clutter. Cords from the soldering iron can easily become entangled with other objects on your workstation. The soldering iron can quickly fall. As we mentioned, NEVER grab a falling soldering iron. An even worse result would be finding the soldering iron in your lap.
  9. Place ice or cold water on accidental solder burns immediately. For serious injuries seek medical assistance ASAP!
  10. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Also, make sure it is current and up to code.
  11. Extract Fumes! Preferably a ventilation system that vents out of the building. For home use or hobbyist, there are many options including fans with filter boxes. 
  12. Avoid dirt or particles when soldering.
  13. Keep soldering iron turned off and unplugged when not in use. 
  14. Never solder live circuits or wires. This could be an Electrifying experience! 


Thank you for reading our blog post on Soldering Safety Tips. Look for continued blog posts on Soldering Circuit Boards this month.

Also, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts to learn more about Wire Harness Assembly and Wire Harness Manufacturing

Lastly, Let’s get social! Connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.

 Soldering Printed Circuit Boards 

As we discussed in a recent blog post, Soldering Circuit Boards is a specialty at Falconer Electronics.  With decades of experience, our expert staff brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise with soldering printed circuit boards. In particular, hand Soldering Printed Circuit Boards which is a daily activity at our facility. 

Our customers love the convenience and flexibility of working with a domestic manufacturer. Especially since partnering with a U.S. based manufacturer drastically reduces costs and lead time.

Soldering Printed Circuit Boards

Outsourcing your printed circuit boards to a U.S. manufacturer provides a tremendous competitive advantage for your company. Low production runs are simply more cost effective with small quantities and short lead times. 

Our focus includes targeting small to mid-size PCB production. Working with our clients on creating prototypes is another area of expertise. Helping a client bring a prototype printed circuit board to life for the first time is always a thrill. 

Soldering Printed Circuit Boards for over 30 years brings a great deal of experience on what works well and what doesn’t. Below includes a list of tips as well as what to avoid when Soldering Printed Circuit Boards. 

 Soldering Printed Circuit Boards Tips 

 Properly soldering a printed circuit board is essential. Here is a list of healthy tips when Soldering Printed Circuit Boards: 

  • Solder the contact point precisely  
  • Use ROHS Compliant Lead-Free Solder (When possible)
  • Little solder joints
  • More heat
  • Do not over solder the joint
  • Lots of Hershey Kisses – Our staff equates a healthy solder joint will look like a Hersey Kiss (of course real Hersey Kisses are welcomed as well)
  • Good coloring – shiny silver
  • Eliminate dirt or particles

Bad Guys to Avoid When Soldering Printed Circuit Boards  

However, this list includes Bad Guys that our team works diligently to avoid: 

  • Solder balls
  • Solder wash
  • Visible flux residue
  • Cracking
  • Solder bridges 
  • Holes in the solder
  • Flux inhibiting test points
  • Do not overextend the component

These are just a few of the tips our team has accumulated over the years. If you would like to discuss outsourcing soldering printed circuit boards to a seasoned manufacturer, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. Outsourcing your printed circuit boards to a trusted source is paramount. Our team strives for perfection when soldering printed circuit boards and wires. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on Soldering Printed Circuit Boards. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.  

Also, to learn more about wire harness assemblies, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts. 

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.

SMD Stencil Printer

Soldering with SMD Stencil Printer

One particular piece of equipment that certainly elevated our game with soldering printed circuit boards this year: The Dual Squeegee SMD Stencil Printer from Mancorp

SMD Stencil Printer

 SMD Stencil Printer at Falconer Electronics

Easy and Efficient Soldering 

The main tip for soldering with a stencil printer: PULL! Simply pull the lever and sweep the solder across the board and Voila! It is easy, efficient, fast and furious. 

This SMD Stencil Printer fits our formula perfectly targeting prototyping and low-to-medium PCB production. 

The printer provides the necessary versatility and reliability that our customers expect. Especially since the printer handles individual boards all the way up to large panels, both single and double-sided. 

In addition, the ease of use and efficiency rocks! Pneumatically controlled dual floating squeegees provide constant and even pressure throughout the print stroke. This ensures consistency with each and every board which minimizes the risk of solder bridging as well as bleeding of the solder paste. 

The squeegee moves bi-directional (swings both ways) making it possible to print while pulling the lever forward and on the return. This greatly improves efficiency to cover all solder points. 

Upon the completion of the print (which literally takes a few seconds), the risk of solder paste being smeared is eliminated by the vertical lift lever. The stencil lifts upwards off of the PCB as the lid opens away from the printer. This ensures well-defined print edges. 

The SMD Stencil Printer is Fast and Furious

Like we said, fast and furious yet delicate and precise. (Did that last sentence even make sense?) Anyway, our team and customers love the improved efficiency gained by Soldering with the new SMD Stencil Printer. 

SMD Stencil Printer

      SMD Stencil Printer at Falconer Electronics

For the month of July, please continue reading our Friday blog posts dedicated to Soldering Printed Circuit Boards. 

Also, next week look for our “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog post as we continue the Series on Wire Insulation. The series includes the history and evolution since the 19th century up to today.

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.

A Century of Experience Soldering Circuit Boards

The team at Falconer Electronics, Inc (FEI) produces hundreds of thousands of circuit boards annually. This comes as no surprise since our soldering department includes an all-star lineup of a seasoned staff surpassing 100 years of experience Soldering Circuit Boards.

We are frequently asked, “Do you solder by hand?” Our answer is, “Absolutely!”

There are certain jobs that still require the precision hand soldering offers. Especially since our specialty is producing low to mid level volume PCB runs as well as prototypes.

Our services work perfectly for customers that are in a hurry. Particularly for a customer that cannot wait to outsource their order overseas due to the huge volume and lengthy turnaround time required for importing. Maintaining domestic operations lends a tremendous competitive advantage. Being located near suppliers reduces the supply chain. This greatly improves lead times and vastly helps control inventory levels.

With over 30 years of printed circuit board expertise, our customers cherish the reliability and dependability that our team delivers. Even our through-hole department at Falconer Electronics brings more than 50 years combined experience soldering circuit boards. 

Soldering Circuit Boards

Soldering Circuit Boards at Falconer Electronics

Tools (and Traits) Needed When Soldering Circuit Boards by Hand:

  1. A steady hand
  2. Excellent eyesight (of course a magnifying glass certainly helps)
  3. Good Tweezers
  4. Sturdy Solder Iron
  5. High-Quality Solder Paste (Lead-free)
  6. Ventilation
  7. Concentration
  8. Safety glasses
  9. Precision
  10. Lots of patience

Let’s reiterate, patience is paramount when soldering circuit boards. One of our seasoned veterans at Falconer Electronics likes to say, “Without patience, you can kill a circuit board.”

Soldering by hand takes a special skill when soldering wires or components.  Several FEI team members also state, “a healthy solder joint looks like a Hershey Kiss”.

Finally, when partnering with a custom manufacturer for soldering circuit boards, selecting a company that you can trust is essential. A manufacturer with a seasoned staff and decades of experience also lends tremendous value to your business. Our team welcomes the opportunity to work with you. As a bonus, we’ll throw in lots of Hersey Kisses!

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post. Continue looking for our July series on soldering circuit boards.

Also, check out our Wire Harness Wednesday blog posts. This month we are continuing our series on the evolution on Wire Insulation.

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.



Printed Circuit Board Safety

Printed Circuit Board Safety has been a serious concern as the industry has vastly grown and developed over the years. There are many safety issues when assembling and producing printed circuit boards. This is our last post for our series with commemorating May as Electrical Safety Month. In our previous posts on safety, we addressed OSHA as well as safety steps with wire harness assemblies and commercial outlet strips. This post will address printed circuit board safety. 

SHARP Program 

Safety at Falconer Electronics is an absolute top priority as shown with the company commitment to participating in the SHARP program. It can be extremely challenging for a small manufacturer to keep up with every new safety regulation. With constantly changing rules and regulations, Falconer Electronics has taken a proactive stand. The team at Falconer Electronics works closely with consulting firm Safety Compliance, Inc on OSHA compliance and workplace safety: (

Printed Circuit Board Safety 

Soldering printed circuit boards requires a special skill set. Our soldering team has combined experience that exceeds 100 years! They are an impressive group that produces high-quality circuit boards. Due to our commitment to safety, we have enjoyed over 12 straight years without a work injury or safety violation.

SHARP has also been very helpful with our soldering process. We have an extensive ventilation system disposing of fumes caused by the high heat of the mettle.

Secondly, our new circuit board pick and place machine offer many safety features that are extremely beneficial to our team. This machine places 3000 parts per hour. The machine comes equipped with a safety lid and switch. 

Another issue that we have seen in our shop is that of the safety glasses. Safety glasses are required on the floor of our factory due to the possibility of wire shavings or other material that are in and around that could cause eye damage. There have been situations where people have been clipping wire ends or leads and have had the piece fly off through the air. 

Circuit Board Safety Tips 

Below include a number of precautions with printed circuit board safety:

  1. Wearing safety goggles – Protective eyewear is essential (and mandatory)!
  2. Wearing gloves
  3. Handle solder diligently with care
  4. Clutter free workstations 
  5. Appropriate temperatures
  6. Utilize ventilation system
  7. Acceptable lighting
  8. Do not put cookies or food through reflow oven (just checking if you are reading this)
  9. Proper tools
  10. Check all connections
  11. Testing 
  12. Proper cleanup 

May is Electrical Safety Month! During which we will continue focusing on safety issues, concerns, hazard prevention, along with so much more! Check out our Facebook page for “Electrical Fail Fridays” and “What not to do” every week this month. You can also find us on Twitter and Google+. Continue to check out our blogs throughout every week this month for more information on Electrical Safety!


Surface Mount and Through Hole are both common styles of assembly. As well as, common styles of soldering. Both have advantages. Also, both have specific applications that can be useful to different companies. Some businesses prefer one type of assembly process over the other. Both have their place in the electronics industry.

Through Hole Technology

Through Hole Technology

Through Hole placement and soldering is when the components of a PCB have lead wires that physically have to pierce through the board. Those lead wires are then soldered into place. The leads get soldered to the opposite side of the board. This type of soldiering is very reliable.  On this opposite side pads are directly attached to the leads and board simultaneously. 

Some Through Hole PCB assemblies have plated through holes. These allow for circuitry on both sides of a board. As well as, more secure soldering of leads. This is due to, the solder being located both on top and bottom as well as through the PCB.

Through Hole Needs

However, there is a need for drilled holes for these types of boards. The drilling these holes adds additional labor. Therefore, this may increase costs.

There is an increase in offerings. As well as, uses of Surface Mount style components. Therefore, Through Hole components may someday become antiquated. They may also, be in such low demand they may no longer be a viable assembly method. However, this wont happen for many years.

If there is a need for bulkier components or for boards requiring high-power and high-voltage parts Through Hole technology is the more reliable choice over Surface Mount. Often, when a business is creating a prototype they will use Through Hole Soldering. This is because it is easier to solder. Also, it is easier to de-solder components. This is especially helpful as, you see the changing needs of a product.

Surface Mount components are not easy to change. Also, they are not easily maneuverable. Through Hole Soldering does make it easier to replace burnt out or non-functioning components. Meanwhile, you are still able to use the existing board.

Surface Mount Advantages

Surface Mount Technology at Falconer Electronics Inc

Usage of Surface Mount Placement and Soldering has increased the available pin count. This increase helps with the “space” or  “real estate” issues from the past. These issues occur with other methods of placing components and soldering. Surface Mount assembly is the more suitable choice for high volume production over other assembly types. Utilizing Surface Mount components in new designs have benefits. Such as, reducing circuit board size. As well as, being able to achieve more design features in a compact package.

The pin count is higher for Surface Mount assembly than that of the Through Hole. Surface Mount components are much more compact then those of Through Hole. Therefore, they have a higher packing density. Also, Surface Mount components are often lower in cost per volume. Surface Mount assembly is easier to automate. Therefore, it is easier to convert to a higher volume of production.

As with Through Hole assembly, Surface Mount assembly provides the ability to utilize both sides of the circuit board. By placing Surface Mount components directly on the board there is an increase in available space. This increases the design features. Also, it increases possible uses of the technology. Surface Mount components are more difficult to manually solder. This is due to, their smaller sizes. Also, the placement of these parts must be precise on a board. Specialized machinery is necessary. Machinery such as, wave soldering. This is instead of hand placing and soldering components.

Wrapping it up

We recommend that companies looking for Surface Mount or Through Hole placement assemblies contact Falconer Electronics Inc. (email: [email protected]). We have been in the electro-mechanical contract assembly business since 1986. Also, we have the expertise to assist with your needs.

Additional Information

Check out our Power Strip page.

Also, learn more about Circuit Boards here.