Why Electric Screwdrivers Torque Solutions Matter in PCB Mounting Process

Many critical applications rely on printed circuit boards. Mounting a PCB inside a jet engine, pacemaker, or natural gas turbine can be disasterous if a screw becomes loose.

If procedures are not in place to ensure each fastener is torqued correctly, the failure rate of these products will increase, and a loss of profits and productivity will follow. Therefore, it is imperative that torque control is a priority for all manufacturing processes that involve mounting PCB's 

What is Torque?

In order for us to know how to keep things together, we must first understand how things fall apart. So, what is torque? And how does it ensure that the screws hold in place?  

Torque is referred to as rotational force. Just as linear force can be thought of as push or pull, torque can be thought of as a twist to an object. 

When you turn a screw or bolt to hold two objects together, you are applying force to two inclined planes, the threads of the fastener and the socket. The force drives the planes together. As the screw compresses the two objects it's holding together, they push back, exerting an opposite force on the screw -  tension force.

A screw can only take so much tension force. As the screws reach the limits of their strength, they begin to warp and deform along the paths caused by the tension. Subject to too much tension screws can break or buckle.

In contrast, a screw that doesn't receive enough torque when it’s being fastened will suffer from a lack of tension. The screw will no longer be able to hold the objects it has fastened together and could fall from its socket.

Electric Screwdrivers and Automated Systems Aid PCB Manufacturing

Screws are not created equally, and therefore require different amounts of torque to fasten. A wrench used to tighten lug nuts on a truck won’t work on the bolt holding your heat sink to your circuit board. PCB manufacturing usually requires minute amounts of torque, measured in inch, ounces or gram force centimetres. When selecting tools for your operation, be sure they’re capable of delivering the torque ranges detailed in the design specifications of your anticipated products.

In addition to proper torque control, many PCB manufacturing operations produce boards in large volume. For these operations, fastening speed is essential. Electric Torque screwdrivers allow manual tool operators to significantly increase production speed compared to using hand tools. Fully automated electric screwdrivers can further increase production speed while maintaining accurate torque control.  

Preventing Electrostatic Discharge

A PCB is a highly sensitive electronic material that is vulnerable to damage from electrostatic discharge. Very small amounts of static electricity can pass incidentally from operator or tool through to the circuit board, causing irreparable damage. Even electrostatic discharge below 200v can damage semiconductors.

To prevent ESD, use tools specifically rated for work with sensitive electronics. It’s also important to remove environmental factors that accumulate static electricity, such as carpets, rugs, plastics, and synthetic materials like Styrofoam.

DC control tools and screw counting systems allow you to view, track, and record your fastening operations in real-time. You’ll be notified of any omissions, unfinished rundowns, or cross-threads as they happen. This visibility allows you to correct problems right away and identify tools which require maintenance, thereby reducing your product failure rate.

Fasteners are essential components of printed circuit boards, and each fastener must receive the right amount of torque in order to hold its position. Applying the correct amount of torque will lower product failure rates and reduce exposure to critical failures in zero-tolerance applications. Augmenting your quality assurance program with screw counters and automatic tools will give you the oversight you need to detect fastening issues and correct them.

Hawker Richardson a wide range of DC Control Tools, Electric Screwdrivers and Torque Solutions from credible brands including Stanley Kolver Cleco, Weber and Fiam. With many years of industry experience, our friendly team can offer you a solution that suits your unique business operation and specific requirements. Contact us today on 1300 36 00 31.