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How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour

How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour - PCSTATS
Abstract: PCSTATS takes you on a guided tour of Gigabyte's Motherboard Factory in Taiwan. There's a lot to producing and testing a single motherboard; a mind-boggling host of automated machines, people and processes. Gigabyte has several other factories in Taiwan and mainland China that each manufacture motherboards, videocards, and other products.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Aug 28 2008   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > Gigabyte

SMT Assembly Line

The bare PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), with solder paste applied in the right places, take the second step towards becoming fully-fledged motherboards here. The SMT (Surface Mount Technology) machines pick and place the tiny resistors, solid-state capacitors and other IC (Integrated Circuit) chips onto the PCB at ultra high speeds. If you look at the motherboard in your computer, some of these small components are no more than 1mm square!

Each board passes through two sets of FUJI CP742 high speed SMT machines, the 'small pick and place' and 'large pick and place' devices. Each machine in the set adds a few components, from tiny resistors up to the North and Southbridge chips. Belt fed from tape-like cartridges of components, the SMT gear places components like a machine gun, taking as little as an eighth of a second to place a component with exact precision on the PCB.

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
Gigabyte's SMT production lines

All chipset ICs, plus the BIOS chips and any integrated peripherals (but not their connectors) are added to the top of each motherboard-to-be during this step of the process. The PCB then passes through a Heller 1900EXL hot convection oven to fully melt and set the solder paste, securing the components in position. Motherboards that require components to be placed on the underside of the board are now flipped and sent through the solder screen printing and SMT process again.

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
The FUJI pick and place SMT machines mount components on each motherboard

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
components are fed into the SMT machines from tape-like reels

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
An SMT machine about to start placing components on a motherboard

PCstats Gigabyte Factory Tour
Each of the 16 or so heads places a different component in as little as 1/8 of a second (flash frozen in this picture)

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte
 Pg 1.  How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour
 Pg 2.  Entering the Motherboard Factory
 Pg 3.  First steps in Motherboard Manufacturing
 Pg 4.  — SMT Assembly Line
 Pg 5.  SMT Process Continues
 Pg 6.  Pick and Place Chipsets
 Pg 7.  Convection Ovens for PCB
 Pg 8.  In-Circuit Testing and Visual Inspection
 Pg 9.  Gigabyte's Enormous Automated Warehouse
 Pg 10.  SMT Automated Reel Storage
 Pg 11.  The Expensive Goods
 Pg 12.  Manual Assembly (DIP) Line
 Pg 13.  Installing Sockets and Ports
 Pg 14.  Wave Soldering
 Pg 15.  Flowing Over The Molton Solder
 Pg 16.  Buffing and Cleaning
 Pg 17.  Testing Stage 2: Full Hardware Tests
 Pg 18.  Automated Testing Platforms
 Pg 19.  Testing Stage 3: Burn In
 Pg 20.  Final Motherboard Packaging

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