Are you asking yourself: “how are LED strip lights made?” Read on for a brief background on what LED strip lights are as well as the detailed process of how they’re made. Before you continue, we’ve included a snapshot of the 7-step LED light strip production process here:
- LED Reel Production
- Printing Using Solder Paste
- Putting the Pieces Together
- Reflow Soldering
- The Welding Process
- Waterproofing and Aging
- Tape Pasting and Packaging
Table of Contents
- What are LED Strip Lights?
- LED Strip Lights Production Method
- LED Strip Light Quality: A Look at the Factors at Play
- Parting Thoughts
What are LED Strip Lights?
Several LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and resistors are attached to a flexible circuit board known as an LED strip light. A few other terms are sometimes used to describe LED strip lights, such as tape or ribbon lights. You can use digital and analog LEDs to produce white light or any other hue.
LED strip lights outperform incandescent bulbs in terms of brightness, energy efficiency, and lifespan. Mercury is not present LED lights, and they produce very little heat that can dissipate, keeping the bulbs cooler to the touch. Despite their smaller bulb size, LED strip lights can illuminate an area with their combined power.
LED strip lights are becoming increasingly popular in commercial, residential, and industrial settings. This is because they are effective, simple to set up, and low maintenance. In addition, you can illuminate almost any room with LED strip lights since they can be made to fit any form or size. Check out our LED Strip Lights: The Ultimate Guide for everything on LED strip lights.
LED Strip Lights Production Method
How Are LED Strip Lights Made?
The production of LED strip lights is becoming more simplified as their popularity grows. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are soldered together on printed circuit boards (PCBs). The Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Assembly Process attaches LEDs and other components to a PCB.
LEDs are attached to the PCB level using the PCBA method to meet the lighting requirements. At the end of each phase, a quality control test is conducted to guarantee the product is up to standard. Please see below for a step-by-step guide on how LED strip lights are made:
Step 1. LED Reel Production
Place LEDs and other components on a reel as the initial stage in making a light strip. With LEDs and resistors on a spin, it is easier to paste them on the board later.
A high-tech piece of equipment is used to affix LED wafers to a reel. Then, the wafers are arranged in the correct sequence for the next phase of the process, which is pasting. Wire bonds are used to secure wafers. In high quality factories and manufacturing processes, connections are made using industrial gold that is 99.99% pure to assure their endurance.
Color, current, voltage, and brightness are all taken into account by the spectrophotometer while sorting LEDs. This enables it to link LEDs of the exact specification on a single loop. Finally, the LED reels or strips are vacuum sealed to keep out dust and moisture once they’re finished.
After the reels have been made, they are baked to remove moisture before sealing them in vacuum bags. Light color matching should also be done to ensure uniformity. Finally, manual microscopic inspections are performed on each reel to ensure that the wafers are appropriately placed.
Step 2. Printing using Solder Paste
When you’ve got the PCB ready, it’s time to start adding the LED components. Solder paste stenciling is used to achieve this. Tiny pellets of metal known as solders make up the greyish paste. The balls are constructed primarily of steel, but they also include traces of silver and copper. Finally, an adhesive paste is smeared over the PCB. Due to technological advancements, a specialized machine now handles this phase, which was formerly performed by hand. Next, apply solder paste precisely to the components’ mounting points, using the correct, necessary amount.
The stencil and the PCB are held in place by a mechanical device. In the meantime, a solder applicator precisely applies a certain amount of solder to the PCB. The solder paste is then applied uniformly on the PCB by the machine. After removing the stencil, a thin coating of solder paste is applied evenly to the targeted areas.
Step 3: Putting the Pieces Together
The SMT machine inserts the components on the PCB after applying the solder paste. Then, using a pick-n-place robot, the LEDs on the reel are placed on the PCB in the exact position they were intended to be.
Before, this procedure was done manually, but there were problems with quality control. Thanks to the introduction of specialized equipment, it is now much easier to place components on SMT machines.
Step 4. Reflow soldering
It’s time to ensure the solder and components remain put on the PCB. Reflow Soldering is the method used to accomplish this.
A conveyer belt moves the PCB board and its glued components. Next, the board is transported to the reflow oven via this conveyor belt. This oven resembles a pizza oven in appearance. Heaters steadily raise the temperature of the PCB until it reaches 250 degrees Celsius (480 degrees Fahrenheit).
The solders in the solder paste begin to melt at this temperature. Once the PCBs have melted, a conveyer belt carries the PCBs through the oven to a cooling system. The solder resolidifies as the temperature gradually lowers. This procedure permanently attaches the LED components to the PCB.
It’s time to assess our LED strip lights. First, each strip is put through a series of tests to ensure that the brightness, color, and other characteristics are properly specified.
Step 5: The Welding Process
The LED light strips exit the reflow and are then joined together using a welding process. To maintain the quality of the LED light strips, reputable LED producers must also invest in welding robots, which can be used to join strips of any length together.
Further testing must be done after welding them together to ensure that the LED strip lights perform as promised. A successful lighting test reveals that there are no weak connections in the strips. Further optical and electrical testing is performed to verify that the LED light strips meet the necessary standards.
Step 6. Waterproofing and Aging
LED light strips are subjected to an aging process to ensure that the welded strips are working correctly. Then, they run for 12 hours straight to test if they operate without any problems. This test is performed to assess the LED strip lights’ quality and identify any potential issues.
Another method of extending the lifespan of LED light strips is to have them waterproofed. The LED strip must be coated with silicone, plastic, or both. Again, you have the option of using a machine or doing it by hand. A surface inspection is then carried out to assess the LED light strip’s quality and function level.
Step 7. Tape Pasting and Packaging
Apply 3M adhesive to their backs of the LED light strips in order to secure them. Because of this security and sturdiness, you can put the LED light strips just about anywhere you choose. All surfaces are adhered to using 3M tape. After the adhesive is applied, the LED light strips are ready to be packaged and shipped to you for use!
LED Strip Light Quality: A Look at the Factors at Play
A LED light strip’s quality determines its usefulness. The issue is that until you start using a ribbon, you have no idea how good it is. As a result, as you shop for LED strip lights it is critical that you only buy LED lights from a reputable LED strip supplier. LED light strips’ quality can be affected by a variety of circumstances.
PCB Copper Wire Quality
In the PCB board, copper wires are utilized to ensure a constant electricity supply to all the attached components. Therefore, the performance of the LED strip lights might be affected by the quality of the copper wire used.
A copper wire that’s too thin can prevent electricity from flowing through it, resulting in a Voltage Drop in your LED strip lights. Likewise, poor-quality copper can adversely affect LED strips, which can impede the passage of electricity.
Quality of the Phosphor
LEDs employ phosphor to enhance the light’s fluorescence. This is needed to produce brilliant, pure white light. LED lights might appear dim if the phosphor is of low quality. The color’s purity may suffer as a result.
When using phosphor, it’s crucial to keep in mind that it degrades through time and use. However, you can keep your LED strip lights shining brilliantly for years using high-quality phosphor.
Assembling and Arranging Components
Ensure that all the LED components on the PCB are positioned correctly. It will not operate if the LED strip does not have power. As a result, choosing and arranging robots with the proper gadgets is critical in a factory setting.
It’s another mistake to put LEDs of different sizes on the same strip. Reduced strip efficiency and accelerated phosphor degradation are also costly consequences. On the other hand, several LEDs in a single LED strip can make it look brighter at a lower cost. These LED light strips have a shorter lifespan, though, and are thus more expensive in the long run.
Quality of Components
LED light strips can be made or broken by the quality of their components. LED strips with high-quality LEDs, resistors, and PCBs set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. As a result, they’re better at what they do, and they last longer.
It is more common for LEDs of a lower grade to exhibit color inconsistency and burn out sooner. In addition, LED strip lights may overheat due to faulty resistors and PCBs that alter the flow of electricity.
LED strip lights are a simple and cost-effective way to achieve bright, decorative lighting effects while meeting a variety of lighting needs. We hope this post has answered your questions on how LED strip lights are made!