LED strip lights are gorgeous-looking light-emitting diodes in a flexible circuit board. These lights have an adhesive backing, making them easy to stick on different surfaces.
People also call LED strip lights tape lights and ribbon lights.
LED strip lights have gained a lot of popularity over the last decade. Folks use them in homes, offices, and for industrial purposes.
Nowadays, applications of LED strip lights are popular in beautifying highways and buildings. Individuals also use them as creative light for DIY projects.
There are several renowned led strip light manufacturers in the world making quality LED tapes. Do you know how they make these tiny lights?
Read this post to learn.
Production of an LED Strip Light
The LED strip light production process involves different steps. It is a drawn-out procedure from reel creation to solder paste printing to component placement to gluing.
At each step, it requires quality testing to ensure the quality of the product. Let us learn about these steps in detail one-by-one.
Before we move with the production process, let us get to know about the primary components of an LED strip light.
Components of an LED Strip Light
An LED strip light comprises several components. These include light-emitting diodes, flexible printed circuit boards, and resistors.
Most LED strip light manufacturers use Surface Mount Technology (SMT) to affix these components onto flexible printed circuit boards (FPCBs).
Step: 1 LED Production
The quality of an LED strip light is determined by the diodes it has. Some led tape light manufacturers outsource these diodes, while others make them themselves.
The process for making LEDs is as per below.
Attachment of Die
A strip light manufacturer begins the process with die attachment. They use colloid glue to bond the allocated
areas in the chip frame. It helps them create an electrical or thermal path for the subsequent wire bonding.
Forming Electrical Interconnection with Wire bonding
Next, an LED strip manufacturer uses bonding wire to form electrical connections between LED chips and frames. Most bonding wire contains 99.99% pure gold.
Dispensing of Phosphor Silicone
It is a crucial step in LED production. It involves adjusting the ratio of phosphors to achieve a perfect color temperature.
Most LED strip light manufacturers use blue light-emitting LED chips in their LEDs. They combine phosphors into them to give them a mixed white color.
Silica gel and phosphor powder are mixed and applied to the LED bracket surface to cover it.
LED chip Baking
After the dispensing process, LED lamps are baked to eliminate all the possible moisture from the phosphor powder.
Testing and Sorting
After baking, manufacturers place strip lights in vacuum bags. They also match colors to check the uniformity of the illumination.
After testing, they sort LEDs as per their light intensity, wavelength, voltage, chromaticity, and light intensity.
If you are a strip light supplier, ensure that the manufacturer follows strict quality and color consistency standards.
Learn if your strip lights meet the quality certifications for the countries you want to sell them in.
At Darkless, we conduct the testing of semi-finished products. At this stage, our engineers check the consistency of the color of LED strip lights.
They also look for empty soldering and short circuits. It helps them repair any possible issue before the time.
Taping and Packaging
Next, manufacturers detect and pack LEDs in tape before patching. Thereafter, circuit board placement is done with the help of SMT placement machines.
Once the taping is complete, LEDs are packed by the roll. This roll is placed into a sealed discharging aluminum foil bag.
2. Solder Paste Printing
After the LEDs’ production, it is time to prepare a printed circuit board (PCB) to affix LEDs on it. A solder paste stencil is used for this purpose.
Wherever LEDs need to be attached, the maker puts solder paste. The paste is applied with the help of a stencil printer. It spreads the solder paste across the stencil onto the PCB.
A mechanical fixture helps in holding PCB and stencil.
At Darkless, we have a dedicated quality analysis team that ensures that each point on the PCB sheet has an adequate amount of solder paste.
3. Placement of Components
First, the LED strip manufacturer places the printed circuit board into an SMT placement machine. It helps them place LEDs and resistors on the soldered points explained in the above step.
SMT machine is an advanced robotic device that puts and places components on the indented places
4. Reflow Soldering
It is a process to check if the solder and components are placed accurately on the PCB.
For the same, the manufacturer places the PCB board with the affixed components on a conveyor belt.
The belt takes the board to an oven featuring a series of heaters to heat the PCB board.
The process continues until the temperature reaches up to 250 degrees Celsius. It melts the inside solder paste. Upon melting, the conveyor belt carries the PCB through the oven having a series of coolers.
It hardens the soldering once again while bringing the temperature of the printed circuit board down.
Darkless engineers test each strip to make sure all the specifications are as per design.
5 Welding of LED Strip Segments
PCB sheets of 0.5m are soldered end-to-end to achieve a certain length. Most LED strip lights are 5 meters long.
Engineers attach one strip to another with the help of a robotic welding arm.
Nowadays, most LED strip light manufacturers have this advanced equipment in their strip light factories.
People who need a lengthy strip light (more than available in the market) can connect multiple LED strip lights.
They can cut the strip on marked lines and attach them using connectors.
Read our guide, Can I connect multiple LED strip lights for complete information.
It is necessary to do another quality test after connecting the strips. It helps the maker fix loose circuits.
Step 6 Waterproofing and Aging
After the welding, LED strip lights pass through an aging process that determines their performance.
Quality analysts switch on the lights for 12 hours to check if they are working fine. This process is known as the burn-in test.
After the aging process, strip lights get waterproofing that enhances their durability.
The process involves covering the strip lightly with plastic and silicone. It can either be done manually or with the help of a machine.
At Darkless LED, we provide waterproof LED strips. For the aging test, we have a dedicated aging test room.
If you are an LED strip supplier, choose LED strip lights based on their dustproof and waterproof grades.
LED strip lights are available from IP 20 up to IP 68 grades. They have different capabilities when it comes to withstanding water and dust.
You can learn about waterproof IP ratings in detail in our post.
Step 7: Tape Pasting
After conducting all the quality tests, LED strip lights are ready for tape pasting at their backs. Darkless uses 3M adhesive tape that has long-lasting bonds and strength.
The tape allows the user to affix strip lights to almost all surfaces. Learn where the LED strips are fixed.
Step 8: Packaging
Darkless follows international packaging norms for LED strip lights. The process goes through the following steps:
Our packaging staff carefully packs all the LED strips lights in cartons. They keep them in an antistatic bag. Cartons are given numbers to store them in the warehouse order-wise.
Filling in the Packaging information
Our staff fills in the packaging information on each box. Also, it sticks labels, such as color labeling.
An LED strip light supplier conducts OQC or Outgoing Quality control inspection. They inspect samples and determine if the batch should be accepted or returned.
9. Full Inspection
At last, our production team conducts the complete inspection of all LED strip lights. （Full inspection）After the SMT process, check if have problems,such as missing, wrong direction, loose etc.
The inspection goes through several steps. A few major steps are listed below.
This inspection process includes checking the size, color, and other aspects of LED strip lights. The production team also checks for damage to the packaging. It ensures that the anti-static bag meets customers’ requirements. Also, the production team finds out if product labels are correct.
Inspection of Packaging
Our team opens the anti-static bags to see if the 3M tapes are perfectly pasted. We also check if the packaging department has rolled the light strip accurately.
Testing of Strip Lights
We turn on the strip light and test it on high and low voltage. For example, a 12v light bar uses 7 to 8v light. We test it at a full 12v current to check the damage and leakage in the lamp bead. Similarly, we check the 24v light bar.
If any of the above-related conditions occur, we repair them on the spot. If it is a waterproof light bar, we re-dispense glue or replace the sleeve. After maintenance, we repeat the test until it meets the standard.
Sometimes, there is a problem with circuit boards, lamp beads, or glue. In that case, the team submits the abnormal quality document to the Quality department and the director of the production department to discuss countermeasures.
If there is no abnormality, we restore the product and carry out storage registration.
6 Things to Pay Attention When Manufacturing LED Strip Lights
An LED strip light manufacturer must pay attention to the following aspects to ensure the quality of LED strip lights.
- A manufacturer must invest in a high-quality FPCB having a double-layer copper. It ensures the smooth passage of current.
- LED chips must have premium quality die bond materials, thermal pads, and gold bond wires.
- Resistors and other components should be from a reputable brand. This can directly affect the life of strip lights.
- The QA team must test all the components for durability and safety.
- The manufacturer should use only 3M brand tape that can stick to any surface.
- The engineer needs to place and solder all components carefully to the PCB.
So this is a comprehensive LED strip light production process. If you want to buy a high-quality LED strip light, contact Darkless.