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Years of Business

Design for Manufacturing

Design for Manufacturing

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are an integral part of many industrial equipment and machines. Thus, the design and manufacturing of these PCBs need extreme consideration. For this to happen, both the manufacturers and clients need to hold discussions to understand the manufacturing requirements and accordingly decide the PCB materials and design. At Suntronic, we focus on Design for Manufacturing (DFM), which allows us to address requirements of PCB design, manufacturing, and assembly and mitigate challenges that may arise during each of these phases when creating a functional device. Our design for manufacturing allows us to improve manufacturability, reduce overhead costs, accelerate production times, and improve work efficiency.

An Overview of Design for Manufacturing PCB Process

The DFM process for PCB manufacturing generally encompasses the following steps:   

  • Preparation of Specification Documents: A specification document for each phase of product manufacturing is prepared. Generally, specification documents are prepared based on the requirements shared by clients.
  • Preparation of DFM Checklists: The checklists are prepared in accordance with the specification documents. These checklists may include the following information and more:
    • Product information and data including PCB diagrams, schematic diagrams, CAD structure files, and assembly diagrams
    • PCB dimension and layout
    • Suggestions on the choice of general manufacturing processes such as manual welding, wave soldering, SMT, and so on are made
    • Recommendations on the design of pads, types of components to be used, and through-holes on the board
    • Design for through-holes, process edges, and datum points for production
  • DFM Check Reports: Our experts perform a comprehensive analysis of specification documents and DFM checklists and provide DFM check reports. These reports generally comprise questions that need to be addressed before the production. It may also include suggestions on areas of improvement. These reports help us meet the highest quality standards for all orders and have helped us strengthen our relationships with our clients.

Important Design for Manufacturing Questions Answered

  1. Why is design for manufacturing of printed circuit boards important?

The following pointers regarding PCB design for manufacturing and assembly will help you understand its importance.  

  • It helps reduce manufacturing costs and improve the competitiveness of the product.
  • It is conducive to the standardization of production processes.
  • It helps automate production processes and improve manufacturing efficiency.
  • DFM forms the basis of new product manufacturing and testing.
  • It helps mitigate challenges and meet the requirements of PCB manufacturing and assembly techniques.
  1. What design mistakes can be identified and avoided by employing DFM?

A wide range of design mistakes can be easily avoided by employing DFM and the following are a few common ones among them.

  • Acid traps: This is a common issue in PCB designs. It is introduced if there is a copper feature that bends below 90 degrees and gaps are formed. Generally, the PCB is washed using acid, and some residual acid may get trapped in these gaps. These traps will not clear away by themselves and will cause copper erosion over time. This leads to lost or open connections. To avoid this possibility, our experts always recommend designing traces at 45 degrees.
  • Edge Clearance: This is one of the common mistakes made by most PCB manufacturers. We always take care to ensure sufficient edge clearance in the PCB design. If not, the copper that lies at the edge of PCB may corrode as it has no protective coating. Due to small edge clearance, the coating may come off in the final cut.
  • Copper or Solder Mask Slivers on Planes: Slivers are tiny free-floating wedges of solder mask or copper traces that deposit on the plane. These tiny wedges sometimes redeposit on other copper traces and produce shorts. Wedges that are slightly large in size form an antenna, which creates noise or other electromagnetic interferences. To avoid this, our experts recommend creating copper features that measure 0.004 inches.
  • Starved Thermals: They are copper spokes found in a thermal relief pad. These spokes help connect to the plane electrically. These thermals enable effective heat dispersion during the process of soldering. In many cases, voids that are present between the plane and the thermal can lead to a distorted connection. This distorted connection minimizes the heat transfer capability of the thermal relief pad. The thermals which are affected by voids are known as starved thermals.
  1. What are some design considerations made by your experts for DFM?

When creating DFM, our experts make the following design considerations:

  • Hostile environments
  • Water resistance
  • Electromagnetic interferences
  • Structural and spatial awareness
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Setups on which the PCB will be mounted

Suntronic offers design for manufacturing printed circuit boards that exceed the expectations of our clients. If you have any questions about design for manufacturing and assembly capabilities of PCB, feel free to contact us today.