Regular consultation with component suppliers, printed circuit board (PCB) fabricators and assemblers is essential to reducing manufacturing and assembly costs.
For electrical and electronic product design, you should start with component specification as this has a knock-on effect on other production issues.
The packaging of components has a major impact on the design of PCBs and how easy they are to assemble. Some components are available with a range of packaging options.
Design rules for PCBs
Once the component specification has been agreed, you should use the design rules provided by fabricators and assemblers to guide the PCB design. Maximising hole sizes, making tracks and gaps bigger and reducing the number of layers will optimise yield and reduce cost at the fabricator and assembler.
Your designer should agree the testing process to be used with the assembly house and design the PCB to allow simple, quick and effective testing.
DFM checking is a common practice to ensure well-manufactured design geometries. There are considerable benefits from carrying out DFM checking at the design stage, such as fewer revision spins and faster time to market, as well as reduced fabrication and assembly costs.
The design software currently used by designers checks the electronic functionality of the PCB design, but may not include DFM checking. In this case, designers should consider investing in DFM software.
Although the software is supplied with a generic set of fabrication and assembly design rules, you should advise designers to customise the software with the design rules for their individual fabricators and assemblers.