Design for Manufacturability
Design for manufacturability (DFM) is the process of designing your product so that it can easily and quickly be produced. (Getting your new product to market before your competition does is always good.) The fewer steps in the electronics manufacturing process means less time between ordering and receiving your product.
Steps In Manufacturing
So, what is a step in electronics manufacturing? A step is each time a product has to be handled, moved, turned over, placed in a fixture or machine. By using DFM, you can minimize the amount of steps needed to produce your product.
DFM can often be missed or not applied in the design stage of products because many times the primary goal is how your product functions, not how it will be produced. Sometimes it can be more exciting to add "bells and whistles" than to think about designing for ease of manufacturing.
RBB's Design for Manufacturability Recommendations:
1. The PCB Bare Board:
- If possible, make the shape of the board a Rectangle or Square. Odd shaped boards will cost more and take more steps to produce.
- Minimize the number of different components. (Use the same value of Cap or Resistor wherever you can.)
- Choose components that are available without long lead times or that are not hard to find.
- Choose active components. Obsolete components will cost more and availability cannot be predicted.
- Choose components that can have more than one manufacturing source and include them in your Bill of Material.
- Minimize components that cannot be washed after soldering. (Non-sealed components that cannot get wet). This will reduce the need for manual soldering and cleaning.
3. Layout of the Circuit Board:
- If possible keep components at least 3.8 mm away from edge of the board.
- The edge of the board is needed to hold and move the board through all process equipment.
- Components too close will have to be placed later by hand and increase labor cost.
- Keep all components to the top side of the board. A board with components on both sides means it has to go through the process twice. (Increasing handling and labor cost).
- Components with polarity should be marked clearly on the Silkscreen.
Bottom line: the labor to build your product is a non-value added cost that can be reduced by using Design for Manufacturability in the design and prototype stages of your product. These are just a few recommendation for DFM, if I can help guide you through the process please contact RBB. You can also check out our different engineering support recommendations and services here.
Does your company use DFM? How has your electronics manufacturing business addressed manufacturability on new products for quality and cost issues? Let me know below!
For over 30 years, Steve has been a part of the RBB family in positions ranging from Service Manager, Testing Manager, Quality Manager and various engineering roles. Steve also enjoys problem solving, traveling, farming, amateur radio, collecting antique radios and leisurely walks to the refrigerator.