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For the past five years I have spent the first several hours of each working day communicating with a wide variety of offshore manufacturers about customer PCB design issues. I must say, it has been an eye-opening experience. Not only have I learned a lot about PCB manufacturing capabilities and challenges around the world but also about the design for manufacturability (DFM) attitude and aptitude of a wide cross-section of North American PCB designers and design engineers.
I have been working for a Pacific Northwest electronic manufacturing services (EMS) provider since 2015. A critical part of the business is helping companies that seek to move their electronics products from working prototypes to offshore volume production, all to meet cost-down goals.
I have felt up to the task, as I’ve been on my own journey toward the optimum DFM process for decades. Allow me to share some of the valuable lessons learned—along with the horror stories and successes—that have helped me hone my DFM skill set over the years.
Captive Designers: Gambling With Zero DFM Review
Years ago, I designed PCBs for a Nevada gaming company. Part of my job as a captive PCB designer was to evaluate incoming “engineering queries” (EQs) about our PCB designs as they transitioned from our internal, low-volume assembly line operation to high-volume PCB manufacturers in Asia and for assembly in Mexico. As the only PCB designer in our company who had completed the IPC CID and CID+ programs, I considered myself a staunch advocate for DFM. I had learned of the importance of considering the needs of the other PCBA project stakeholders, and I took every opportunity to learn about their jobs and capabilities.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the May 2021 issue of Design007, click here.