Are you looking for DFM software in the design and manufacturing process? With this article, you will find out which is the best DFM software for your project.
PCB Design For Manufacturing (DFM) is an engineering process that allows engineers to create a PCB to meet the demands of the product. The Design DFM software provides a clear and concise set of guidelines by which designers can create their PCB designs. A DFM analysis is essential to verify whether the design meets the requirements.
Understanding Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and its benefits are crucial for PCB designers. First, learn why DFM is important, how to achieve good DFM, and how it translates into the PCB layout. Hopefully, this information will be helpful to you as you develop your next project. Also, read our article on the importance of PCB design tools. Finally, here are some reasons you should use DFM in your PCB design.
What design for manufacturing means and the benefits
While the final cost of a product is ultimately determined by capital costs and overhead, up to 80% of the final cost is dependent on its design. Therefore, reducing the cost of a product before it leaves the factory floor is critical for ensuring a final competitive product. Such is the objective of PCB DFM and assembly, a formal approach to cost analysis.
When designing PCBs, we aim to design a PCB that will be as small and light as possible. This is because we want to reduce the size to cut material costs. Still, we also need to ensure that the PCB will look aesthetically pleasing and does not lose any functionality or, worse, has reduced functionality because of size constraints. The aim is not only to save the increasing cost but to ensure that the end product remains aesthetically pleasing.
DFM is a process that simplifies manufacturing processes and produces a better product with less cost. Ideally, DFM should be applied early in the development cycle and involve the entire product development team, including hardware designers. However, implementing DFM at the end of a product development cycle can lead to a lot of added weight, cost, and complications. Instead, we can easily incorporate it into a PCB design and manufacturing process.
By considering the end product’s needs, a circuit board design can benefit from the streamlined manufacturing process. Ideally, engineers design PCBs to reduce component mounting errors. For example, the assembly process will be slow if the components are difficult to access. Similarly, if a component is difficult to assemble, it may need to be replaced. Designing for accessibility reduces production costs and increases throughput.
While the benefits of PCB DFM are obvious, the benefits outweigh costs. Using CM equipment and processes that you can easily modify according to manufacturing needs will be significantly reduced, while reducing production costs and turnaround time. Moreover, the benefits of using product design for manufacturing include lower cost, improved quality, quicker bring up, and reduced turnaround. This way, a product can be more reliable and less costly.
The Design Flow
The design flow has three main phases; requirements gathering phase, schematic phase and layout phase. The requirements gathering phase mainly gathers the information required to design the PCB. You must gather and verify all components you will use on the PCB. The schematic phase completes first before moving onto the layout so that engineers get a good idea of how much space will be required for each part of the equipment, such as resistors, capacitors and even ICs if they are complex (due to pin count). You can check and verify DFM PCB guidelines during the schematic phase.
Online DFM guideline verification should not be limited to just checking that all the components fit onto one PCB, but more importantly, ensuring that the design is a good design, which will be stable, reliable and trouble-free. There are several DFM checks to carry out during this design phase which will help ensure a good PCB design.
Prototyping enables designers to test multiple prototypes of a design and identify flaws in the design. The accuracy of the prototypes allows them to minimize design costs and shorten the time for the production process. Further, a PCB with proper DFM will be easier to manufacture. With the new technologies, it has become easier to design and manufacture a prototype than a design that does not meet the DFM criteria.
Why is DFM important in PCB Design?
What is DFM? The term refers to a series of design processes. Some like to divide it into two areas, design for fabrication and design for assembly. But it encompasses all of these. Following DFM PCB guidelines can help you avoid reworks and accelerate the manufacturing process.
In the past, PCB clearance rules were straightforward. Today, different components and areas of the board require different clearance rules. In addition, different manufacturing techniques also require different DFM rules. Keeping track of these rules is a daunting task for designers. Not to mention that most PCB design tools don’t have the necessary features to keep track of these rules. But a few things can make DFM a crucial part of your PCB design process.
The Importance of DFM
First, DFM allows you to eliminate PCB design errors. For example, a common mistake is not allowing enough clearance at the edge of the PCB. If this occurs, the copper on the board may corrode without a protective coating. You may also have to revalidate functionality and make substantial changes to the layout. That’s why PCB designers must learn about the DFM checklist before diving into the design process.
DFM helps manufacturers to incorporate components previously targeting larger boards into smaller boards. It can be a complex task that can end up with edge clearance issues and acid traps. With the help of DFM, you can keep your design specs in a functional layout. The final product will be much more reliable and efficient. The DFM process will reduce manufacturing costs while improving your competitiveness. And it’s an integral part of new product manufacturing.
DFM allows manufacturers to eliminate costly production halts and wasted runs. It also helps them avoid producing faulty products, which can lead to multiple lawsuits, customer complaints, and negative publicity. It also identifies alternate methods to manufacture unique measurements that are difficult to achieve with the conventional industrial arsenal. As a result, you’ll also have better product quality and less waste since DFM will ensure you don’t end up with a defective product that doesn’t work.
How PCB Design Tools Help Achieve Good DFM
When it comes to PCB design, the use of DFM and good routing is essential for successful manufacturing. DFM means that the board meets all of the needs of its manufacturer. To achieve this, designers should follow the DFM guidelines for their industry. Cadence’s Allegro PCB Designer has these tools and is an excellent choice for DFM.
The schematic is an important part of the overall design. It is a blueprint of a board that describes its components. PCB design software like Quadcept allows you to create schematics and Bill of Materials (BOM) directly from the tool. In addition, a Community Version of this tool is available free of charge. To create a schematic, you need to know the components and their values.
Good design begins with the proper board layer stackup configuration. Design engineers have spent their careers balancing the needs of circuitry with the requirements of manufacturing. But getting stackup data into your design is a difficult task. To overcome this challenge, designers must utilize PCB design tools that help them incorporate this data into their PCB layout. These tools can help you achieve a better design for manufacturing.
The Design Tools
When it comes to PCB design tools, one of the best options is FreePCB, a free open source editor that allows users to create and modify PCBs with ease. It is easy to use, has a rich library of components, and is capable of professional-quality work. Another option is Eagle, a powerful professional package that combines schematic entry and PCB layout in a single program.
Another option is EasyEDA. This PCB design software is easy to use and supports Excel and Gerber files. In addition, this software is compatible with Microsoft Windows OS.
When creating PCB designs, it is important to remember that it starts with the customer’s needs. Then, the electronics engineer must translate the customer’s needs into the language of electronic logic. Only after that can they design the PCB to meet the customer’s needs. Hence, it is essential to achieve good design for manufacturing.
The DFM Rules and Reflow Soldering
What are the rules for Reflow Soldering? First, let’s look at some of the key points about DFM and the tool you need. Ultimately, the best way to design your PCBs for Reflow Soldering is to start with the components you plan to connect and then work backward from there. Whether you make PCBs using the DFM technique or a different technique, there are still important design considerations you need to consider before you start reflowing.
What is the DFM tool?
Previously, PCB clearance rules were easy to define. Now, DFM rules differ depending on component placement, area of the board, and manufacturing technique. These multiple rules are difficult to follow and keep straight, especially when you haven’t set up most PCB design tools to monitor them. Luckily, there is a solution: Allegro PCB Designer. Allegro can monitor silkscreen placement and other conditions that can affect board layout. Unfortunately, it can also generate Gerber files.
The first step is choosing the correct board layer stackup configuration. This process balances circuitry needs with manufacturing requirements. Designers have spent decades perfecting stackup configurations, but finding the right one is not easy. But the good news is that today’s DFM rules make the process much easier! DFM is the latest trend in PCB manufacturing.
The DFM check is an important step before the PCB manufacturing processes because design discrepancies can cause problems in assembly. For example, a poorly designed connector could lift a component off the board during assembly. DFM checks will catch these design issues before the boards hit the fabrication line. By identifying design discrepancies early, the PCBs can be manufactured and tested with maximum quality. Consider conducting DFM checks if you want to speed up the PCB manufacturing process.
DFM tools are increasingly available on the market, so it’s important to use them properly. Using a DFM analysis software will help you determine which layers of your PCB have manufacturing issues, and can save you time and money. A DFM checklist can also verify that you can manufacture the electrical design in high volumes. The RayMing DFM checklist system offers five aspects for PCB quality: single layer, multiple layers, silkscreen, drill, and ground/power.
Solder bridges and Annular Rings
A solder bridge or an annular ring occurs between two adjacent contacts during the reflow soldering process. A solder bridge may result if the pins are close together or when a large hole or surface pad exists between adjacent pins. The two factors increase the likelihood of a bridge. To prevent bridges, the soldering process should follow a specific direction.
The wetting property of an alloy means that the metal must be within a eutectic temperature range to form a solder joint. We refer to such conditions as target conditions, while nonconforming conditions are termed defective.
How DFM Reports Translate Into PCB Layout
Understanding how DFM applies to printed circuit board design can help you improve your manufacturing procedures. This method considers factors that affect the manufacturing process, including component placement and soldering. This process includes general manufacturer specifications and specific requirements for a specific manufacturer. DFM is an important part of the design to manufacturing workflow and applies to key stages of the process. DFM involves different factors to ensure a high-quality, first-time PCB production.
DFM is also concerned with signal flow. Since all electrical components must fit through a connector, the physical layout must allow for adequate signal flow. Signal loops can cause EMI, and cross-conduction can produce unwanted effects. To prevent this problem, implement proper ground referencing and plain shielding to reduce noise generation. PCB blueprint services should be familiar with the IPC standards.
Where there are heat-sensitive areas on a PCB (hotspots), thermal management is important in ensuring that the components do not exceed their maximum allowed operating temperature. If the PCB components reach their maximum allowed operating temperature, these will be damaged or destroyed during the normal operation of the circuit, which may affect its operation. Therefore thermal management helps prevent damage and ensures no exceeding maximum operating temperatures.
Environment of use
While designing for manufacturing, engineers must consider the environment the product will occupy. It will influence the type of material used and the shape of the device. As a result, the design should be suitable for various environments, including a wide range of temperatures and climates.
Additionally, it must be adaptable for easy mounting in a variety of ways. Finally, it is not enough to think about the placement of the product, as it can impact the device’s ability to function.
The DFM process eliminates common mistakes when designing PCBs, such as not allowing enough edge clearance. Without proper edge clearance, the copper pad area can corrode. The final cut can also remove this protective coating. When this happens, the board may end up with DFM errors. In addition, it can cause problems during the manufacturing process. A good DFM procedure will ensure that your printed circuit board layout is ready to go to the manufacturing stage.