Until 40 years ago, through-hole mounting was the dominant method for placing electronic components on printed circuit board assemblies. For years, this method was used to place virtually all components in the time period from the 1950’s until surface mount technology became popular in the 1980’s.
Engineers encounter innumerable variables when designing a printed circuit board, especially when you consider that even though a printed circuit board may function properly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be manufactured in a way that maximizes quality and reduces cost. Completing a PCB design is a struggle between different constraints which encompass time, budget, and functionality, with manufacturability often seen as an afterthought. However, if engineers involved their manufacturing team and considered a comprehensive design for manufacturing review, many common problems could be avoided. In addition to increased manufacturability, engineers can benefit from reduced cost and time to market.
As a contract manufacturer, we repeatedly see the same mistakes regarding design for manufacturing. These hold back projects and create additional design costs and delay timelines. We’ve compiled a list of the top 15 “gotchas” for PCB design to make sure your board is set up for success when it’s time to transition to manufacturing. This is not a completely comprehensive list, but we always tell prospective customers that if these rules are followed, about 80% of DFM mistakes can be avoided.
This list is based from over thirty years of experience and it’s our hope that they can help you see success with your next project.
The decision to include electronics components and other items involved in electronics manufacturing in the list of products subjected to the new 25% tariff on Chinese imports has left manufacturers looking for ways to explain how these actions will both impact production and how customers can mitigate some of the effects.With global supply chains becoming the norm over the past few decades, final product assemblies include labor and parts that oftentimes span the globe. While VR Industries labor is all performed at our facility in Warwick, RI, components and materials are sourced from several distributors - both domestic and international. As a result, decisions that impact our supply chain will ultimately affect our customers. This is being witnessed across US manufacturers in industries that deal with products impacted by the tariffs.
The U.S. manufacturing index hit its highest mark in almost three years this past June, driven by increased production demand. As contract manufacturers continue to see an increase in orders, OEM’s are experiencing the benefits of working with a domestic manufacturing partner.
We’ve helped some of our customers readjust to domestic production and transition back to working with a local partner. We call this our “On-Shoring” model.
While there are numerous benefits to On-Shoring, here are a few of most prominent ones:
Design for Manufacturing is a critical step in any PCBA or Electromechanical project. Outcomes vary depending on the complexity of the build but often times our customers experience increases in quality yields and component cost savings. To understand how customers, realize these benefits it’s important to understand what DFM is and how we conduct it here at VR Industries.
It is only a matter of years before flexible health care technology saturates modern medicine. As paper record keeping gives way to electronic information management systems built on a network of connected assets, patients stand to gain truly "round-the-clock" care from their medical providers in the form of wearable sensors made from rigid-flex and flexible printed circuit boards.
One weak link in a supply chain can cripple business, regardless of industry, products or economic standing. Yesterday's successes are no guarantee for tomorrow, so original equipment manufacturers must put in the time to ensure hangups between them and their suppliers are dealt with quickly and completely before they upend operations.
Money isn't everything in PCB production and assembly, but you wouldn't know it looking at the behavior of many electronics manufacturers. Although large-scale production can somewhat escape blame due to the sheer size of their orders, small-to-medium-sized demands from startups and SMBs regularly turn down reasonably priced box builds for the cheapest option around.
Manufacturers hoping to court military and defense decision-makers ought to tailor their products around what the armed forces hopes for the future. After all, the customer's always right - especially when the customer wears fatigues.
The fourth industrial revolution is coming - will electronics manufacturers be ready?