Bela | Blog | Understanding Design for Manufacturing (DFM) in PCB Assembly 

Understanding Design for Manufacturing (DFM) in PCB Assembly 

In order to implement maximum efficiency in Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Assembly, it’s important to optimise the design and manufacturing process to reduce cost, save time, and avoid discrepancies. Here’s where Design for Manufacturing (DFM) comes into play. It’s a pivotal process that ensures the seamless production of PCBs.  

As a market leader in electronics manufacturing, Bela Electronics specialises in prototyping, new product innovation, and PCB assembly. Over the years, we have developed an excellent reputation in designing, manufacturing and assembling PCBs, and still to do this day we continue to grow and innovate in the market.  

Read on as we dive deep into the importance of DFM, its key principles, and how Bela Electronics can help you in effectively implementing it. 

The Significance of Design for Manufacturing (DFM) 

The transition from a design blueprint to a functional, efficient product is a critical phase. This is where the concept of Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is highly significant. It is the process of designing a product in a manner that not only meets the intended purpose but also facilitates its smooth and cost-effective production. It considers every step of the manufacturing process, from the selection of materials to the assembly methodology to optimize resources and minimize potential issues. 

Through robust DFM principles, a company can significantly reduce production costs, enhance product quality, and accelerate time-to-market. It allows seamless collaboration between design and manufacturing teams to ensure that the final product aligns precisely with the initial vision. 

Furthermore, DFM plays a major role in avoiding potential design flaws or inefficiencies that may arise during production. By anticipating these issues, you can save both time and resources instead of rectifying post-production discrepancies. 

Key Principles of Design for Manufacturing in PCB Assembly

Effective DFM requires a comprehensive understanding of the key principles to implement the process.  

This section will investigate the five crucial aspects that shape efficient and effective production processes. 

1. Manufacturing Process 

It’s important to choose the right manufacturing process to use when producing a new product. When creating the process, consider factors such as: 

Remember that the chosen process must be the right one for your product so as to avoid costly expenses further down the production line.  

2. Product Design 

Consider examining the product’s design to see if the specs will suit the envisioned product, or whether there are any additional changes before starting the production. The main goal of this step is to prevent any possible design issues with the prior run and ensure that the production will be more efficient this time around. 

When revising an existing design, make sure that the modifications align with the key design principles. It’s crucial to discuss these decisions to the manufacturer to ensure the production corresponds with the manufacturing principles for the product at hand.

3. Product Material 

Selecting appropriate materials is critical in DFM. When deciding on your materials, consider different factors like strength, texture, and thermal properties required for the product. Keep in mind that these factors will also depend on the product’s shape, size, and intended use.  

Make sure to discuss these materials with the manufacturer to confirm if they meet the requirements for the production. These are critical factors that can make or break the product. 

4. Environment 

Examining the environments where the products will be used is significant in DFM. Once tested, it will determine whether your chosen process, design, and materials will suffice.  

If the product can’t function properly in the environment it is subjected to, then the product will not be of use because it failed to serve its purpose. 

5. Compliance/Testing 

The last aspect to be aware of is compliance/testing. It is done to validate if the design and materials for the product in question can fulfil the safety and quality standards of organizations that are expert in that matter.  

For example, a third-party ISO-certified testing facility can determine this and a neutral manufacturing analyst will oversee the testing. 

Optimising PCB Designs for Manufacturing Efficiency 

Efficiency in PCB assembly is the result of careful orchestration of design elements. This section explains the considerations that lead to optimised PCB designs for seamless manufacturing. 

1. Component Placement and Routing

Placing similar components streamlines routing and enhances the efficiency of PCB design. This practice is fundamental to the manufacturing process to ensure an error-free soldering process during assembly. 

2. Strategic Component Placement

Strategically positioning components, particularly on the solder side, avoids potential challenges behind plated through-hole components. This foresight is instrumental in preventing assembly hiccups. 

3. Organised SMD and TH Component Placement

Adhering to established SMD design principles, all Surface Mount Device (SMD) components are positioned on one side to expedite the assembly process. Concurrently, all through-hole (TH) components are placed on the top side to minimise assembly steps. 

4. Mixed-Technology Considerations

When integrating mixed-technology components, be mindful of potential additional assembly processes. This proactive approach ensures comprehensive and cost-effective PCB manufacturing. 

Collaborating with Bela for Effective DFM Implementation

The best way to effectively implement DFM in your business is by collaborating with an expert who understands the importance and need for proper and robust development testing. 

At Bela Electronics, we have a highly experienced team of engineers who operate the most advanced and modern automated equipment to ensure our PCB designs and our electronic development and testing are all done accurately, efficiently and to the very highest standard. 

By partnering with us, you can rest assured that your PCB design will be completed quickly and to an extremely high standard. This is backed by the exceptional level of detail our engineers have in their work, as well as the use of leading design software and advanced machinery.   

With us as your partner, you’re not just receiving a service; you’re embarking on a journey of innovation guided by experts who understand the intricate nuances of electronic development and testing.  

Our highly experienced team leverages cutting-edge technology and a meticulous approach to deliver PCB designs that meet the highest industry standards. And even if you are unsure of what your project requires, our experts can guide you in the right direction to ensure your project is a success, no matter what stage you may be at.  

Get in touch with Bela today for expert guidance on implementing an effective DFM strategy for your PCB assembly.