Insights that Echo Beyond the Echo Chamber


How Design For Manufacturability and Assembly Can Minimize Production Costs

Manufacturability and Assembly Can Minimize Production Costs

As PCB fabrication and assembly become more complex, the number of components and layers in a board will increase. A higher number of components will lead to more complexity and more assembly steps, which in turn will lead to increased production costs. However, design for manufacturability and assembly (DfM/DfA) can minimize these unforeseen production costs by addressing cost reduction at the design phase.

Expected turnaround time is a critical factor that impacts manufacturing costs. When a team is required to work in a tighter timeframe, the pressure to produce a high-quality product quickly increases the amount of money that needs to be allocated for purchasing, fabrication and assembly. Managing a budget and establishing clear deadlines early in the design process will help to manage these costs.

Material Type: The choice of material used for a PCB will have a direct impact on manufacturing and assembly costs. Different materials offer different levels of performance, which is reflected in the unit price. Some materials, such as polyimide, are more expensive than others. However, a thorough evaluation of the specific requirements of the product is necessary to determine the right material for the job.

Trace and Hole Size: One of the primary factors that drives pcb design and assembly and manufacturing costs is the amount of copper features (also known as traces) used on a board. The thickness and width of these features are key factors in determining the overall quality of a circuit board and its ability to perform as intended. As a general rule, it is best to adhere to fabricator trace and hole size limits when designing the layout of your PCB.

How Design For Manufacturability and Assembly Can Minimize Production Costs

SMT vs Through-Hole: The decision to use surface mount or through-hole technology for a PCB will have an immediate impact on production costs. SMT technology allows for a smaller footprint, which reduces the space needed on the board and lowers assembly costs. However, it is important to note that not all products require SMT technology. For those that do, it is important to carefully examine each component and ensure that it can be manufactured using SMT technology. If a component cannot be accommodated using SMT, there is no point in trying to force the component into an unintended production method.

Compliance and Standards: Maintaining standards and certifications in the manufacturing process is an ongoing cost that can add to a final product’s cost. For example, applying a conformal coating requires an additional production step that will typically increase assembly and shipping costs. Likewise, adding testing such as ICT, flying probe or AOI will drive up the cost of a finished product.

Ultimately, the most effective way to lower a finished product’s cost is by lowering its assembly and fabrication costs. By taking a disciplined approach to PCB design, assembly and testability, designers can eliminate costly production steps, which will lead to lower production costs. The next article in this series will look at how a simple change in design can have a significant impact on assembly and testability costs.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *