We often use the term DFM/DFA verification while discussing with partners a development scope. Sometimes our colleagues are not fully aware of the meaning of this quality control step. Hereby we provide a short explanation of the meaning of the abbreviations DFM (Design for Manufacturability) and DFA (Design for Assembly) and elaborate on why they are so important.
Why are DFM and DFA analyses needed?
Different specific features of technological processes of production and assembly of printed circuit boards (PCBs) are often unknown or ignored by the developer at the design stage, mostly unintentionally. It happens because CAD systems used for the design of PCBs in automatic mode control only the basic design rules set by the designer. However, they do not include all the technological standards necessary for the production of PCBs and do not control the conformity of the design to the assembly criteria at all.
DFM/DFA analysis allows mitigating the gap between PCB design and production by controlling the constraints important for the further technological steps while still working with the CAD version of the board.
How do DFM and DFA analyses work?
DFM and DFA analyses of a PCB may be conducted in the specialized CAD system. It allows detailed automated verification of the PCB design from the point of view of production and assembly.
DFM is the process of finding and fixing the issues critical from the point of view of the manufacturability of a physical bare PCB or complete PCBA with regards to the PCB manufacturer’s capability.
DFA is the process of finding and fixing the issues critical for the assembly of the PCB physical layout prior to prototyping.
Conducting DFM and DFA analyses at the final stage of product development allows solving a number of problems arising from the release of new products:
- reduces the number of iterations in the development of the product
- reduces the timing of product release to the market
- decreases the percentage of defects in the manufacture and assembly of PCBs (yield improvement)
- increases the reliability of the device and its calendar life
- saves money of the company releasing the product
We recommend product companies to permanently keep DFM/DFA in the flow of R&D and involve PCB production companies in constraints negotiation as early as possible. We run DFM/DFA analysis with 100% of board released, how about your PCBs?