So you've finished designing your PCB and everything looks great. Your design passed all DRC/DFM Checks with flying colors, and the bare boards were easily fabricated. However, if those bare boards can't be assembled (i.e. successfully adding all components) - you've make a costly mistake!
Assembly mistakes are probably the most "expensive" errors when designing a PCB. These assembly mistakes are typically detected late in the "production process" (i.e receive a call from your assembly shop when the boards can't be assembled) and require either:
- A new revised design plus additional fabrication costs.
- Significant manual labor costs to force-fit components onto the existing board.
Some of the most common Assembly Mistakes Include:
Minimum Clearance between Component:
Limited clearances between other components can make assembly very difficult and costly; if not impossible. When your design is ready for production invalid spacing between components can be a critical mistake.
Detect Maximum Component Height:
Most assembled PCB's will eventually be placed into a fitted enclosure. Any components that exceed the maximum height requirements may prevent the assembled PCB from fitting inside its intended enclosure. This is a critical mistake which can require a complete redesign, refabrication, and reassembly.
Footprint to Pad Registration:
When component footprints from a PCB CAD library, do not align with the actual manufacturing data (i.e Gerbers, ODB++, IPC2581, etc.). In many cases, the designer has mistakenly chosen an outdated component or incorrect footprint. This mistake causes significant troubles in assembly including delays, component mismatch, and soldering issues (i.e. incorrect bonding between the lead and pad).
Other important Design for Assembly (DFA) checks include:
- Invalid Reference Designators
- Invalid Component Rotations
- Solder Bridging.
- And more.
Here's a tutorial movie showing FAB 3000 performing Assembly checks on a common PCB design (from an ODB++ file). Since the assembly mistakes are detected early, the designer can make any necessary corrections before sending out to Fabrication and Assembly. Saving Time, Money, and Reputation.
FAB 3000 (CAM Software)
FAB 3000 is a professional CAM software package targeted for anyone who would like to have "high-end" CAM software to run advanced DRC/DFM verification, generate component centroids, create SMT Stencil pads, Panelize PCBs, and perform many other useful features. Download Now
Get Numerical Cloud for only $75/month. Includes FAB 3000 (CAM Software), ACE 3000, and EasyGerb. Runs on up to 3 computers. Easily perform all Design Integrity Checks on your Gerber and ODB++ files. No contracts and cancel anytime.