Design for manufacturing isn’t just about your design process, it is about being aware of what happens both before and after you complete your board layout, from the first component you place digitally to the last part a pick-and-place machine places physically on your PCB.
At its core, DFM is as much an art as it is a science, requiring engineers to be aware not only of their own cares and concerns in the design process but every stakeholder’s needs as well. If there is one thing for certain in the world of electronics design, it is that no one part of this process exists in isolation, and everything is connected.
While this guidebook is extensive in scope, it is just the tip of the iceberg for your journey into the world of DFM. Standards will continue to change, processes will continue to be refined, and manufacturing will continue to get more efficient, but the fundamentals will remain the same. To design a successful PCB right the first time, you need to look through a wider lens and see the design you produce in the digital domain as one small piece of a greater puzzle. Shipping off your design and documentation to manufacturing isn’t the end, but merely the beginning of a much larger ecosystem.
Having reached the end of this guidebook, you should have a new, well-rounded perspective on which to base your future design decisions. The first section looked at the intricacies of the typical PCB design process and outlined specific guidelines to help you create manufacturable boards better, faster, and more reliable than ever. This process has many overarching elements, from the materials you select for your layers, to strategizing the placement of your components and test points.
From there, you moved beyond the design process to documentation, exploring what makes up a complete set of documentation required by every manufacturer. It started with the basic components of a PCB template, and then dived into the finer details, covering how to assemble your master drawing and prepare your manufacturing files.
Regardless of where your interests lead you after completing this guidebook, it is our hope that you’ve walked away with a clearer understanding of how to accomplish the goals that were set out at the beginning:
Eliminate the need for multiple board respins due to manufacturing-specific details that were missed in a design process.
Design and produce boards that are both manufacturable and function as intended by following a set of best practices set forth by industry-leading manufacturers.
Reduce the time spent on design revisions and ultimately meet time to market goals consistently by following a set of design practices for board layout and documentation.