We often use the term DFM/DFA verification when discussing the scope of development with our partners. Sometimes, our colleagues are not fully aware of the meaning of this quality control step. Therefore, we hereby provide a brief explanation of the abbreviations DFM (Design for Manufacturability) and DFA (Design for Assembly), along with an elaboration on why they are crucial.
Why are DFM and DFA analyses needed?
Different specific features of the technological processes for the production and assembly of printed circuit boards (PCBs) are often unknown or unintentionally ignored by the developer during the design stage. This occurs because CAD systems used for PCB design primarily focus on the basic design rules set by the designer. However, these systems do not encompass all the technological standards necessary for PCB production, and they do not ensure adherence to assembly criteria.
DFM/DFA analysis helps bridge the gap between PCB design and production by monitoring the critical constraints needed for subsequent technological steps, all while still working with the CAD version of the board.
How do DFM and DFA analyses work?
DFM and DFA analyses of a PCB can be performed within a specialized CAD system. This enables a comprehensive automated verification of the PCB design from the perspectives of production and assembly.
DFM involves identifying and resolving issues that are crucial for the manufacturability of a physical bare PCB or a complete PCBA, considering the capabilities of the PCB manufacturer.
DFA entails identifying and addressing issues that are critical for the assembly of the PCB physical layout before the prototyping stage.
Conducting DFM and DFA analyses at the final stage of product development offers solutions to various problems that can arise during the release of new products:
- Reduces the number of iterations required during product development.
- Shortens the time it takes to bring the product to the market.
- Lowers the percentage of defects in PCB manufacture and assembly, resulting in improved yield.
- Enhances the device’s reliability and extends its operational lifespan.
- Leads to cost savings for the company launching the product.
We strongly advise product companies to integrate DFM/DFA into their R&D processes and engage with PCB production companies for constraint negotiation as early as possible. We perform DFM/DFA analyses on 100% of our released boards; how about your PCBs?