Top Ten Most Common Design for Manufacturing (DFM) | PCB Mistakes
- 1 Top Ten Most Common Design for Manufacturing (DFM) | PCB Mistakes
- 2 1: Leave enough edge clearance:
- 3 2: Check for Acid Traps:
- 4 3: Avoiding VIA in Pad:
- 5 4: Overcomplicating your Design:
- 6 5: Sending incomplete Pick and Place files:
- 7 6: Verify Your Layers:
- 8 7: Use a single tool size:
- 9 8: Putting silkscreen on Pads:
- 10 9: Not adding Solder Mask between Pads:
- 11 10: Wrong size or shape component footprints:
- 12 Do you Want Professional and Error Free PCB services?
Designing a PCB layout is one tough job | PCB Mistakes. There are so many components and so much that can go wrong and at the end of the day, your whole design could be a failure. Then you have the manufacturer to criticize every component of your design. From misaligned copper traces to the thickness of the board, everything must be correctly managed so the time you invest in designing your product doesn’t go to waste.
Now here we will mention DFM, abbreviated as Design for Manufacturing. In simple terms, your design must be free from these ten common mistakes that will potentially decrease the chances of error. At the end of the day not only will your design be successful, but your manufacturer will also be pleased.
1: Leave enough edge clearance:
One common mistake is not leaving enough edge clearance. As you know your circuit board is plated with copper and then coated with another layer of protective material. During the manufacturing process, the edges of the board can get cut off including the protective coating exposing the copper underneath to atmospheric corrosion. As a result, your circuit might corrode over time or even be prone to a short circuit.
To fix this common mistake, simply leave enough space between the copper and the edge of the circuit board. Leave a minimum of 0.010” inches for outer and 0.015” for inner layers. One easy way is to include these in your design rules check before your PCB layout | PCB Mistakes.
2: Check for Acid Traps:
Avoiding 90 degrees angles is one of the most basic design tips you are given. The reason why these angles are not used is that acid may collect in these 90 degrees corners leading to etching problems and other issues. Therefore 45-degree angles are preferred.
But PCB designers do not thoroughly check their design. Sometimes, the joining of two traces may lead to the unintentional formation of these angles leading to acid traps. Therefore, be sure to check your design for any of these angles being formed before your forward it to your manufacturer | PCB Mistakes.
3: Avoiding VIA in Pad:
Sometimes you might find yourself running out of board space and you’ll find yourself placing VIAs in pads. And VIAs in pads actually can be helpful in thermal management and be allowing closer placement of bypass capacitors. This may be useful when you hand-solder components but in automated designs during the soldering process, this may draw solder away from the pad and your component is not properly soldered.
Some designers, therefore, avoid this unless absolutely necessary. For example in micro VIAs, blind VIAs and buried VIAs. Another way is to plug and plate your VIA before soldering but it takes extra money.
4: Overcomplicating your Design:
Sometimes designers may have too many components on hand so they do a common mistake. They choose to place SMT on both sides of the assembly. This should also be avoided unless absolutely necessary. This goes for through-hole components too. This actually costs more as your board will have to be run again and again through the pick and place machine. Therefore take your time while designing your PCB layout and you can save a lot of money | PCB Mistakes.
5: Sending incomplete Pick and Place files:
Now, what is this “Pick and Place” file? This file includes the basic information as to where the machine must place the respective components. You are to send this file to your manufacturer with your layout designs. But remember to verify all this data and check whether you’ve sent all the required information. Imagine the horror your manufacturer might face when he receives components but no guide as to where these are to be placed. Here is some of the basic information you should be sure to send:
- Component Reference Designator
- Component Part Number
- Component Description
- Manufacturer Part Number
- Mid-Point X(mm)
- Mid-Point Y(mm)
- Orientation Angle
- PCB Layer Side
6: Verify Your Layers:
Before your design is ready for generating be sure to check if your board layers are correct or not. You can verify whether your layers matchup or not in this free third part Gerber viewer. If they don’t match up to be sure to make the required adjustments | PCB Mistakes.
7: Use a single tool size:
Another mistake that may lead to you spending unnecessary money is using multiple tool sizes. Imagine having to make half of your holes in one size and the half in another. This requires another set of tools which is unnecessary. Simply make all your holes and VIAs the same size instead of different sizes | PCB Mistakes.
8: Putting silkscreen on Pads:
This is a general rule you shouldn’t overlook if you don’t want to annoy your manufacturer. Keep a safe distance between your silkscreen and solder mask. You can keep a standard of 0.003” to be safe. This is because you may put silkscreen onto your pan which makes the soldering process more difficult. Also always remember to recheck your PCB layout | PCB Mistakes.
9: Not adding Solder Mask between Pads:
Another reason why your PCB might short circuit is that of the formation of solder bridges. One cause is not adding solder mask between pads which may lead to the formation of solder bridges. This is why you should properly see to the application of solder mask especially in the designs of larger boards. You should also be careful of applying solder mask in between tightly packed components.
10: Wrong size or shape component footprints:
Another thing you should be sure to check up on is whether your components actually fit the pads that have been designed on the PCB. These components are to be mentioned in your bill of materials (BoM). Make sure that all your components will fit, will they be too cramped, or too close to the edges. Look at every detail. IF you have the wrong sized footprint for the components, it is very likely the components won’t be properly soldered and may even break during assembly. Make sure to design them according to IPC standards.
Make sure to always check up on your PCB layouts and look up every detail. Take a Design for manufacturing approach to your design so your design can be risk-free.
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