Almost 20 years after I joined the magazines, the topic of design for manufacture is still a significant issue. Fabricators and assemblers are still talking about parts that are wrong, solder mask that is wrong, and just plain ol’ bad data. One example showed up in the last day or so on the blog page for our sister pub Circuits Assembly. It is a post about a problem with a component footprint. If designers don’t contribute to these type of posts the disconnect between design and assembly will continue to grow.
For years now we’ve been advocating closer links between design and manufacturing. We’ve held summits, we’ve published articles, sponsored shop visits and we’ve conducted too many classes on the subject to count. I know that a good number of designers have picked up a lot about DFM because I see posts here and there with Q&A on specific issues. So it’s not all bad.
And to tell the truth, there is a disconnect on both ends. Most people on the manufacturing side (assembly included) don’t really know what goes on in design and are often unaware of the constraints designers face. And as more and more of the volume runs are built in China/Southeast Asia, the opportunity for feedback is made even worse or nonexistent. Of course the bean counters didn’t think about that when they placed the order. It’s amazing what you can overlook when you’re operating in a vaccuum.