SMT007 Magazine

SMT-May2014

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48 SMT Magazine • May 2014 tive/transportation, consumer electronics, and industrial. With China remaining a lower-cost labor force, other concerns include labor law compliance and product quality. Again, elec- tronics companies who design and manufacture products will need to determine best practices to survive during these turbulent times since the PCB industry appears to be on an upward path. As the general manager for the PCB manufacturing and as- sembly software division of a leading electronic design au- tomation company, I need to know what I can do to posi- tively affect our customers. Our customers tell me that they are challenged with in- creasing costs of raw materi- als, regulatory requirements, quality standards, resource management including labor, warehousing, and competi- tive threats that impact their bottom line. Since I am in- volved in the technology sec- tor, the software products we develop need to address all of these issues and it starts with the importance of PCB design through the manufacturing and assembly process. To remain competitive, cus- tomers who succeed in today's market realize the importance of adopt- ing new methodologies that streamline their processes, automating manual tasks while pro- viding high visibility of their resources, from materials management, inventory, and work- flow to IT support and reporting. This is no easy task, and few software vendors can provide this level of detail, particularly with remote sites and the technical barriers between the worlds of PCB design and manufacturing. It's imperative to consider adopting new technologies that can bridge the gap between PCB design and manufacturing. I believe that one of these bridge solutions is the ODB++ in- telligent data format, which our company es- tablished. Viasystems Group Inc., PCB manu- facturer with 14,000 employees worldwide, uses ODB++. Kent Balius, Viasystems' vice president of global front-end engineering said that stan- dard Gerber files require one to two hours just to import, analyze and prepare data for produc- tion CAM tooling, whereas ODB++ provides in- telligent data which can help drive automation and reductions in operator interactions. Another consideration for today's manufacturing executive is to look at a seamless methodolo- gy where PCB design is tightly integrated with the manufac- turing side of things. Since Valor was acquired by Men- tor Graphics three year ago, our engineering teams have worked together to provide an intuitive approach that enables design and manu- facturing teams to optimize their engineering processes bi-directionally between PCB designers, partners, systems manufacturers and the prod- uct supply chain. The product development process needs to be a contin- uum supported with software that allows a feedback loop to previous steps for continu- ous improvement and quality. This is a key "best practice" that has been identified by leading electronics companies to achieve best- in-class status, according to Aberdeen Research. Moving DFM rules into the design process and using software tools to verify that those rules are followed means that manufacturabil- ity issues can be corrected before any physi- cal boards are made. This eliminates costly re-spins, saving a significant amount of time and cost, creating what we call the "Lean NPI Process." Transferring the resulting design data to the board fabricator sets in motion a seam- less connection between both disciplines. Once this product-level NPI stage is completed, the automated setup and optimization of the pro- duction line, the process-level NPI, can be per- formed in a mere fraction of the time otherwise vIeWPoInT PRoTECTING yoUR SUPPLy CHaIN FRom CoUNTERFEITS aND LIaBILITy continues Moving DFM rules into the design process and using software tools to verify that those rules are followed means that manufacturability issues can be corrected before any physical boards are made. This eliminates costly re-spins, saving a significant amount of time and cost, creating what we call the "Lean NPI Process." " "

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