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May 2014 • The PCB Design Magazine 19 had missed a key issue in one order, where a whole new set of testing procedures were re- quired, at great expense, which had only been recognized after the contract had been signed. A second issue closely followed where materials had been placed incorrectly. There had been a mistake in the engineering checks, which had resulted in products that appeared to work cor- rectly, and even passed testing, but in the mar- ket they would fail to work in many customer use-cases. The decision to take control of the engineering data, to increase the ability of the engineering team to spot issues, and give them time to completely analyse the product and eliminate the guesswork was clearly needed if the company was going to expand successfully. Adoption of Lean NPI tools could make that happen. The Lean NPI Flow Designers at ABC Electronics are now work- ing with the Lean NPI flow tools. They can now see opportunities to improve the design based on DFM rules created by manufacturing. From within their design tool, without any knowl- edge of manufacturing, designers can now be confident that there will be very few if any is- sues for manufacturing. A few extra mouse clicks have replaced seemingly endless com- plaints, call-backs, and design re-spins requests. Designers now can quickly move on to the next design and easily hit the time goals expected of them. The manufacturing teams for PCB fabrica- tion and assembly each receive from design a single ODB++ file that contains all of the infor- mation needed for manufacturing the qualified product model. Feeding just this file into In- CAM fabrication tools allows immediate setup production. For assembly, multiple production configurations can be created, giving choices to the planning team to optimize the factory efficiency. Programs, data, and documentation sent to the machines and processes are created based on simulation of the operation, virtually reducing the line trial and error down-time. The data for the machines is complete and fully detailed, including parts libraries in native ma- THE LEAN NPI FLOW continues feature Figure 2: The lean nPi flow using the latest DFM software tools.

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