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36 The PCB Magazine • March 2016 When I am asked how to improve yields or reduce cost with a printed circuit board de- sign, my mind immediately races ahead to the most common cost drivers. Has the part been designed with manufacturability in mind? Does the material selection make sense when balancing cost and performance? How many layers and lamination cycles are needed and could that number be reduced in any way? Has part size and panelization been considered? Are there any specific design features that push tra- ditional design rules? All of these things have a direct impact on the manufacturer's yield and the subsequent cost of the PCB. One question that is rarely asked however is this: How does a PCB sourcing strategy im- pact yields? I know yields are typically associat- ed with the manufacturer's process capabilities and process controls as related to the printed circuit board design, but let me pose a few ques- tions to help shed light on the impact that PCB sourcing can have on manufacturing yields and subsequent profitability. Have you ever wondered why it is so diffi- cult to find a fabricator that can meet ALL of your needs? Wouldn't it be great to find the perfect manufacturer, the one that has amazing service, does exactly what they say they are go- ing to do AND has competitive pricing (total value, not just board price) across all the vari- ous technology levels? The fact is, it is extremely rare for an OEM to have a homogeneous technology level across their entire PCB demand. On any given proj- ect, there may be a few 2–4 layer designs, a few 12-layer designs, a difficult motherboard design and maybe even a flex or rigid-flex design. It is also a fact that PCB fabricators have a sweet spot that best fits their equipment set, en- gineering expertise, facility size and company by Tara Dunn Omni PCB PCB Sourcing? One Size Does Not Fit All feature Column: flex talk

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