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26 SMT Magazine • April 2016 Process preparation as a whole is actually made up of numerous processes. This is the na- ture of electronics PCB assembly. Each is quite different, and within each process, there can be many variations depending on which vendor of surface mount technology (SMT) machines is used. In most companies today, the process preparation for each of these is done separately. In many cases, introducing a new product is like the Olympics but unlike the Olympics, in manufacturing it is not the first one past the post that is the winner, it is the last one to the post that defines the preparation time. Although the processes are all different, the baseline engi- neering data about the product is the same. So it's logical for the teams to work together on a single product data model. Different groups of people using different tools can severely limit the ability to collaborate. The end result is many people doing the same thing in slightly differ- ent ways in a parallel fashion, with the likeli- hood of getting slightly different results. However, using the Mentor Graphics Valor manufacturing management software suite, and in particular the Valor Process Preparation soft- ware, to perform all of these individual process preparation tasks based on a single common da- ta-set means that, instead of everyone taking in raw data about the product and processing it sep- arately, the data can be processed one time cor- rectly and then used across the various processes. This reduces engineering effort because the com- mon part of process preparation, the data prepa- ration, is done just one time instead of many. Creating a Data product Model for assembly The most important engineering work as part of process preparation is to create the sin- gle data model—data preparation. Best practic- es in the steps taken to prepare the data model reduce time and effort as well as eliminating potential mistakes. bEsT-PracTicE ProcEss PrEParaTion for Pcb assEmblY Figure 1: Complete process preparation covers layout, BoM, and schematic information.

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