Factors that influence a poka-yoke approach to PCBA design

Bringing a Poka Yoke Approach to Your PCB Design

Do you ever have those times when you are about to start a new circuit board design, yet something seems to hold you back? While you understand the performance objectives and the board’s application environment, you are trying to decide how to best design the PCBA so that your development process is optimized. The answer may be to adopt a poka-yoke design approach.

What Is a Poka-Yoke Approach?

With the incorporation of Industry 4.0, many technologies have found application in PCBA manufacturing facilities. These include additive processes like 3D printing, IoT, agile manufacturing, and robotics and cobots. The objective of these advanced technologies is to build circuit boards more efficiently. However, the most optimized PCBA development and production processes simultaneously maximize QC. And one of the most successful QC strategies is poka-yoke, which can be defined as follows.


Poka-yoke, or ポカヨーク, is a Japanese term that means avoiding mistakes. When applied to manufacturing, the concept is most often referred to as a mistake-proofing process to prevent errors or discover them early to minimize their effect.

Poka-yoke is most often utilized in lean manufacturing processes and can have the following benefits for PCBA manufacturing.

Benefits of Poka-Yoke

  • Increased productivity
  • Waste reduction
  • Faster training times
  • Safer work environment
  • Advancing a QC-based culture

The underlying principle of poka-yoke is to eliminate situations in which mistakes can occur, which is best accomplished by increasing automation and incorporating a software-based PCBA manufacturing system. However, the success of this approach depends on design decisions.

Using Poka-Yoke Design Principles for Optimal Board Builds

Minimizing the probability of errors or failure modes during your board build should not be a new goal. This is the aim of risk management for design and manufacturing, which is an essential aspect of QC. Similarly, poka-yoke is a risk management approach with advantages and disadvantages. However, by understanding how to apply a poka-yoke approach to your board’s manufacturing, you can make design decisions that support your CM’s implementation of this strategy.

How a Poka-Yoke Approach Is Implemented

  • Determine the process to be improved
  • Identify the current and potential errors or mistakes
  • Select the poka-yoke type
  • Control
    • A process mechanism that prevents mistakes from occurring or being performed.
  • Warning
    • An alarm to inform the operator that an error has occurred or is imminent without intervention.
  • Determine a detection method 
  • Test the method for effectiveness
  • Train the operator, if necessary

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The steps above are similar to those utilized to create risk management matrices for FMEA and other formal techniques. To assist your CM, institute a poka-yoke design approach that includes the following:

How to Incorporate a Poka-Yoke Design Approach

  • Optimize your component selection process
    Unavailable components due to supply chain disruptions or other factors present a common error that you can avoid. Optimize component selection by considering component lifecycles and by using reputable suppliers.
  • Base your design on board type
    Your PCB layout—including materials, stackup, trace routing and via usage—should be based on your board type. Additionally, minimize complexity and select the appropriate class for manufacturing.
  • Make good use of your CM’s DFM
    One of the best ways to introduce delay and error into your board build process is by failing to utilize the DFM rules and guidelines from the CM manufacturing your boards.
  • Ensure that your CM understands your design intent
    It is a good idea when making design decisions to leave non-critical selections to your CM. However, you should collaborate with your manufacturer to make sure that your design intent is incorporated throughout the process.
  • Work with a CM that shares your commitment to QC
    For the most efficient board builds, you and your CM should be equally committed to QC.
Tempo's Custom PCB Manufacturing Service
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600, and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Execute your full development cycle from proto to validation, NPI, and low volume production.
  • Accurate quote in less than a day.
  • Performs entire turnkey process in as fast as 4 days.
  • DFX support, including DFM, DFA, and DFT from Day 1 of design.
  • Sources components from the most reputable suppliers in the industry. to reduce procurement time.
  • Software-driven smart factory with monitoring and control throughout the manufacturing process.
  • Performs multiple automated inspections during PCB assembly to ensure PCB quality for prototyping.
  • Smooth transition from prototyping to production.

Tempo Automation, the industry leader for fast turnaround, high-quality PCBA prototyping and low-volume production, relies on a software-based digital thread manufacturing process that minimizes the probability of mistakes occurring that can threaten the efficiency of your board builds.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in other CAD formats and Excel.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on a poka-yoke approach for PCBA development, contact us.

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