How Universal Data Access Improves the PCBA Development Process

If you have ever commuted anywhere, then you have experienced the advantages of one-way traffic. By eliminating oncoming and cross traffic, drivers can go faster without sacrificing safety. For traveling between and around cities and towns, these advantages far outweigh any disadvantages. However, when trying to get around in town, one-way traffic can seem like more of a handicap. Accessing a location on the other side of the road is difficult, and turning to go in the opposite direction is almost impossible. Perhaps, one-way traffic in town is not such a smart idea.

The limitation of one-way communication can also be a disadvantage during PCBA development. Having to ask a question or for clarification on a design specification and then having to wait on a response unnecessarily slows down the process. This is especially true when minor adjustments are required. Either the contract manufacturer (CM) can perform the change leaving the developer in the dark or halt manufacturing while awaiting a reply from the developer who is likely engaged in other important work.

A smarter solution may be providing both the developer and CM with continuous access to all data related to the design and its manufacture. Let’s see how an intelligent universal data access approach may alleviate the propensity for unawareness of design intent and/or manufacturing requirements and improve the PCBA development process.

What Does Universal Data Access Mean?

Let’s say you just arrived at the hotel that is simultaneously hosting business symposiums for several industries, including the one you are attending the next day. After settling in, you wander down to the lounge for a meet and greet with owners, C-suite executives, engineering managers, and other attendees. During the conversation, someone asks, “What is universal data access?” The quick response is that universal data access or UDA refers to the Microsoft interoperability structure that links everyone accessing the system to pertinent data.

The conversation continues, “Right, I get that. But, what does that mean for my business operations?” The previous responder jumps back in, “UDA can be a godsend for your business! However, it must be implemented effectively and possess a few essential properties; including the following.

Essential Universal Data Access Properties

  • Intelligence
  • Flexibility
  • Speed
  • Traceability
  • Transparency

Interjecting a UDA with these attributes into any business environment can be a positive transformative experience.”

Now, you join the fray, “My company is an electronics OEM and our current process of building PCBAs is inefficient and costly. Can a UDA improve our circuit board development process?” Again, a quick response, “Certainly! Let’s see how.”

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UDA = Improved PCBA Development

It is true that most contemporary board development does not support UDA. In fact, it is more common for electronics developers and their CM to only communicate at the start of manufacturing to transfer the design data file(s) and at the end for the transfer of the final product. Unfortunately, this isolated black box approach to PCBA manufacturing is far from optimal. Conversely, open, transparent communication or white box board manufacturing promotes a symbiotic relationship between the electronics OEM and the builder of their boards, which is similar to the objective of universal data access.

UDA, at its core, is a database model that seeks to provide users access to needed files whenever requested and from any location. This same intent is the impetus for the digital thread manufacturing paradigm that optimizes data management for PCBA development. And, as shown in the table below, both exhibit the same properties.


UDA Model Property


PCBA Development Impact

Intelligence Total service control and management More efficient processing
Flexibility Ability to receive and make changes quickly Delay avoidance and reduced costs
Speed Simultaneous multiple access for vendors, EOM, and internal machinery Faster turnaround times, design change implementations
Traceability Workflow documentation of processes; including changes to initial design and manufacturing specifications; and component supply chain tracking. Standards compliance, faster root-cause identification and error correction
Transparency Customer open access portal Free flow of design intent and DFM

From the table above, it is obvious that the incorporation of a digital thread model by your CM improves several tangible aspects of the PCBA development experience. Not as easily measured, but no less important, is the sense of confidence gained by working with a manufacturer whose service incorporates the attributes listed.

Tempo’s Software-Driven Smart Factory Delivers the Industry’s Leading Custom Turnkey PCBA Manufacturing Services
  • Virtual PCBA Contract manufacturing.
  • Rapid, accurate quotes.
  • DFM support from Day 1 of design.
  • Digital Thread Processing with real-time monitoring.
  • Fastest turnaround times in the industry to maximize ROI.
  • QC certified Agile Manufacturing process to support risk management.
  • Standard and Advanced QC testing.
  • Worry-free supply chain continuity.
  • Specialization in rapid prototyping and low-volume production.
  • PCBA development optimization for complex critical system industries like Aerospace, Medical Devices, Automotive, and Industrial.

Tempo Automation, the industry leader in fast, high-quality PCBA prototyping and low-volume production, brings all of the attributes of UDA to your PCBA development. Our smart factory integrates advanced robotics and equipment with customized software to ensure our DFM and your design intent are reflected optimally in your boards.

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 universal data access and how it can improve the building of your PCBAs, contact us.

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