The Advantages of Incorporating Digitization in PCBA Development

July 7, 2020 , in Blog

Edgar Rice Burroughs is considered, by many, to be one of the most influential writers of the last century. He is probably most well-known for creating Tarzan, a human that was raised by apes and developed a unique ability to communicate with animals. He also had a penchant for making memorable quotes. The most profound of these, which begins with, “We are, all of us, creatures of habit…” speaks to an undeniable human characteristic: the tendency to fall into complacency with old ideas that results in a resistance to change. However, there are times when the need for change is so obvious that we are forced to abandon our comfort zones.

The concept of digital transformation

The Digitization of PCBA Development

Currently, we are in the midst of one of those revolutions in industrial production, which is most commonly referred to as Industry 4.0. This change in the way products are made is based on the optimization of software that drives IoT application development. The utilization of software to enhance and improve manufacturing is not limited to high-volume industrial production. In fact, there are advantages to applying this concept of digitization in PCBA development. Prior to defining these advantages, let’s see what a change to digitization for building circuit boards involves.

What is PCBA Manufacturing Digitization?

An examination of the history of printed circuit boards reveals some interesting facts that are unknown to many in the industry today. For example, many people think that building boards are a new phenomenon born in the last decades of the twentieth century. Not true. In fact, the first through-hole circuit boards can be traced back to Albert Hanson in 1903. And the process of generating electronic circuit boards has been changing ever since.

Today, the process consists of a set of well-defined PCBA manufacturing steps divided into two stages: fabrication and assembly. And one of the most important decisions for companies that develop electronics is whether to manage the process themselves, which requires working with at least a fab house, an assembler, and a component vendor(s)—or to delegate the responsibility to a single contract manufacturer (CM) for turnkey PCBA manufacturing services. For turnkey, it is also important whether your CM outsources PCB assembly or fabrication as this affects process quality control (QC). Contemporary circuit board manufacturing is primarily automated, and so are many QC functions.

If you toured a contemporary circuit board building factory and then a smart PCBA manufacturing facility, such as the one below, you would notice one difference immediately.

An assembly line at Tempo’s factory

A digitized PCBA manufacturing facility

That is, the number and locations of computers at the smart factory, which illustrates the digitization of the manufacturing process and provides monitoring and control over the entire process. This is a distinct advantage over contemporary PCBA development. Let’s see what other improvements can be realized when this digitization is extended to include the other tenets of PCBA development.

Why Digitization in PCBA Development is a Change for the Good

PCBA development is a cyclical process consisting of design⇒build⇒test or DBT. And the quality of the board development is dependent upon the iteration speed at which this cycle is completed. The more cycles available, the more refined the design can be. Increased speed is but one of the advantages, as listed below, that result from a smarter PCBA development process.

The Advantages of Digitization in PCBA Development

💻    Faster prototype iterations

💻    Open, transparent communication

By digitizing the transmission and reception of data and information, via a digital thread, for all stages of the process, changes can be communicated and quickly implemented where needed.

💻    Better risk management

The use of software for evaluation and inspections improves the probability of identifying and tracking risks during manufacturing. Finding errors and correcting them quickly not only improves development efficiency and quality but also improves high yield rate probability.

💻    Higher quality boards

Improving the efficiency of development results in higher-quality boards. However, DFT can also benefit from digital PCBA manufacturing process and also improves the quality of the board for production.

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.

As shown above, digitization in PCBA development positively influences process efficiency, board quality, and production yield rates. By improving these aspects of producing circuit boards, the overall process can be optimized for ROI and client satisfaction. Tempo Automation is the industry leader in manufacturing high-quality boards with the fastest turnaround time in the industry. This is possible due to the utilization of digitization at our PCB smart factory.

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 digitization in PCBA development and its advantages, contact us.

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