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Services > Printed Circuit Boards > PCB Assembly > Production PCB Assembly
 

Production PCB Assembly

At the stage where production PCB assembly is being planned, many other factors come into play, particularly Design-for-Test (DFT) and Design-for-Manufacturability (DFM)  issues, making sure documentation is current, planning diagnostics tests and macros, determining test limitations and assuring that troubleshooting guidelines are well-documented among others.

Regarding DFM, circuit board fabrication issues include using the right size panels that will offer the highest yield. This is particularly important in projects with non-standard circuit board shapes. OEM takes the time required to assure that the right fabrication panels are used so as to minimize waste.  Another important factor is the number of panels per board because it can have an effect on testing as well as on the pick and place line. Having a balanced placement of boards per panel can increase PCB assembly speed where SMT and wave solder fixtures are used to run multiple boards through each of the assembly processes. these processes.

DFT factors are equally important and should be integral to PCB assembly. For instance, when test points are evenly distributed on the circuit boards, they can be easily accessed by all test probes. This not only improves assembly speed, it insures that testing will be as accurate and beneficial as possible. For more mature products, OEM typically deploys customized jigs or other equipment so that your project is seamless and free of any errors. Although this requires an investment, we have found that over time, the value of this approach is realized in product stability and reliability. Also, because fixtures can reduce manual handling time on mature products, there are additional savings in using this method.

Products consisting of multiple PCBs require special attention to detail during the planning stage to make sure individual boards as well as the fully functioning systems are thoroughly tested and debugged. Isolating a fault on an individual board is an easier way to find and mitigate a problem then performing system testing to isolate a fault and debug it.  OEM believes that testing technicians should have clearly defined guidelines so that testing is efficient at the individual board level where debugging is easier to perform.

To maximize testing efficiency, we provide test technicians with written, easily understood instructions for each of our production PCB assembly projects. The guidelines provided include testing strategies that are customized to fit your product’s requirements. It’s important to know, for instance, that boards with few components may require a different strategy than a board with a thousand or more pieces, where appropriate in-place fixtures for In-Circuit Testing (ICT) are indicated. We make sure our test technicians have the troubleshooting guides, diagnostic tests and the associated documentation they need to support ICT or whatever testing strategy is being used.

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