Design for Board Manufacturability Issues

What’s the deal here? Why is it an issue? Well, you want to check for manufacturability before you start to make anything. Usually, it happens pretty late in the design development process. There’s a big emphasis on shifting the manufacturability check earlier in the design development process to fix issues before you are late in the process.

When you pass a design to manufacturers, they’ll often do a manufacturability analysis. The analysis might take a week, and if you need to fix an issue, it might take another week. So you can see a significant delay if you don’t address these issues upfront.

On the mechanical design side, there have been solutions with standard checks that apply to almost anything. The issue with board manufacturing is that you see dramatic variation based on the type of design it is, rigid versus flex, multi-board systems. There is also dramatic variation based on the manufacturer and where it’s manufactured. The manufacturing variations require checks on a case by case basis, causing a fundamental issue to standardized checks.

Shift Left for Board Design:

So what has Cadence done concerning this, and what are they offering? They have a solution called Design True DFM, and it’s part of their in-design type of focus. Design True DFM is available within Allegro, so while you’re designing the board, you can run these checks and get immediate feedback. You can even compare designs. 

What are the implications for manufacturability? It looks at all sorts of issues like ring problems, copper spacing, vias, and drilling for the board around traces. It gives you that kind of insight upfront.

Communication Between Design House and Manufacturer is Crucial:

What’s also very interesting is how you solve the issues. You can’t use a set of parameters for manufacturability. Cadence has set up a portal where a design house, whoever is designing the board, can go in and make a request of the manufacturer for the parameters and constraints they should use to check for DFM. The manufacturer can put that information in the portal to download and import into Allegro for in-design checks in the middle of design and development.

Why is this interesting and important? Well it gets around this whole intellectual property issue with file attachments and email. I know email is used everywhere to exchange files today, but frankly, it is just not secure. So this gives a more secure way for a one to one communication from the manufacturer to the design house, to get them the information for the job.

What’s also interesting is that over time the design house can build up this library of DFM checks for that manufacturer for specific scenarios.  It can be imported right within Allegro and used from there. It’s a pretty straight forward process, pretty streamlined.

So that’s what’s offered. It actually does enable the shift left with DFM. Cadence looks at some of the fundamental issues that are part of the process and comes up with some interesting solutions that address those directly. So, that’s it. Those are the capabilities of DFM within Allegro. Take care and talk soon.