In the field of Aerospace and Defense (A&D), failing to meet product specifications can mean the difference between success and disaster. Because of the risks, PCB designs in defense follow a very strict design and vetting process, often incorporating Design for Manufacturing (DFM) as a necessary part of the development process.

On top of the inherent risk, aerospace and defense organizations are experiencing budget cuts, decreased federal spending, and small market growth amidst an $89 billion sequestration cut in defense spending over 2013 and 2014. The reverberations can be seen even years later with many companies being forced to cut back in size.

These setbacks have given companies the incentive to modernize all aspects of the business and look for new ways to innovate. They’re finding that consumers want more functionality, higher fuel efficiency, and better quality on increasingly shorter cycles, among other pressures voiced by survey respondents below.

Respondents said that external pressure for shorter delivery cycles (41%), higher reliability (39%), differentiating from competitors (34%), and increased pressure in meeting deadlines (32%) have pushed them to overhaul their PCB development and design methods.

How DFM Improves the PCB Development Process

Best-in-class companies were 40% more likely to use a DFM tool. So what is it?

DFM is the practice of designing a PCB layout with the manufacturing fabrication process in mind. And though technically the board could be correct on the schematic, defects during assembly could create shorts on some boards and not on others.

The best way to perform DFM on a design is by getting the PCB manufacturer involved in the beginning. Obtain any layout rules spacing, component placement, or any other list of rules and apply it. Be sure to have the manufacturer review the layout prior to the first spin.

To maximize board yield and meet production budgets and timelines, there is a clear need for some form of DFM during the PCB fabrication process. The results in the figure below show the true value for DFM-users compared to non-users.

A well-defined DFM process can help prevent errors and a more successful product launch. To take a deeper dive on DFM and its potential benefits to your organizations, read the full report.

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