Why a DFA and DFM are Critical To Your Electronic Assembly


Electronic products are generally quite complex, requiring many types of components in order to manufacture. As a result, efficiency is extremely important. A lot of money and time can be wasted as a result of problems with an electronic assembly. Because of this, DFM (design for manufacturing) and DFA (design for assembly) are extremely important.

What is DFA?

The purpose of DFA is to simplify the product and process wherever possible in an attempt to reduce both cost and time of the electronic assembly. The following are a few basic examples of a few DFA techniques that can help to achieve this:

  • Reducing the number of components needed to assemble the product
  • Combining two or more parts into one
  • Simplifying assembly operations
  • Designing for parts handling and presentation
  • Minimizing parts tangling
  • Making sure that the products will be easy to test

A more specific example could include adding features to the parts that make it easier to assemble, which in turn would not only help reduce the amount of time it would take to assemble but also help reduce the need for assembly and testing documentation.

To implement DFA techniques that will benefit your assembly, you’ll need to perform a DFA analysis. The following are a few examples of what a DFA analysis would focus on in the case of a printed circuit board assembly:

  • Whether the components match their pads
  • Whether components are properly spaced from one another
  • Whether components have proper and clear markings and identification
  • Whether drill hole rules are applied
  • Whether solder mask guidelines are applied
  • Whether board edge clearance rules are applied
  • The type of quality control testing that should be implemented
  • Whether the components will be readily available for future assembly

Of course, your analysis will depend on the type of electronic product you are assembling.

What is DFM?

DFM is very similar to DFA; however, it’s more focused on individual parts and components as opposed to the sub-assemblies, assemblies, and products that a DFA is focused on. Essentially, whereas DFA focuses on improving efficiency, DFM focuses on eliminating product features that are expensive and unnecessary and which make the product difficult to manufacture. It’s meant to help keep the product as simple as possible since parts that are particularly complicated can have hidden costs that aren’t immediately apparent.

Additionally, by finding ways to reduce the parts needed, you can also reduce your inventory and the need for inventory management by reducing the number of parts needed in the assembly.

Because of the many components that are used in an electronic assembly, it’s smart to perform DFA and DFM analysis and to implement both DFA and DFM techniques to help save money and time as well as to improve the efficiency of the manufacturing and operations processes of the assembly.

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