Beyond the Design Rule Check

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Electronics Manufacturer in Maryland

We invite you to come along on a journey into the inner workings of the ACDi design team. Through dedication, experience, and consistent high-performance, ACDi is widely recognized as the premier provider of advanced circuit board layout, design for manufacturing (DFM), and new product introduction (NPI) integration in the Mid-Atlantic Region. 

Part one of this three-part blog series begins with going “Beyond the Design Rule Check.”

Commonly referred to as design rule check (DRC), all ECAD toolsets such as PADS, Mentor Xpedition, Cadence Allegro and Altium have built-in capabilities to perform DRC analysis, a key element to the output of a professionally printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing package. Process constraints in the manufacturing world of the PCB are what necessitates the DRC analysis. These tasks provide the final checking of the PCB design requirements against the capabilities of the PCB manufacturer in preparation for the design package for manufacturing.  These checks ensure the design functions reliably, properly and can be produced with an acceptable yield.

As a complement to the resident DRC analysis in the tools mentioned above, ACDi also uses the Valor NPI software suite. The Valor NPI software from Mentor Graphics is “a unique new product introduction (NPI) solution that seamlessly links PCB layout design and manufacturing processes and operations. This allows layout designers to validate product models using embedded or concurrent DFM analysis while working within the customers’ desired toolset.” Without a robust DFM checking process in place, to generate manufacturing files for a design to a PCB fabricator after the many design man hours, only to have it deemed not manufacturable, is an undesirable outcome and ACDi incorporates checks at all points of the process to prevent that from occurring.

This is where the experience level of ACDi’s designers highly differentiate our team by virtue of our real-world design experience which can only be gained by successfully producing 10,000+ advanced technology PCB designs. With over 100+ years of combined experience spread across the design team, our level of expertise is both proven and unmatched. That, coupled with the teams’ ability to concurrently design multi-board system projects at a time between different toolsets while maintaining a customer-first attitude is a key differentiator. It is a totally unique skill set we have been able to develop. A design-centric DNA threads throughout our entire organization, all the way from our founder/CEO, through our operational team, to our industry-leading PCB layout team!

This level of expertise provides an innate ability to kick-off a PCB layout with the final deliverable firmly in mind. Starting with digesting, deciphering and understanding the supplied statement of work (SOW), schematics, bill of materials (BOM), design characteristics, mechanical parameters, critical routes, layer count, material composition, placement requirements, digital requirements, clock signals, etc., each design is unique and has different requirements.  

The key here is the angle of attack. Being able to dig into our “crate of knowledge” we can approach a new design opportunity already thinking ahead to the end and anticipating the roadblocks and challenges. Implementing these design rules concurrent with the PCB layout with the goal of mitigating multiple iterations at the end of the design – and not relying solely on the DRC analysis to catch the violations – is key to our success. ACDi builds quality into the design as it is being produced, resulting in faster time-to-market for our customers.

ECAD tools are instrumental in ensuring the product hits the electronics manufacturing floor with the highest potential for success. However, having the right captain at the helm to navigate through to the end is paramount and that is exactly what the ACDi excellence model provides.

Please join us in the next installment, “DFM- The Next Frontier” where we will dive deeper into how we develop a fully integrated package to assure successful PCB manufacture and seamless assembly processing at the NPI level.

In closing part one, we appreciate your interest in ACDi and look forward to discussing your requirements in greater detail. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation via video conference at your convenience.

Jesse Vaughan

Manager Design Services

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