You may not be aware Free DFM Tool, but DFM has been around for more than a century. For those whose interest is PCB manufacturing, then the DFM procedure is a must-know terminology for you.
FreeDFM tool ensures the design validation even on a small scale. DFM is done in almost all engineering department’s manufacturing processes, including the manufacture and assembly of PCBs.
To understand what Design for manufacture or DFM, as stated earlier, you will need to take a walk with us in this article as we explain further on the topic. It is a vital process for manufacturing products in a bid to ensure that they are efficient and flexible.
What Is DFM
Design for manufacturing or DFM is the way to verify the designs in engineering before the actual production of the product. The goal of design for manufacture is usually to save on costs and ensure efficient production.
That is achieved through the elimination of errors or mistakes early enough.
When DFM is carried out on a product, many errors can be prevented from occurring on the final product, and some of them might have either reduced efficiency or increased production costs if not stopped. Some vital things are examined during a DFM, and these may include:
• The design. The design of the product is one of the most critical aspects of it. Moreover, even from the name of the process, the design manufacture evaluates the product’s design to make sure that it meets the standards that have been set for it.
• The process. The process of coming up with the product is also evaluated to satisfy the standards set for production.
•The material. The material that has been used in the production is also evaluated for quality assurance.
• The environment. The environment in which the product has been made is also essential to ensure that it meets the standards for its production.
Therefore, the above is one of the factors to look into when carrying out a DFM procedure. The process should be timed well as it is needed early in the designing process and not too late as it would not evaluate the necessary.
For a DFM process to be successful, all the stakeholders should be present, and this is to ensure that they witness the entire process and, in case of any queries, the solutions are established. Some of the experts that should be present include the following:
- Material Supplier.
A DFM needs to be conducted early enough because as the design of the product moves on, the making of changes would become more and more expensive and thus uneconomical.
That begs the need for the process to be carried out at the early stages of the design or production.
The involvement of all the stakeholders in the DFM process makes it easy to solve the problems that may occur and makes it convenient.
Why Use It
There are some reasons as to why you would decide to use the DFM process. The need for such a design validation is obvious. DFM tools are used to check whether the designed product or a spare is fit for production.
A minute error or an unplanned production cycle may lead to series damage and loss of production materials and production cost. The primary functions of a DFM tool are to verify the design aspects like design errors, improper layout, and design factor selection.
In the case of Printed Circuit Boards, the Design for Manufacture tool checks for the proper alignment of the solder pads, the possibility of track intersection, and predicting the production efficiency.
Although all the PCB design environment checks for the errors and component overlays, the DFM tool even can dig a little deep and predict the possible short that may occur during the production.
Manufacturing a PCB that uses numerous different size drills and milling profiles is very complicated and time-consuming. So, these tools can change the setting to even more economical sizes to make the production more efficient.
As stated earlier, a few things are evaluated during a DFM procedure that is vital for the functionality of the product. They include the design, process, material, and environment.
This chapter will take a closer look at each of them and how they are used in the DFM process.
1. The Design
In evaluating the design of a product using the FreeDFM tool, the following factors are put into consideration:
- The wall thickness of the product.
- The texture of the product.
- Product specs.
The above should be taken into keen consideration, and if possible, the manufacturer is involved step by step.
2. Free DFM Tool—The process
The manufacturer’s process for the product should be the right one that is set for use. In this part, what is required of the DFM procedure to evaluate the material used and the process for the manufacturer?
3. The material
The correct material to be used for a product is just as relevant as the product itself. In the case that a wrong material is used for a product, quality issues may arise.
Thus to prevent this, you can use the FreeDFM tool to check and ensure the suitable material has been used.
Some of the properties to consider in this stage include the following:
• Electrical properties. Some products need insulator materials or conductors. The DFM process should check for which material is suitable for the product that is insight.
• Mechanical properties. The strength of the material should be checked depending on the dedicated product.
• Optical properties. Some products require reflective or transparent materials, and thus you should be keen to check what your product would need.
• Thermal properties. Some products require heat-resistant materials, and thus this is something to put into close consideration.
• Flammability. It checks whether or not the material present should be inflammable depending on the dedicated product.
4. The Environment
Your product should be designed so that it withstands the environment in which it is going to be used. It can be evaluated through the use of FreeDFM tools.
There are several reasons why you should use the Design for Manufacture procedure, and you can take a look at some of the reasons below:
• Saves on costs. The use of FreeDFM tools ensures that you keep on possible values of production that would be used in rectifying errors that have been made in the manufacture of the item.
• Ensures efficiency of the product. DFM procedure provides that a product efficiently works appropriately after being manufactured and sent out to the market.
How To Use It
The goal of the DFM procedure is usually cutting down on the cost of production while ensuring an efficient and sustainable product. That means that the product is manufactured should be done so economically in a manner in which the cost of production doesn’t shoot high. It shows just how vital the Design for Manufacture procedure is essential.
In an estimate made, 70 percent of the costs of manufacture and output are determined through the design process. Production decisions only account for 20 percent.
Knowing what DFM is and why you should use it is essential also to understand how to use it. The following is a step-by-step procedure on achieving this: moreover, in this segment, you will learn how to use the freedom tools in carrying out the DFM procedure.
1. Reduce the total number of parts
This procedure will help you reduce the costs of production since the number of parts will have gone down. When you use fewer parts, you will reduce the number of purchases you make per product, such as a printed circuit board.
2. Free DFM Tool—Develop a modular design
Using the FreeDFM tools, you can develop a modular design for the product you are evaluating. Modules make the manufacturing process more accessible and thus boosting production.
Modules help to run the needed tests on products just before they are assembled, and this helps to check for any possible defects that may affect functionality. The modules also support the inspection of the product and rectification of errors and mistakes.
3. Free DFM Tool—Make use of standard components
The method of standard components saves on costs as compared to using the custom ones. That reduces the overall expense of production.
4. Parts should be designed in a multifunctional way
Designing multifunctional parts refer to coming up with features that can play more than one role at a time. That saves on the cost of using several components with different functions.
One example of such an arrangement is in a PCB where one part can act as a conductor and have reflective capabilities against the light. It likes killing two birds with one stone and at no extra cost.
Therefore while carrying out a DFM process, you should evaluate where you can use multifunctional parts.
5. Using the FreeDFM tools, design parts that have multi-use properties
Almost similar to the multifunctional property, the multiuse property refers to the use of components that have the same or different functionalities when put in various products.
6. Make the fabrication process easier through design
When the method of fabrication is made easy, the cost of production also goes down respectively. You should, therefore, use the FreeDFM tools to check whether the material is in sync with the fabrication process or not.
7. Reduce the directions during assembly
If possible, it would be most advisable to assemble all the parts in one direction instead of several approaches. You should configure the process to add the details from above, for example, or even below, depending on your choices and preferences.
However, the most suitable direction should be from above so that the gravitational force aids the process.
8. Free DFM Tool—Be keen when evaluating the design
Whenever you are using the FreeDFM tools to carry out the DFM procedure, you should try to be very keen to ensure the accuracy of the evaluation. It is essential as it would assure the correctness of the procedure.
Again it would help if you kept in mind the importance of ensuring the efficiency of a product and saving of costs of production.
4.1 FreeDFM Evaluation
Evaluation of your design is a crucial phase in ensuring the product is efficient and cost-effective.
When you decide to ignore the design stage, various possible errors and mistakes could occur during the manufacturing process, leading to rework. Rework is costly and also involving thus wasting a lot of resources and time.
The more the manufacturing process proceeds, the more difficult it is to perform a rework. That is why the FreeDFM evaluation process is entirely necessary.
The process looks at tolerance, wall thickness, or even the kind of material that has been used, among other many factors. When these factors are checked effectively, the efficiency of the product insight becomes a reality.
FreeDFM tools help you develop a framework that would ensure frequent checks, which help identify areas in the design of the product that have some difficulties or mistakes, therefore, ensuring the viability of the product.
4.2 Free DFM Tool—FreeDFM Software
There are some free DFM tools available to verify the designed product, for example, a PCB. Most PCB design software has some DFM tool as a premium feature. So, it is costly to access the built-in DFM tool.
Freedom tools, on the other hand, offer essential Gerber viewing ability and DFM features. Therefore most of the small-scale designs and hobby projects this is more than enough. FreeDFM tools can also be used to perform minor edits and layout profile alterations.
The freedom software helps you carry out the DFM procedure, thus checking for any errors in the product’s design. It is pretty straightforward to use once you understand the processes of how to achieve this.
The free DFM tool available online allows the designer to view the layers by uploading the Gerber files.
These online free DFM tools also offer cloud saving and sharing features. This is extremely useful for consultation and collaborative design with designers in different parts of the world.
These free DFM tools allow essential elements and few sites for a small charge. They can even use actual PCB designers to verify the designs.
4.3 Free DFM Tool—FreeDFM Check
You can organize for a free DFM check through our website www.wellpcb.com and get your product evaluated and passed on whether it is suitable for the manufacture or not.
Getting your PCB produced is a straightforward procedure that could quickly end up fruitless if you ignore its DFM process. The free PCB process ensures that your printed circuit board is functional and is produced economically.
As you have seen above, in the processes that have been used to perform the DFM procedure, the one for a PCB isn’t any different.
You should examine your design files before releasing them to the manufacturer for production. It ensures that you don’t encounter any quality or cost issues during the production of your PCB.
The problem of ignoring the evaluation of your design before sending it out is that you will regret it later on when it’s late. Reworking is not a natural process, and this is what you may encounter if you don’t examine your design.
There are three steps in the examination of a printed circuit board before it is taken for manufacture.
These steps include the following:
1. Validating Gerbers
Here you will check each file with full attention for any errors and mistakes that may be present.
2. Checking problems with the DFM
Here you will check for any issues that may affect the manufacturing process of the PCB.
3. Send your files
The last step involves putting your files together into a ZIP package and sending it out to the manufacturer.
As seen above, the design for the manufacturing process is a vital part of a product’s viability and efficiency. Besides, it reduces the chances of extra costs incurred during the production of an item.
You can carry out the process by yourself using the FreeDFM tools. In case of any inquiries, you can contact us through the following leads: [email protected]