October 14, 2004 -- Many electronic-product designers, whether they are developing ICs or pc boards, must now consider manufacturing issues much earlier in the design cycle than they did a few years ago. Most of these engineers are facing this problem for the first time and lack in-house knowledge of the available approaches or even the most severe pitfalls. Design engineers have worried about postdevelopment issues since the beginning of our industry, but their focus was testability, not manufacturability. When, as early as the 1970s, managers warned designers not to throw designs over the wall to manufacturing, they focused on the manufacturer's ability to test the finished product.
Manufacturing technologies kept pace with engineering, and designers focused on meeting the functional requirements of the product, not the fabrication method. Although design for test is still an important goal, DFM (design for manufacturing) has become even more importantóbecause if you can't build it, you don't need to test it. Personal computing and the introduction of portable devices are the main forces behind a radical change in engineering methodology. Products must offer more functions but decreased power consumption and product size. Also, to provide reasonable performance, operating frequencies must increase. Miniaturization, whether in ICs or pc boards, is generating new classes of problems that electronics engineers are still learning to address and solve.
By Gabe Moretti, EDN Technical Editor
This brief introduction has been excerpted from the original copyrighted article.
View the entire article on the EDN Magazine website.