Optimum Design Associates Blog



PCB Surface Finishes Comparison: HASL, OSP, & ENIG

A PCB surface finish is a coating between a component and a bare board PCB. It is applied for two basic reasons: to ensure solderability, and to protect exposed copper circuitry. As there are many types of surface finishes, selecting the right one is no easy task, especially as surface mounts have become more complex and regulations such as RoHS and WEEE have changed industry standards.


How are Electronics Components Priced? [Podcast]


In this episode of Outsourcing Things You Should Know you'll learn about:

Three types of price for electronic components

1.  Book Price

2.  Broken Price

3.  Direct Price

The cost of printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) is usually dominated by the component costs when outsourcing. But how are those costs determined? The production price you see from distributors is controlled by the manufacturers through a system called "ship from stock and debit."

 Xilinx vs. Flextronics Article: http://blog.optimumdesign.com/xilinx-v-flextronics-insight-to-a-gray-market


Avoiding Risk with a Thorough BOM Scrub

A BOM scrub is the act of scanning a Bill-of-Materials (BOM) to clean off any inconsistencies, errors, or potential risks. It allows program managers and purchasers to align the customer’s order with the manufacturer’s capabilities. BOM scrubbing is one of the most important processes in the contract manufacturing business, and it is essential to lean front end processing and proactivity.  


Avnet vs. Arrow Electronics

Avnet, Inc. and Arrow Electronics have long dominated the electronics distribution market. With shared lineages in the radio industry, similar business models, and recent forays into enterprise computing, the two companies are neck-and-neck rivals. But financial strength isn't the only indicator of a good company. Let's take a closer look at the world first and second largest electronics distributors. 


Quick and Easy Should Cost Analysis

Conducting a should cost analyis can seem daunting but is actually very achievable for most OEM's outsourcing electronic assemblies. Use this quick and easy guide to benchmark your current price for an individual pcb assembly and determine if it is competitive.


Cut Tape vs. Tape and Reel

When procuring components, it’s important to pay attention to packaging type. Most component distributors offer the same components in a wide variety of packages to accommodate different pick-and-place loading preferences. The main options are: cut tape, reel, tray, tube, and batch. Each packaging type has its benefits, though it can be difficult to determine which type of packaging is the most appropriate for a certain job. 


4 KPIs Crucial to On-Time Delivery [Podcast]


Materials is the root cause of at least 80% of missed delivery commitments. The only way to effectively drive consistent on-time delivery performance is by ruthlessly focusing on materials. Fortunately, material processes are very data-driven and can be successfully managed with a just a handful of crucial KPIs. The 4 crucial KPIs are:   

          1.  Late Buy Actions

          2.  Items in Compression

          3.  Late Vendor POs

          4.  Push/Pull/Cancel Messages


Why You Should Always Use a Solder Sample

A solder sample is non-usable board that represents a usable PCB during test processes. It can be used to test virtually every process on the assembly line. Although many manufacturing engineers may take it for granted, this extra fab – which is identical to the usable board in every way – is essential for streamlining production, improving an assembly’s quality and dramatically impacting cost.  


Contract Manufacturing Price Model: Cost Plus [Podcast]


Ever wonder how electronic contract manufacturers come up with their prices? Simple: they estimate their costs, then add profit. This method is called “cost plus”; cost plus profit. 


How to Place Breakaway Rails in a PCB Design

Designers must be aware that the customer-supplied board outline shape isn’t always necessarily the shape that is to be delivered to the fabrication and assembly house for manufacturing. PCB’s must have two parallel sides (preferably the two longest sides) for processing them through the assembly equipment (conveyor transport).