Optimum Design Associates Blog



5 Things You Should Know About NRE

Non-recurring engineering (NRE) is a broad term referring to a one-time cost to develop, design, or manufacture a new product. It can mean different things in different industries, depending on the product, process, and even supply chain strategy. In the PCB industry—especially in pull-based contract manufacturing—NRE refers to specific setup costs for manufacturing a newly introduced PCB assembly.


SMT Temperature and Humidity Control

One of the most important ways to prevent PCB defects is controlling factory environmental conditions. If the manufacturing floor’s humidity and temperature levels are not properly controlled, very expensive components—and possibly entire assemblies—could be damaged, resulting in quality issues and unnecessary costs.


Future Electronics Review

Future Electronics

Future Electronics is the world’s fourth largest component distributor. The privately held company is headquartered in Pointe Claire (Montreal), Canada, operating in 169 locations in 42 countries worldwide, with roughly 5,500 employees. In 2013, Future Electronics revenues were approximately $5 billion.


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.


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. 


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.  


Solder Paste: What Should I Be Using for My Product?


Choosing the right solder paste is like buying a new car: the options can seem endless, and it's really a matter of preference. In the end, however, it all comes down to three considerations: (1) Lead vs. lead-free, (2) Water-wash vs. no-clean, (3) Alloy ratio.