Optimum Design Associates Blog



Are Local Fiducials Necessary?

As pick-and-place machines become more precise, some assembly shops are doing away with local fiducials. Why take up real estate with non-functional markings when it's not absolutely necessary? Of course, it's never that black and white. Deciding whether local fiducials are necessary depends on a few different factors. Here they are.  


What is Selective Soldering?

With the growing popularity of SMT technology, through-hole technology is taking up less real estate on a PCB assembly. But through-hole pins are still a necessary for many boards, and they still need to be soldered. While this process can be cumbersome, many manufacturers have turned to selective soldering as a precise and cost effective way to solder through-hole technology.


When Do You Repair and When Do You Scrap PCBs?

For mid-size EMS providers, costs of rework can add up quickly. By some estimates, rework alone could result in tens of thousands of dollars in annual losses. Yet these costs aren't as high as completely scrapping a board, which can be almost triple the annual costs of repair. In terms of cost, the question of whether to repair or scrap is relatively simple: It's almost always worth it to repair. 


Moisture Sensitivity Levels Explained

Atmospheric moisture absorbed into surface mount packages can expand when exposed to the intense heat of solder reflow ovens. The result can be internal separation and delamination of the plastic from the frame, wire bond damage, die damage, internal cracks, and smaller devices can  literally pop open... the “popcorn” effect. The Moisture-sensitive Component Standards and Guideline Manual ( IPC-M-109) contains standards J-STD-20 and J-STD-33 which outline industry standard procedures for handling Moisture Sensitive Devices (MSD).

Don't Underestimate Solder Paste Inspection

Over 50% of PCB assembly solder joint defects can be traced back to improper or sub-optimal solder paste printing. While good solder paste printing practices are often sufficient in low volume, for higher volumes you should carefully consider solder paste inspection (SPI).


Counterfeit Component Risk Management

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) estimates that counterfeit PCB components cost manufacturers more than $7.5 billion annually, and warns that counterfeit components pose a significant safety risk due to the threat of counterfeit parts going into health care and military equipment.


5 BOM Obsolescence Management Tips

In today’s market, it can often feel like parts become obsolete the second after they are designed in. It is important to carefully analyze your Bill of Materials (BOM), and discover any obsolescence risks within your assembly, before it becomes a problem. Through this 5 step process, you can properly check your BOM and identify high risk components before they become a problem in your manufacturing.

Step 1: Break Down the Bill of Materials


The 3 Keys to Customer Satisfaction

The Harvard Business Review recently said that, “Companies that aim for ‘zero defections’ (keeping every customer they can profitably serve) make profits rise.” On average it costs manufacturers 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an old one, and 5% reduction in the customer defection can increase profits by up to 95%. Improved customer satisfaction is paramount to reducing customer defection, and by listening to the reasons why customers defect, managers know exactly where the company is falling short. Below are 3 keys which if appropriately utilized, can increase customer satisfaction.


3 Most Common PCB Assembly Defects

Minimization of all solder joint defects should be the goal for any SMT manufacturer. Through understanding the defect, its root causes, as well as how to prevent it, you can greatly improve the quality of all assemblies you manufacture. According to industry statistics, the top 3 PCB assembly defects which account for 74% of all manufacturing defects are Opens, Solder bridging, and Component shift.


What is a Lean Office?

A "lean office" is the application of the "Lean" philosophy to front end processes. In the early 1990's, Toyota Manufacturing developed the concept of lean, identifying eight categories of process waste (or "muda"). They are: transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-processing, over-production, defects, and mnemonics. According to the pioneers of the concept, a manufacturer can actually add value to products by eliminating waste in these processes. This breakthrough pervades today's manufacturing and is now starting to be found in places off the factory floor: namely, the office.