Optimum Design Associates Blog

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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. 

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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.  

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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. 

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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).
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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).

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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.

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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

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