Electronics Production | July 09, 2009

Flextronics: Virtual Prototyping to aid quality

Part 4 of 4: Virtual Prototyping – or VP – is using any number of techniques to mimic a design on a computer before the product is even built. Flextronics Paderborn is using VP to ensure the integrity between PCB design and fabrication – offering the service to other Flextronics sites too.
Flextronics SBS has been using the DFX Analysis Tool – based on Valor Trilogy – since 2002. “We offer eFlexDesign – on one hand – as a pure customer service, but we also use VP in our own interest. We can maybe build a product as requested, but maybe there are several improvements that could be made – resulting in cost savings. A Win-Win-Situation for customer and manufacturer so to speak”, states Oliver Pettenpaul, Senior DFM Engineer. “Moreover, as a DFM-Centre, we also offer this particular service to other facilities within the Flextronics group.”

Due to the wide span of products that are being designed and manufactured by Flextronics worldwide, the PCBA design guidelines are divided into 4 technology classes.

PCBA (Covered in PCBA design rules)
– Miniaturised
– Module
– Standard
– Large Form Factor

“During the analysis, a lot of items are being checked, such as Drill Checks, Signal Layer Checks (Outer / Inner) or Solder Mask Checks [PCB]; Fiducial Checks, Physical Test Point Checks or Pad Stack Checks [Assembly]; Shorts, Broken Nets or Extra/Missing Nets [Electrical Integrity]”, explaines Mr Pettenpaul.

The Assembly analysis – for instance – is performed based on a global Flextronics Part Library with exact Geometric Packages for all Manufacturer Parts. This library is being maintained by the global Flextronics Geometric Package Library Team, which catalogues every part for reference and usage. After that, the Assembly analysis can actually start.

“We – or better our team of 4 engineers – guarantee turnaround times for our DFM reporting – such as 48 hours after receipt of the correct input data. That is very important to us”, states Mr Pettenpaul.

What happens during the analysis?
“Ideally, we receive product data in advance; we check in which format they are coming and if we can use them straight away. In most cases this is possible, as our tool is able to handle a wide range of data. Then we already start the analysis and finally a customer report is being issued”, states Oliver Pettenpaul.

This customer report will highlight all Design Rule violations with range of values, current measurements, descriptions of consequences and suggested solutions.

“Customers often ask ‘what value does a re-work have for me’; ‘what costs can it save me to follow the findings of your analysis'. That is the reason why the report divides all findings in three different categories: Critical (Impacts product reliability/cost significantly), Recommended (Impacts product cost) and Design Improvement (Impacts product efficiency/documentations issues). In this way the customer knows exactly what an improvement or change can help him to achieve”, explains Mr Pettenpaul.

This article is part of a series:

Part 1: Flextronics SBS: a specialised organisation within a global company

Part 2: Lean manufacturing at Flextronics SBS

Part 3: Flextronics: BTO and CTO
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