PCB Design for Manufacturing

CR-8000 DFM Center

DFM Center is a comprehensive manufacturing preparation and output solution supporting panelization and common output formats.

DFM Center enables designers to handle the increasing complexity and diversity of today’s PCBs, while ensuring high final product quality, and accurate outputs for the manufacturing processes. With a robust set of features for data preparation and embedded verification to ensure manufacturing specifications are met, DFM Center addresses the challenges of the manufacturing process.

DFM Elements

The production of accurate manufacturing data is critical in achieving rapid time-to-market and high product quality. Zuken’s DFM tools provide manufacturing audits and outputs to ensure that boards are built correctly the first time. They support the latest manufacturing technologies, including build-up boards, HDI and embedded components.

DFM Elements is used for fabrication and assembly drawing creation, manufacturing verification, CAM output and panel design. DFM Elements’ graphical user interface enables you to carry out all of these functions with the same operational look and feel as Design Force.

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DFM Elements provides support for both layout and manufacturing data, allowing manufacturing features to be easily integrated into the design. Non-conductive patterns may be added during manufacturing preparation, with the manufacturing rules database monitored in real-time during the process.

Fabrication and Assembly Drawing Creation and Management

Formats, text, and dimensions are all easily managed using the various DFM Elements drawing functions. The drawing functions also include scale by area and generate hole drawing. Scale by area can be used to create either a rectangular or a circular scaled figure, with support for both scaling up and scaling down. Generate hole drawing will quickly generate information for all holes in the board or panel, including holes in child boards, child panels, or grandchild boards.

Manufacturing Verification

DFM Elements includes an Advanced Design Rules Check For Manufacturability (ADM) client that provides manufacturing checks which support both partial and full design audits. The checks can be run locally from your desktop or from an ADM check server. DFM Elements data can also be read into Zuken’s CR-8000 DFM Center for extended manufacturing checks.

CAM Outputs

Outputs include photo (RS-274D and RS-274X), drill (Excellon2, G81, Hitachi), DXF, ODB++ and IPC-2581. Since DFM Elements uses the same database as Zuken’s PCB Design tool (Design Force), the CAM data output can be compared with the source data to verify that all information has been properly extracted.

Panel Creation and Management

Powerful functions allow efficient design of manufacturing panels. Rules are dynamically checked during the design cycle including carrier rail clearances, child-to-panel clearances and child-to-child clearances. Single, multiple or mixed PCBs may be mounted in the same panel, and boards can be flipped to accommodate copper consistency across the panel. Automatic surface generation allows the panel to be flooded with copper and meshed.

Advanced Design Rule Checking

Zuken’s ADM system checks that designs have been produced in accordance with component mounting and manufacturing specifications early in the design process, and concurrently as the work progresses. The system facilitates sharing personal expertise using your company’s Intranet and it efficiently manages the growing number of design rule checks needed to ensure manufacturability. ADM will help you maintain all parameters needed for checking and, when changes are made to manufacturing specifications and mounting processes, rules can be easily changed and checks modified to take account of the changes. The whole process therefore becomes front-end driven, sharing data in real-time across all departments, divisions, and companies involved in the design and development of an electronic product.

Manufacturing Checks

Complex checking of PCB manufacturability early in the design process can be carried out using the ADM system. This facilitates checking that the design has been carried out in conformance with both manufacturing and component mounting specifications. The system enables the sharing of personal expertise across the enterprise. It efficiently manages the growing number of checking tasks and maintains all the parameters needed for checking. When changes are made in manufacturing specifications and mounting processes, rules can be easily changed and checks can be executed accordingly.

A Rule Manager enables real-time sharing of specifications, including manufacturing requirements, across design teams, locations and companies. This is supplied in the form of a web application running in industry-standard browsers. Design standards documents can also be used as an electronic data format across an Intranet.

Data Builder enables highly segmented and detailed rules to be defined, based on manufacturing and mounting specifications. It uses systematic checks and if CAD properties are insufficient, these are automatically added to.

Real-time data-to-data confirmation is carried out using an XDF Viewer, replacing the more costly and less accurate paper or PDF files.

In the design and production of electronic products, manufacturability checks are difficult to perform manually and are often made after the design process is complete. However, the increasing costs and design/production delays caused by higher signal speeds, ecological problems and increasing global design collaboration, make this approach unsustainable.

CR-8000 Design Rule Checks


Design iterations are reduced because checks are run as design work progresses and problems are identified early in the design cycle. Design time and costs are reduced through faster design reviews, fully documented checks and the ability to set-up checks and rules that are specific to the manufacturing processes and equipment in use. Product quality is improved through consistency checks that minimize the risk of human error.

Rules are comprehensive and customizable and the knowledge gained with each design is accumulated into knowledge database that benefits all future designs.

Products are manufactured right-the-first-time reducing time-to-market and time-to-volume.

ADM Check Engine

The ADM check engine can handle more than 900 individual checks in 88 groups. These cover both bare board manufacturability and component mounting checks. The check items are set up in collaboration with customers to meet their specifications and it is even possible to automate the visual check process. Once implemented, there are substantial time and resource savings in the checking and verification process. The results are both highly accurate and much less dependent upon the individual skills of operators. Design checks are carried out simultaneously with the design process without affecting the speed or efficiency of design work.

ADM Rule Manager

The Rule Manager at the heart of the ADM system contains more than 900 rules and is accessible via a standard web browser. Design and manufacturing parameters, held in an XML database, are downloaded via this familiar interface. The user can add information to the rules.

Because the data is held in a common, central database, updatable in real time, constraints are always based on the latest available information for the production machines in use. The system facilitates accurate, efficient communications between the PCB manufacturer and the assembly plant, between OEMs and design bureaus, and between the OEM’s headquarters and subsidiaries. Rules are presented in an easy to understand format that does not demand CAD experience to interpret. Unlimited combinations of design specifications, including place of production and production methods and materials, can be effectively managed using the Rule Manager.


Flex Circuits Stretch the Limits of Technology

A customer recently asked me if CR-8000 Design Force could support stretchable flex designs. At first, I found the question odd, until they shared their intent: wearable electronics. The idea of wearable electronic products like head and wrist bands sparked an interesting conversation and piqued my interest.


Webinar: What is a Stretch-Rigid Circuit and How Do You Design It?

This webinar will explore the technology requirements and implementation best practices behind Stretchable Circuits, also known as Stretch-Rigid.  A number of industries including wearables, health and medical devices are taking advantage of this emerging technology. If you are new to Stretch-Rigid or are interested in design best practices, please join us for this webinar.


Webinar: Explore a Modern PCB Panelization Process

This webinar will explore the benefits of a modern PCB panelization process that can lower manufacturing costs and give your control of the DFM process as soon as the actual board outline is determined. Learn how you can start with a PCB design that is still in the layout phase and instantiate it into a panel. We will explain what items are part of the PCB design and what items should be designed into the panel such as routing and v-cut details.


Zuken and Polar Instruments Collaborate to Achieve Design Consistency from Prototype to Volume Production

Polar Instruments and Zuken announce a direct link between Speedstack, Polar’s PCB layer stackup design and documentation tools, and Zuken CR-8000 Design Force and DFM Center.


Developing an Integrated Electronics Manufacturing Process

Historically, companies like Lockheed Martin and Fujitsu design the boards and contract with suppliers like Sanmina to build and test them. Inevitably, issues arise during manufacturing that necessitate back and forth communication and design changes. Lacking a proper standard to facilitate bi-directional information flows, suppliers resort to ad-hoc and often inefficient means such as e-mail and phone calls to relay these design changes. It is the subsequent manual transcription and reentry of this data – and the error-prone nature of the task – that wastes time and money for both the OEMs and the PCB manufacturers.


CR-8000 2018 Boosts Process Efficiency in Advanced Single and Multi-board PCB Design

The latest release of Zuken’s system-level PCB design environment, CR-8000, has received numerous enhancements aimed at ensuring performance, quality and manufacturability.


Webinar: Improve Flex PCB Manufacturing Productivity with Better DFM Checks

This webinar will discuss the challenges of producing a manufacturable Flex design as well as provide information on a tool based solution to address these challenges. Flex designs create challenges for most PCB tools in that the traditional PCB object checks do not account for the nuances of Flex checks.


Proliferation of New Manufacturing Technologies Challenges Design for Manufacturability

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can easily feel like a kid in a candy store with so many recently developed manufacturing technologies to choose from. There’s flex boards, rigid flex hybrids, chip on board, embedded components, low temperature co-fired ceramic, to name a few. Each of these technologies offers its own unique mix of functionality, cost, size, weight, delivery time and other benefits.


Predictive Failure Analysis Can Improve Product Quality

We all know that manufacturing yields and costs are the driving force behind product development, rather than product quality. You can buy a Design for Manufacturing (DFM) tool, but try buying a Design for Quality tool – good luck! The best way of measuring product quality is finding out how your product performs in the hands of the customer. But measuring product performance, and quantifying quality, is difficult at best for most products.

    Improve Flexible Printed Circuit Manufacturing Productivity with Better DfM Checks

    Datasheet: Advanced Design for Manufacturing (ADM)

    In the design and production of electronic products, manufacturability checks are difficult to perform manually and are often made after the design process has been completed.