The way to Use Panelization Planning to Save Cash and Assets

The way to Use Panelization Planning to Save Cash and Assets

On this interview, Siemens’ Patrick McGoff speaks with Nolan Johnson about methods to make the most of panelization planning to economize and assets.

Nolan Johnson: Patrick, please inform me about your position at Siemens.

Patrick McGoff: I’m the market improvement supervisor for the Valor division inside Siemens. I’ve the duty to market and do gross sales enablement for the worldwide account groups for the promotion of the Valor DFM merchandise.

Johnson: You co-authored a white paper titled Lowering PCB Costs with Material Utilization. Since we’re going to be speaking about how a design group can affect the panel for being extra effectivity in value financial savings, would you begin by defining what a panel is?

McGoff: There are two forms of panels used within the PCB business. Typically folks gravitate first to a fabrication panel as a result of that’s the very first thing they see for a product. However there’s truly two panels—the fabrication panel, which is used to fabricate the naked board after which there’s the meeting panel. The meeting panels are the items that undergo the meeting traces, the SMT traces to populate the PCBs. I make a distinction within the paper to distinguish between the 2 in order that as we’re discussing panels, folks don’t misunderstand which of the panels I’m talking about in that a part of the paper.

Johnson: The meeting panel is a subset of the fabrication panel, in different phrases.

McGoff: That’s appropriate. The meeting panel is what the design group or OEM expects again from the fabricator as a deliverable.

Johnson: The completed good from the fabricator.

McGoff: Appropriate.

Johnson: Then that meeting panel strikes down onto meeting. On the subject of optimization, then, designers have each panels to optimize.

McGoff: That’s appropriate. It’s essential to notice that it’s a two-step course of to actually optimize your product for materials utilization. The OEM is chargeable for its product prices. And all of us are inclined to kick the can down the road if anyone else is prepared to choose it up. We’re responsible of that in all elements of the electronics manufacturing stream. Panelization is a kind of subjects. Each fabricator on the market does a superb job of panelizing the design that they obtain for his or her functions. However their view of panels is completely different than what the OEM’s view is, particularly as you get into the meeting panel optimization. You may punt to the fabricators, they’ll panelize it, and so they’ll quote primarily based upon what you’ve offered them. Nonetheless, they aren’t capable of break down what you’re asking from them, the meeting panel configuration. They’re caught with, or handcuffed with, an oblong field that they’ve referred to as the meeting panel, and it behooves the OEM, the design group, to have a look at optimizing that meeting panel first, after which see the way it matches additionally in your fabricator’s panel sheet sizes.

Johnson: Why ought to a design group care concerning the panel?

McGoff: As a result of we’ve confirmed, and it’s documented within the paper, how there are substantial materials value financial savings if OEMs can have that view early within the course of and perceive the ramifications of what they’re sending to the fabricators.

Johnson: Okay. So first optimize for meeting panel then see how one can optimize that construction for fabrication. Does this course of iterate through the prep for manufacture?

McGoff: Nicely, it definitely does. The aim is to cease it from iterating. The backwards and forwards, we wish to remove the “again and.” We simply need them to do the “forth.” And simply to be clear, after we discuss optimizing for meeting, I wish to be sure that we’re clear on speaking about optimizing the fabric utilization for the meeting panel, so that individuals don’t mistake my remark for optimizing the choose and place time itself.

Johnson: A key distinction to make. The place and the way do the financial savings begin? Stroll us by way of the implications of listening to this. I occur to have a board fabrication background, and there have been loads of instances the place slightly bit of labor from the designer might have made an enormous distinction.

McGoff: Very a lot so. Within the paper I’ve an illustration of a U-shaped inflexible PCB. And it’s acquired an meeting panel introduced in every block of two. That meeting panel has been stepped and repeated into the fabrication panel to see the way it matches. Nicely, if an OEM despatched that over to the fabricator and the fabricator goes to say they’ve acquired nice materials utilization on an 18 by 24. It’s going to point out as I state within the paper, 58.9% utilization. You’re wanting to make use of as a lot materials of a panel as you’ll be able to, since you’re paying for the fabric prices there.

From the fabricator’s perspective they’re doing fairly good, however if you have a look at it when it comes to the precise complete floor space of that panel, the OEM is barely utilizing 18.7% of the fabric. They’re paying for 100% of the panel, however solely utilizing 18.7%. And in case you have a look at the subsequent illustration, it reveals how you should use the optimization utilities to nest that in an environment friendly method. And never simply to get a smaller footprint for a two-up array, but in addition permits for orientation adjustments as effectively, the place you’ll be able to have all of them oriented the identical or permit rotation as you see on this instance, 90 levels. They get much more materials utilization on the identical panel sheet dimension.

Johnson: That begins to make sense; utilization does rely upon who’s doing the counting.

McGoff: A designer can punt it to the fabricator. Like I mentioned, they’ll take that rectangular field you give them, and step and repeat it as effectively as they will, to allow them to do a aggressive quote. However after that time, they will’t contact it. They’ll’t break up that meeting panel. Now you’re caught with the fee. One of many sayings that I’ve is that designers assume they’re shopping for boards, however truly, they’re paying for panels. Does that make sense?

Johnson: You’re shopping for actual property, whether or not you utilize it or not.

McGoff: Precisely. And also you talked about a second in the past about how this may have potential value financial savings. You may have a look at it in a number of alternative ways. Lots of people assume I don’t have to optimize as a result of I’m simply constructing small lot sizes, and so it doesn’t have an effect on me. It’s completely true that the upper quantity you construct, the extra impression that is going to have for you, the extra financial savings it’s going to have. I’ll even say that now we have a few of our automotive and cell phone prospects that do that panel optimization earlier than they do format. They’re eager to see after they go to excessive quantity manufacturing whether or not that is going to present them the utmost materials utilization potential.

Johnson: Is the define coming from mechanical dimensions to which they’re laying out the panel?

McGoff: Precisely. Take into consideration automotive. You’re constructing 1,000,000 boards a 12 months. If they will have a look at a tab, for instance, after which ask, “Can I shave this by 1 / 4 inch or 100 mil? Is the dimension of that tab crucial? If I can rearrange one thing else, and I can due to this fact match 20 up on this panel as a substitute of 16, then it’s going to be price its weight in gold.” We’ve prospects doing excessive quantity, and clearly it is a no brainer to them. They’re those that gravitate to it first.

What I additionally attempt to illustrate by way of the examples in case research we’ve finished within the paper is present you that even in as few as a amount of 4 panels it will probably produce a value financial savings. We checked out this and the completely different PCBs from our prospects and mentioned, “Right here’s the amount that they’re constructing in, and the fee per PCB, utilizing a standard quantity for actual property right here. Even in as few as 4 panels it can save you by having this materials optimization.” It doesn’t must be a high-volume utility solely. It could actually apply to even these with small and medium quantity manufacturing runs.

Johnson: Is there some extent within the design cycle going from design to prototype to prep for manufacturing, the place it is sensible to actually begin to concentrate to the optimization?

McGoff: I believe that will be in a direct proportion to the volumes you’re going to construct. Like I mentioned, these high-volume folks will do it even earlier than format, and you’ll have something in-built prototype. Nonetheless, even prototype builds have to be cognizant of the way it’s going to be constructed. I contact on a associated topic within the paper about doing DFM on the panel configuration. Even with a prototype, you might have two boards back-to-back and the connectors are butting one another, and it might not be a possible development. So even in prototype you wish to have a look at the panelization.

Even at prototype, you could be having 20–25 boards constructed, and that would signify just a few panels. So even then there is a chance for value financial savings.

Johnson: So many variables are in play right here. Is there even a risk to quantify this? What sort of financial savings are we speaking about?

McGoff: I can present you on a spreadsheet (Determine 3)  

Johnson: Thanks.

McGoff: We took 4 completely different prospects’ designs, and we appeared on the quantity that they’re constructing in after which unfold this all out. We extracted it for every of them. We appeared on the panel sizes that had been used. We used a worth of 28 cents per sq. inch for the fabrication materials prices. We checked out what number of have been going to slot in that panel. The variety of panels wanted. And one of many issues together with your fabrication expertise, you’ll be able to hopefully recognize this remark, fabricators construct overage into just about each job that they tackle. The quantity of overage it depends upon the problem the expertise, and the urgency of the supply.

Whenever you have a look at the overage, what number of extra are there truly within the construct? In fact, the fabricators issue that into the quote that they’re giving the OEM. They know that if they should ship a sure variety of meeting panels, inside a given period of time, they do their evaluation of the problem and challenges. After which they are saying, “We’re going to want X quantity of overage for this.” We mirrored that and mentioned, “Based mostly on that, right here’s what number of actual panels they’re going to place into manufacturing.” Their fabrication prices are going to be outlined, prices per board. Then, the non-optimized prices present that as present state. The optimized prices are after we ran it by way of our software program. It reveals a decrease value per board. As a substitute of $10 and 89 cents, a board is $6 and 36 cents, a 41.6% financial savings for that construct and a $453 financial savings on the job. Does that make sense thus far?

Johnson: It does. And all of that after all falls by way of to the underside line for the venture.

McGoff: Precisely. And we are able to discuss revision spins, and what number of instances it’s important to undergo proto or small quantity ramp up earlier than you get to quantity. Every step makes a fabric distinction in value financial savings. We did this for every of the completely different applied sciences, extrapolated the amount, after which we got here up with a abstract tab right here. First part is for the primary PCB, the abstract knowledge. And the graph right here is value per PCB. The plain is that the upper quantity you get, the decrease value your PCB goes to be, since you don’t want as excessive share of overage to fulfill deliveries and so forth.

What some individuals are stunned to see is that it’s not a linear or easy curve, however the variations rely upon the precise configuration of the panel, and at some quantity factors you’re constructing additional boards simply since you’re utilizing a panel and also you don’t want all of boards on that final panel. So, that’s mirrored within the numbers right here. Concerning the fee per PCB, now we have a financial savings share that we’re displaying, a complete fabrication value financial savings, after which the precise variety of fabrication panels wanted.

That’s our knowledge behind our financial savings. That is the abstract that we gave within the article. You see the potential right here, and you’ll see the financial savings could be substantial. In the event you’re doing 100 boards per quarter, this says you’re going to save lots of roughly $42,000 per 12 months. The subsequent one says you’re going to save lots of near $300,000 per 12 months. It will get fairly substantial, and that’s not even the high-volume runners like automotive and cell phones.

Johnson: Proper. You’re speaking right here about 1,500 1 / 4 on this instance quantity two.

McGoff: Proper, lower than 5,000 a 12 months. Home equipment could possibly be a straightforward one there. One different factor I wish to emphasize is we ask the OEMs, “Would you modify your order portions and intervals in case you knew this info?” In the event you take anyone that solely wants 1,000 boards per quarter and also you appeared on the distinction on it at a thousand, it’s $4 and 70 cents, however at 600 it’s $4 and 66 cents. That’s not a giant financial savings, however you get the idea. Would you modify your order amount and intervals in case you might have a decrease value per PCB?

Johnson: What appears to be the shopper response to that concept?

McGoff: It will get them pondering. These are sometimes the engineers, not procurement. However after they perceive that the meeting panel impacts the utilization on the fabrication panel, then they do begin placing concentrate on it. It’s price them spending a while doing the hassle through the format course of, in addition to making a pitch for the software program with the fitting instruments. The panelization is a quick course of; in 15–20 minutes, you’ll be able to have an optimized knowledge file for the meeting panel that’s going to fulfill your goals.

Johnson: At one level I used to be pondering that that is simply an additional step within the design stream for a design group; one more factor that they want to try this historically they haven’t finished. Now they will take this optimization step on and be rather more efficient and rather more environment friendly total, which is nice for his or her margin of their profitability a lot later. However design engineers usually don’t assume that far down the road. You’re saying that that is one thing that now turns into just some minutes?

McGoff: Sure. Really, if you consider it, the designers are already doing a little type of panelization. Once they ship their dataset, their deliverable bundle to the fabricators, it’s not simply the information for the design, however it’s additionally drawings. They usually ship a drawing file of how they need that meeting panel to look. Now, it’s often simply that, a drawing file, a PDF, for instance. Then the fabricator takes that PDF, recreates that meeting panel in their very own CAM software program, sends it again by way of e mail to the OEM, and asks in the event that they acquired it proper. The designer says yea or nay, after which they’re off to the races. The designer is utilizing a mechanical CAD bundle, like AutoCAD, to create this meeting panel. Now it’s not optimized. It’s simply fundamental 2D drawing with annotation and dimensions, however they’re going by way of an effort exterior of their format device, and out of doors of their DFM device to create this meeting panel drawing as we speak.

What we’re saying is that in much less time you are able to do that since you additionally must put within the different options, which I imagine I discussed within the paper. You must put in different options, like the place do you wish to break tabs? And are you going to have tooling holes or fiducials which are vital for this meeting course of? The OEM is chargeable for defining these options within the drawing, and by doing it in the identical stream as your DFM device and taking, in essence, the identical period of time that it might have taken to place it into drawing on AutoCAD or one other mechanical CAD system, you are able to do it now and get an optimized outcome with no manufacturability points associated to DFM on the similar time.

Johnson: What’s in it for the fabricators and the meeting homes when their prospects use this device?

McGoff: For this meeting home, there’s not a lot in it for them. We’re not touching their course of. We’re affecting the fabric that’s used on the fabrication panel. It occurs as a subsequent step to be assembled, however we’re probably not affecting the meeting facet. The fabricators have value-add when it comes to their experience of the right way to course of and producer a PCB or panel. The duties of recreating a drawing are non-value added. They’re inefficient, and they’d all slightly be given golden knowledge to start with than commute utilizing people to interpret a drawing that oftentimes has deceptive dimensions or notes with conflicting knowledge as a result of it’s a boilerplate that was despatched. As a substitute of that inefficiency, they like to say, nice, you gave me good content material to start with. I can take it from right here and do my value-added engineering to arrange it for manufacturing.

Johnson: Unbelievable.

McGoff: You by no means wish to converse for anyone else, however over time if a fabricator sees {that a} given buyer has given them environment friendly knowledge, it’s potential that they might have decrease NRE prices in future quotes.

Johnson: Care to tease the conclusions from the paper, Patrick?

McGoff: It’s the concept that the OEMs are chargeable for the price of their merchandise, and everyone is taking a look at how to try this. I additionally make the purpose that we’ve all heard the phrase of shift-left, proper? Transferring issues earlier within the course of, the problem is what’s an inexpensive burden to shift left. We’re not asking the designers to do the fabrication panel format, with the venting, thieving, coupons, and such, the nomenclature they want. What we’re saying is, look, your fabricators work with a set variety of panel sizes particularly right here within the U.S., you understand what you’re working with right here. You’ve acquired the borders, all that’s well-defined, you’ll be able to have these in your libraries, and it checks all of all of them at one time. We’re not asking the designers to do the tooling—that’s the fabrication panel technology. We’re asking them to be extra environment friendly in what they’re already doing by having a device that facilitates that effectivity.

Johnson: I believe that’s a key distinction for the informal observer. This may occasionally seem like it’s one more step; It’s really not.

McGoff: Proper. We’re retaining it in the identical stream. And now the meeting panel is delivered as an information file, not as a drawing. So, the fabricator doesn’t must recreate that in his CAM system along with his panelization software program, he merely imports it, after which begins tooling.

Johnson: Patrick, thanks.