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Bridging the Gap: The Shift Left Movement in PCB Manufacturing


In the intricate landscape of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturing, designers and manufacturers often find themselves at odds due to delayed communication and a lack of upfront information exchange. However, the concept of "Shifting Left" is transforming this dynamic by bringing essential data and insights into the hands of designers much earlier in the design process.


Designers face frustration with prolonged wait times post-design for crucial information from manufacturers, including cost estimates, timelines, manufacturing feasibility, and component sourcing details. Conversely, manufacturers struggle with the time-consuming task of validating design data before providing responses on cost, timeline, and manufacturability, leading to inefficiencies and inaccuracies in the manufacturing process. 


Shifting Left aims to rectify these challenges by ensuring that designers have access to the right information at the right time, significantly earlier in the process. By pulling real-time pricing data, manufacturing insights, component pricing, and risk analysis into the design phase, designers can proactively address issues and optimize their designs for cost-effectiveness and manufacturability. This shift empowers designers to make informed decisions before Request for Quotations (RFQs), without needing an in-depth understanding of the intricate fabrication and assembly processes.


A pivotal tool in facilitating this shift is the Boardera platform. Boardera serves as a centralized hub for designers to onboard projects seamlessly to specific manufacturers and assemblers that leverage the platform. By leveraging platforms like Boardera, designers can streamline communication and collaboration with manufacturers, paving the way for smoother production processes and faster time-to-market.


However, failing to adopt a shift-left approach poses significant risks. The need to educate all designers about complex manufacturing processes can lead to delays, increased product costs, and more waste due to manufacturing PCBs with poorly defined requirements.

Ultimately, by embracing Shifting Left and leveraging real-time pricing data, insights, and DFM/DFA considerations early in the design process, designers can optimize the entire PCB manufacturing process. This proactive approach not only reduces risks but also accelerates innovation, driving efficiency and competitiveness in the PCB industry as a whole.

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