How to Manage Manufacturing Releases

Does the Release Process to Manufacturing Keep You Up at Night?

Have you ever finished generating the manufacturing release package for the latest product design and then it occurred to you that something may be wrong?  Imagine, it’s Thursday night and you just finished a nice dinner with the family. Your daughter’s soccer team won and the Broncos are playing the Chiefs tonight. It will be great to relax and enjoy the game.

But did Katelyn say she put the final PCB design file in the release folder or in the project workspace? Better check that in the morning. Wait a minute, Danny said that the engineering team verified the schematic with the PCB design file in the workspace. But where did Katelyn put the latest PCB design? The manufacturing files could be all wrong!

Does this sound familiar?

Universal Issues

Managing manufacturing release packages has become a concern for just about all of us. If you get the manufacturing release package wrong, the boards will be bad and the costs will be significant.

So many things can go wrong:

  • Are the board and schematic in sync?
  • Are there procurement or lifecycle issues with any of the components used in the design?
  • Are we sure that the design files used to generate the outputs are the right ones?
  • Are all the required manufacturing documents in place?
  • Was the package fully validated before we released it?
  • Is my process repeatable?

These concerns are shared by companies of all sizes regardless of design complexity.

Some of the documentation pieces that are required can be quite complex in nature. The final viewable requirement could necessitate combining a set of standardized notes and images for sheet 1, panelized 4-up fabrication drawing for sheet 2 and a 1-up assembly at 2X for sheet 3. Just to make things a bit more interesting, the packages for manufacturing, test, inspection, purchasing, component engineering, documentation, procurement and PLM release have different file content and need to be placed in a different “pick-up” location on the corporate network. Producing the final output package at the end of the design cycle can be a daunting task.

Is there a BETTER way?

All these issues occur at the handoff point from engineering to manufacturing. They all take place at the end of the “Work-in-Process” (WIP) stage of a design cycle. ERP/PDM/PLM systems are very good at managing the content for manufacturing (e.g., software, mechanical and electrical). But they need to get the content from the design team. And it must be correct.

What if the design team could automate the generation of the manufacturing release package? What if the process was repeatable and reliable? You could be confident the package contents were accurate and deposited in the proper location. Design Data Management systems such as Zuken’s DS-2 product family were created for this. Our upcoming webinar called “Does the Release to Manufacturing Process Keep You Up at Night?” explores how to create and execute a repeatable manufacturing release process. Join us on Wednesday for the webinar, then you can relax a bit on Thursday night and actually enjoy the game.

Written by

Shawn Larson is a Technical Marketing Manager with over 30 years’ experience in the EDA industry. For the last 15 years, his focus has been on Electronic and Electrical Engineering Product Data Management (e-PDM). Shawn has deployed numerous enterprise-class engineering data management systems and is considered an expert in this area. For fun, Shawn enjoys hiking the White Mountains, an occasional marathon and good Jazz.

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