What’s New in PCBflow – Release Highlights

We’ve collected a list of important new features and functionality so you can see what has changed since your last visit. 

    December 2023

    Online DFM Profile Builder (Beta)

    Create a basic fabrication DFM profile quickly using the online DFM profile builder, available now in the manufacturer tools area.
    The simple online builder walks you through setting up custom values and creating your first fabrication DFM profile.
    You can keep the profile private, restrict access to your PCBflow connections or make it public for others to use in DFM analysis.
    Edit your basic DFM profiles online or download them for enhancement offline in your ADM.

    Remember: ONLY YOU can download your DFM profiles for offline review or editing.

    Online Viewer update

    Our DFM results viewer and board viewer have a new, tidy look and feel! Navigation and display tools are now easier to find and understand. Activate the tutorial to get a quick tour of the new icons.

    3D Viewer (Beta version)

    View your designs in 3D! Rotate, zoom, pan, measure and visualize information of the design features. Access the tool from the PCBflow homepage or from the project ‘Design’ tab.

    • Display feature/component information in the online viewer
    • Click on any feature in the online viewer to display important information about it.

    Lock zoom in DFM results viewer

    • Use the lock zoom tool to lock the current zoom level & location as you navigate through DFM results.
    • Click the icon again to unlock and restore automatic zoom & pan.

    Delete design and BOM files from project

    Use the delete icon to delete unwanted design or BOM files from your project. Note, you will need to upload new data to the project to perform additional DFM analysis.

    Price, Quote and Order your projects

    Get a price estimate for your projects in a few seconds, using the QuickPrice tool from the home page or from within a project. Proceed to a full price quote and order using the handy link in the QuickPrice estimate. Manufacturers who want to become a QuickPrice provider can contact us at info@pcbflow.com

    August 2023

    Get help when you need it!

    If your analysis fails for any reason, help is only a click away. You will be prompted to share your project with the PCBflow support team so to get you back on track as quickly as possible.

    Display feature/component information in the online viewer

    • Click on any feature in the online viewer to display important information about it.

    Filter DFM results by component

    In the online results viewer, selecting any component will automatically filter the DFM results to display only issues related to that component. Reset the results filter to restore the default view.

    Flag your favorite results

    Mark your “favorite” results as you review your online DFM report. Later you can filter to review only the flagged results or reset the flags.

    Stackup Editor for all designs

    After uploading a design to PCBflow, it is converted to ODB++ format and saved in your project.
    Now you can use the PCBflow Stackup Editor to adjust the layer type, copper weight/thickness, dielectric thickness, polarity and drill span.

    • To start the editor, go to the ‘design’ tab in your project and click on the Edit icon.

    Improved reporting of Netlist Shorts

    PCBflow netlist analysis was adjusted to improve reporting of shorts, based on our customer feedback.

    Create and download a selective report of flagged DFM results

    Now that you can add a flag to mark your favorite DFM results, we added the option to create and download a selective report of *only* the result you flagged.

    • Download is available in both Excel and PDF formats.

    Access your tenantID

    Your unique tenant information is now available when you click on your initials in the left navigation bar of PCBflow. You may be asked to provide this information when requesting support or if you choose to delete your account.

    Update your company profile

    Show off your company on PCBflow! New options are available to display what your company does and who you are. Take a minute now to refresh your company profile information including business type and contact information, then make sure to add your company to the PCBflow network so others can see you and contact you to collaborate on projects.

    April 2023

    Approval required to join the network.

    Starting April 4, 2023, all companies are subjected to an approval process to be visible in the PCBflow network. To join the network, provide the required information in your Company Profile and submit your request.
    The approval process is fast, but in some cases may take up to a few days. You will receive notification when your request is approved or if there are additional details required.
    As part of this change, some PCBflow accounts were pre-approved to ensure continuity of service. If your company was pre-approved without completing all required information, please open your Company Profile and complete the missing information now.

    DFM profile selection made easy

    Its important to select the right DFM profile when you run DFM analysis. Now you can easily see all the manufacturers that are offering their DFM profile for you to use.

    Use these 3 easy steps:

    1. Run your DFM.
    2. Choose your DFM partner.
    3. Select the right profile.

    Of course, you can still choose a generic DFM profile provided by Siemens.

    Download DFM results in Excel format

    You can now download your DFM results to Excel format for offline review.
    In the online viewer, choose between PDF and Excel format.

    Click to contact your DFM partner

    Its now easier than ever to contact your DFM partner – the people who set up your DFM rules.

    • Contact information now appears at the top of the online report viewer, and on the project report tile.
    • Click to automatically start an e-mail to the right people.

    Reminder: make sure your company contact information is up-to-date so that its just as easy to find you!

    Auto-create dielectric layers for Gerber data

    Gerber data lacks dielectric layers, so we added a button to auto-create a single dielectric layer between all inner layers.
    You’ll find the button in our stackup editor. Make sure to set the correct thickness for the dielectric layers that are added (default .001 mil).

    Upload accessory project files

    Upload and store up to 10 additional files with each project, in the Files tab.
    Use these files to easily pass additional information to your manufacturing partner, such as fab drawings, project specifications, readme files and more.
    Accepted formats: .pdf, .doc,.xls, .png, .jpg, .txt, .dxf, .dwg

    Easier BOM Pricing and Sourcing

    Get instant, accurate component pricing and availability information with the BOM Pricing and Sourcing tool. The new interface makes it easier to understand the important information that this tool provides. Upload your BOM file in Excel format. Change selection of preferred suppliers at any time, and the results will be updated automatically.

    Spare parts marked in BOM Pricing and Sourcing.

    If you decide to buy more parts than you need in order to get a better price, we provide a handy calculation of how many spare parts you will be left with.

    New company tags: “DFM Provider” and “QuickPrice”

    Companies can earn tags for providing an original DFM profile and for becoming a QuickPrice provider.
    The tags “DFM profile” and “QuickPrice” appear on the company card and can be used to search for a manufacturer in the network.
    Manufacturers – now is a good time set up your DFM profile from Manufacturer Tools, and add your QuickPrice URL to your company profile.

    DFM Checks explained

    We provide a searchable, comprehensive list of DFM checks that are available in PCBflow.
    Note – not all DFM profiles are set to contain all checks but now it is easy to see which checks could be part of your DFM analysis.

    Improved analysis progress bar

    We value your time! The analysis progress bar has been improved to give a more accurate indication of how much work has already been completed and how much is left.
    Remember, you can continue to work in PCBflow while your DFM analysis runs. We’ll notify you when its finished.

    February 2023

    Simplified BOM manager

    Reviewing your BOM before advanced assembly analysis is important, and it just got easier and more intuitive. Our new BOM interface gives you clear instructions and simplified tools to make sure you are using the right parts.

    Expanded Company Cards in Network

    Companies can now supply more detailed information including a list of DFM profiles and their descriptions.
    Search for your preferred manufacturer in the network and run DFM directly from the Company Card.

    Additional DFM Profile information

    Description and Industry were added to DFM Profile, enabling easier selection of the correct DFM profile when running analysis.

    Manufacturers, update your DFM profiles now!

    DFM Report – Dockable results widget

    DFM report results are now shown in a dockable widget. Display the results anywhere on your screen so that you don’t block the view. Pin the results to the bottom of the window when you want to keep things tidy.

    Introducing Fast Track DFM

    Complete your DFM analysis more quickly by allowing PCBflow to automatically select a default (generic) DFM profile.
    In assembly analysis, standard VPL part geometry will be used and analysis will run without any manual intervention required.
    For more control, you can activate the “Advanced options” to manually select your preferred manufacturer DFM profile and review part geometry before continuing with analysis.

    August 2022

    This release introduces three new features that facilitate and speed design review and price estimation processes. Now a wider range of users can preview printed circuit board (PCB) designs and perform design for manufacturing (DFM). Complete your DFM analysis more quickly by allowing PCBflow to automatically select a default (generic) DFM profile.
    In assembly analysis, standard VPL part geometry will be used and analysis will run without any manual intervention required.
    For more control, you can activate the “Advanced options” to manually select your preferred manufacturer DFM profile and review part geometry before continuing with analysis.
    Additionally, users can now easily and quickly create accurate price estimates using manufacturers’ pricing information available from within PCBflow.

    Benefits:

    • Saves time and costs in the design-to-manufacturing handoff process by addressing manufacturability challenges
    • Enables anyone to easily preview designs and perform DFM analysis – even users without access to ODB++ or IPC2581
    • Connects designers with manufacturers to perform DFM based on specific manufacturing capabilities
    • Enables designers to get accurate price estimates, immediately
    • Provides a secure, cloud-based, collaborative environment with no IT investment

    Features:

    Support for Gerber 274x format, this enables users to:

    • Easily upload compressed Gerber 274x design files
    • Use the intuitive PCBflow Stackup Manager to specify additional critical design details
    • Drag and drop layer position, select layer type, add copper weight, polarity, and drill layer information
    • Quick Pricing powered by Boardera

    View Full Release Notes

    Accelerating design-to-manufacturing handoff

    As a cloud-based tool, PCBflow requires no installation or configuration. Designers can simply upload ODB++Design files into the secure cloud environment and select one or more manufacturers to apply process capabilities to the DFM analysis.
    PCBflow even supports flex and rigid-flex DFM analysis. PCBflow provides an interactive online viewer that enables drill-down and investigation of design faults, secure in-app sharing and collaboration, and a downloadable PDF report.

    PCBflow guides designers through the manufacturability design errors, including manufacturing risk analysis. DFA analysis enables BOM validation based on manufacturer part numbers using the Valor Part Library Database and exposes component placement problems and potential assembly issues. In addition, PCBflow allows designers to review and track updates in the context of design violations, minimizing back-and-forth with manufacturing partners and making it simple to validate and optimize designs. Users can see, pan, zoom and navigate through all board layers, seeing all details, including component geometry. They can easily fully investigate the DFM analysis with an interactive result viewer that automatically zooms to the location of the result being investigated.
    Designers can easily and securely upload ODB++, IPC2581 and Gerber 274x designs to PCBflow and run comprehensive DFM analysis instantly, online, at any time.
    Get accurate price estimates, immediately PCBflow instantly shows updated cost and availability information for the components in a Bill of Materials (BOM), using the BOM Pricing and Sourcing tool. PCB designers can use the QuickPrice function (powered by Boardera) to receive instant, accurate price estimates within PCBflow for the manufacturing and assembly of their projects.   Manufacturers can easily become qualified QuickPrice providers in PCBflow and receive notification each time a price estimate is requested.

    Features

    • Fast and easy – fabrication DFM analysis in two simple steps.
    • Smart, self-explanatory, and interactive – DFM report includes filtering, statistics, summary tables and error grouping.
    • Design for assembly (DFA) for manufacturer specific BOM validation and identification of component placement and manufacturing violations.
    • Easy zooming and navigation through all board layers, as well as interactive viewing of DFM results, powered by Valor Parts Library.
    • Support for Gerber 274x files – enabling upload, preview, editing and DFM analysis by users who lack access to ODB++ or IPC2581.
    • Immediate and accurate price estimates, using QuickPrice powered by Boardera.
    • Easy, secure, in-app collaboration and downloadable PDF report.
    • Powered by the Valor NPI engine, an industry standard for DFM analysis.
    • Secure cloud environment, PCBflow adheres to the strict Security standards of Siemens software, including ISO27001 certification.

Keep reading

PDF Presentation

PCB Design Best Practices, by Stephen V. Chavez.

November 8, 2022

Investment up front pays off in the long term. Design teams must deliver more complex products on even more compressed schedules, but they lose valuable time with unproductive tasks. Connect them through all engineering disciplines and give them best-in-class solutions to thrive with a collaborative approach to Electronic Systems Design. By Stephen V. Chavez, MIT, CID+, CPCD

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Video - The State of DFM

PCBflow is bridging the design and manufacturing ecosystems.

September 20, 2022

Key market trends and challenges for electronics manufacturing, and the value of moving DFM validation to the cloud. As the pace of innovation accelerates, it’s more important than ever to “shift left” and perform Design for Manufacturing Analysis (DFM), starting early in the design stage, eliminating the need for multiple revisions and respins.

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Article - Cloud-based pricing

Reduce time and uncertainty in the PCB NPI process.

August 1, 2022

To reduce the significant overhead costs and provide a competitive value-added service to their customers, the largest manufacturers have started investing in their own online solutions. Another related trend worth noting is electronics designers’ desire for a self-serve solution that answers the question “Who can handle my project requirements and how much will it cost?”

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Survey

Customer satisfaction is always our priority!

November 8, 2022

We are always working to make PCBflow exactly what your business needs. Your feedback helps us decide which features to build and what improvements to make on our platform, to make it the best it can be we want your feedback! Please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.

Read More

Barriers to shifting DFM to design

Simulation and digital twins have enabled designers to do more up front, analyzing and testing their designs, conducting virtual prototyping with many iterations, for many aspects of the design before it goes to manufacturing. The number of NPIs is growing exponentially as the demand for electronics is increasing across all industries.

Procurement for PCB fabrication is important, but it also crucial that the PCB design can be done by the fabricator. Without direct communication between the designer and fabricator during the design stage, the designer finds out that the product does not comply with the manufacturer’s constraints, or a fabricator discovers that they are unable to fabricate it, late in the process. Both designers and manufacturers say this is the main source for project delays, business loss, as well as low closing rate and manufacturing capacity.

Access this White Paper

Knowledge Articles

Article

What can I do in PCBflow

September 14, 2022

This article describes what you can do in PCBflow as a Designer and as a Manufacturer.

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Article

Can I prevent the exposure of our thresholds in the DFM report?

September 14, 2022

This article describes exposure prevention of thresholds in the DFM report.

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Article

As a manufacturer, can I provide PCBflow DFM reports to my customers?

September 14, 2022

This article explains the ability to share DFM reports with others.

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Article

Who pays for the DFM analysis?

September 14, 2022

Running a DFM analysis using PCBflow's default settings (that is, the buit-in DFM profile) is free.

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Article

Which configuration does PCBflow use for its DFM analysis?

September 14, 2022

This article describes the configuration used by PCBflow for its DFM analysis.

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Article

What DFM engine does PCBflow run on?

September 12, 2022

This article describes the DFM engine used to run PCBflow

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Article

Is the SaaS application ITAR/export control compliant?

September 12, 2022

This article explains whether the SaaS application is ITAR/export control compliant or not.

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Article

Why am I unable to sign into my SaaS application after the initial purchase order or contract?

September 12, 2022

This article explains basic troubleshooting steps for accessing your SaaS application.

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Here's what our clients say about us.

Roberto Campri, Elco, Corporate Asia Manager

Digitization has led to a different way of thinking.  You can do things in new, previously unimaginable ways. Elco has used PCBflow to help various customers streamline their design process and plans to continue using PCBflow with customers in the future.

Mauro Sandri, CEO, Elco

DFM software tools are generally expensive. Using PCBflow is a game changer in the DFM field, as it is affordable enough to allow companies of all sizes to adopt DFM best practices.

Pavel Yankovich, Sintecs

PCBflow directly connects PCB designers with manufacturers and assemblers. Checking for compliance with the technological requirements of the definite manufacturer or assembler allows for preventing the occurrence of potential problems before placing an order and adjusting the project. A simple and intuitive interface with an utterly easy workflow helps to start using PCBflow with no time losses.

Peter Fruehauf, Project Manager, Siemens CT

Especially designers in small and medium businesses should run a DFM analysis as well, because otherwise they would make PCB designs, which are actually not manufacturable.

Tamir Hazan, Owner, Speed – Board Electronics Ltd.

For PCB designers, project sharing is very important. Designers and manufacturers should be able to work with OES. PCBflow allows that.

Evgeny Makhline, Nistec CTO

With PCBflow, manufacturers can prevent losses related to false production, reduce repairs by 80% and free up to ~600 engineering and quality hours per year – hours that can be invested in innovation and improvement

Martin Franke, Business Development Electronics, Siemens CT

A manual check always includes the risk of overlooking things. But, using this tool, you have an automatic iteration between the PCB fabricator on one hand and the designer on the other hand. The report hepls us to improve the process in two ways: first of all, time, but also quality.