Features, News, Parts Placement

Simplifying the PCB Ordering Process

New Solutions to an Old School Industry

We’re always looking for new ways to make the PCB ordering process easier and more efficient.  An ongoing challenge is that many commonly used software applications and file formats within the manufacturing industry aren’t designed for modern automated manufacturing, thereby forcing PCB designers or account managers to fill in the gaps when critical information is missing.

One of the most time-consuming examples of this is assuring the correct orientation of components. Between how components are defined on the datasheet, drawn in your EDA tool, and physically packaged on a carrier, a lot of time and care must go into ensuring that components remain correctly orientated. An especially frustrating example is LEDs: some manufacturers consider pin 1 to be the cathode, others the anode, and there isn’t a clear standard in the industry that everyone follows to make sure these parts are oriented correctly.

MacroFab’s Automated Component Orientation

We decided the best way to solve the parts placement problem is to remove the burden of component orientation from our customers. All we ask is that you verify that the centroid data (center location) of your component is correct, and our automated manufacturing platform will take on the work of setting the orientation for you. Our backend system will analyze the silkscreen, paste data, and interconnectivity to determine the most likely orientation with a final quality check from one of our highly skilled assembly techs before final production.

If you wish to override your silkscreen, or if a component can have multiple likely orientations and you’d like to orient it in a non-standard way (such as a FFC connector facing inwards), you can let us know by adding a part specific note. For all other major corrections, you will need to edit the source data in your EDA or tool of choice, and re-upload on the Design Files screen.

For a full write-up on this new feature, please visit the help doc: The Parts Placement Screen

Tell us what you think about this new feature. Shoot us a tweet @macrofab. If you have any questions, feature requests, or feedback, don’t hesitate to let us know.