Design for Testing PCBs: Ensuring Lead Time, Quality and Price

One of the key success factors in this process is often overlooked: the need for testing.

Many manufacturers of mechanical products are making their products smart by switching to electronic drives. One of the key success factors in this process is often overlooked: the need for testing.

Here’s why this is so important.

Manufacturers usually have no trouble producing the first few – smaller – batches. But when the time comes to switch to larger-scale production, they often face unexpected challenges. In fact, those challenges mostly turn out to be key success factors. Testing may be the most important of them, as lead time, expenses and – your responsibility – quality fail to meet expectations without testing PCBs properly.

More data, fewer errors

Testing is even more important for electronic products than for their mechanical counterparts. From soldering quality up to and including component mixing: all these aspects contribute to the lead time, costs and quality of both the product and the production process.

Why? Because testing PCBs reduces the probability of defective products and – by extension – the number of return shipments.

PCB Product Design for Testing

However, since it also leads to valuable data and insights that can help to improve both the product and the production process, we at Semecs endorse the use of both Design for Manufacturing (DfM) and Design for Testing (DfT). During this stage, we will review together how the PCB can be designed in such a way as to optimize it for testing.

Needless to say, it’s not our role to second-guess the product designer. The challenge is to come up with the most effective solution together.

High-quality EMS testing platform

We believe that testing PCBs involves a lot more than performing a handful of one-off functional tests. In our view, it’s all about optimizing the PCB and (by implication) ensuring product quality. Even before we start the production process, we want to be able to say: these are the optimum conditions to ensure  lead time, quality and even price.

This is why we have developed a high-quality EMS testing platform called NedFlex®. The data and insights this platform delivers are invaluable to us, and by sharing these with you we can work together on developing a PCB that is optimized for your product.

High-quality EMS testing platform


Is testing PCBs a mere overhead? Far from it: the investment is sure to pay off. None of our clients produce anything without extensively testing the product first.

That’s why we think that engineers and purchasers should pay extra attention to the testing stage when switching to electronic drives. Not only for the benefit of the product and the process, but also for the benefit of you as a professional that is fully in control.

What next?

This article is a derivative of our white paper about switching from mechanical to electronic drives. Next to testing PCBs, it also discusses:

  • Adapting the product design and PCB design for mass production
  • Selecting components that will remain available in the (immediate) future
  • Making sure your PCB is not a ‘black box’, which would complicate modification


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