- Analysis : we have checked your data to make sure that it complies with the service you have chosen. If we have found any production issues we have provided you with detailed feedback.
- Single Image : we have rechecked all layers and made them ready for production.
Stage 3 - Make production panels and production tools
We now have a stack of orders that are ready to go into production.
Our business model is based on “order pooling”. We make our production more efficient by processing several different orders on the same production panel. More efficient production means lower prices for our customers, especially for prototype and small batch orders. Which orders can be pooled together? This depends on a lot of factors, and finding the right balance is our daily challenge.
We need to consider:
- Delivery term : we separate rush orders from standard delivery orders. If we put both on the same production panel we could find that all panels have rush orders on them. If every job becomes urgent, production efficiency goes down and our delivery performance is affected.
- Order size : we keep large and small orders apart. The higher the number of panels in a job, the longer it takes to process. Production planning becomes less flexible and again we risk deliveries.
- Copper distribution : we discussed this already in our earlier blogs about our new plating simulation tool and the Elsyca Intellitool Matrix plating project. We need to be sure that the designs we pool together don’t reduce each other’s plating quality.
- Classification/complexity of the boards : combining complex jobs with simpler jobs means that the final panel is more complex than it need be and so more expensive to produce. That’s why we have two different pooling services ‘STANDARD pool' for standard boards and 'TECH pool' for more complex boards.
- Technology: some technology options clearly can’t be combined with each other, for example different materials, copper weights and build-ups. In other cases combinations might reduce production efficiency or quality. For example we could in theory combine boards with different legend colors on a single production panel. In practice this would need two printing processes and two curing stages. We would lose time at the print stage and risk the quality if the panel went through too many heating/cooling cycles.
The final decision day by day on which orders are combined on which panel is made by highly skilled and experienced engineers. They have a growing number of software tools to help them to make the best decisions, and we are investing a lot of manpower and resources to develop even more powerful tools for the future.
Once the engineer has chosen the orders for the panel, how do we make it ready for production?