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DFM Throughout Your Design Cycle

Studies show that 70-80% of the quality and manufacturing yield of your PCB comes from design, not manufacturing. A well planned and thoughtful design can prevent many problems in manufacturing and give you a more reliable and manufacturable product. Furthermore, finding and fixing design errors become orders of magnitude more expensive as your design proceeds through the manufacturing process. As a result, it pays to catch manufacturability issues as early in the process as possible. Sunstone Circuits offers multiple check systems for you to increase your odds of achieving a working prototype on the first build spin. Let's take a look at the tools available to you.

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DFM Add-Ons

DFM Add-Ons are the start of the process. Sunstone has captured their most common manufacturing capabilities in rules files loadable into some of the most common PCB CAD tools. With the DFM Add-On files loaded, your CAD system's integrated DRC checker will report design issues real-time. You'll find that the Add-Ons not only reduce the errors you find later, but will also speed up your work by flagging violations before you commit them to your design file. Benefits to users of the DFM Add-On include:

  • Reduced costs – Helps eliminate design errors early in the design process, minimizing the need for costly corrections later.
  • Reduced time – Design a PCB more quickly by utilizing an existing rule deck instead of users creating their own.
  • Process simplification – Relieve pain points in the design process by following a rule deck every step of the way.

With the DFM Add-On, our EAGLE customers can verify that their design is in compliance with our DFM guidelines at every step of the design process. The Add-Ons help solve the historical issue of end users having to write their own interpretation of the fabrication vendor’s rules, a process that often leads to errors that are not discovered until late in the design process, thus making them expensive problems to fix. 


With Sunstone's free to use DFMplus (Design for Manufacturability) tool, you can submit your final design file through our online DFM portal. DFMplus offers a unique, human-inspected DFM report for when your project really needs a high degree of scrutiny. Quality and accuracy in this area cannot be automated and with our attention to detail and a customized response, we deliver accurate issue resolutions in a customized comprehensive report. This report will not only help you determine which of our manufacturing services is most appropriate for your design specifics, but it will also help you look forward to production, flagging details in your current design that may cause yield or reliability issues later. DFMplus is available through your Sunstone My Account section. All of your reports will be available in your My Account section as well.


The Human Touch

Complementing the software tools, Sunstone Circuits also offers sophisticated human-inspection services when your project really needs high degrees of scrutiny.   

Production Design Reviews  

An optional service available through our CAM department. In coordination with a DFMplus report, our manufacturing experts will deliver a hit list of items to fix in your board and how to effect those fixes.   

Engineering Design Review (NRE)

Our trained staff will evaluate your design, order form selections and your print notes and make sure that what you will receive is accurate and does not contain any areas that may lead to issues.  Engineering Review (required for PCBpro and Custom orders) is an optional service performed by our CAM department and is selectable on the quote form. Also here, in coordination with a DFMplus report, our manufacturing experts will deliver a hit list of items to fix in your board and how to effect those fixes.


Automated Optical Inspection.  AOI is one of the inspection methods that is used in manufacturing.  For designs with fine pitch, high circuit density or complexity we will inspect your PCBs using AOI.  It compares the copper circuitry on a panel with the Gerber data and can detect very small manufacturing defects that might otherwise go unchecked.   

Electrical Test (ETest)

Make use of our flying probe electrical test capabilities to verify functionality of your design once committed to hardware. ETest is one of the last-stand DFM checks, providing confidence that what got built matches what got sent with the order. We compare a net list created from the submitted Gerber files to the completed PCB where we test for circuit continuity and isolation.