Component Library Best Practices Explained

 Following component library best practices lead to the best PCBA development process

Component library best practice considerations and attributes 

In PCBA design and development, the word “create” is often used. There is a good reason for this. Regardless of PCB type, an electronic circuit board is a creation that originates from a list of performance goals or ideas. Developing these inspirations into a real product is a complex path that includes design, manufacturing, and testing.

Throughout the development process, there are well-defined steps that are performed with the aid of EDA tools, fabrication and assembly equipment, and electronic devices for measuring and analyzing parameters. The best process stages employ guidelines to maximize quality, minimize process time, and ensure reliability.  Component library best practices are among the most important resources to incorporate into your PCBA design.

Most Important Component Library Practices

During PCBA design, it is common to follow guidelines or best practices for PCB layout or to improve signal integrity, like minimizing EMI and EMC. However, it is just as important to incorporate best practices for your component library, as listed below.


Component Library Practice

Why It’s Important

Use standard symbol formats.

This will ensure your schematic is readable by everyone in the development chain.

Use manufacturer-defined footprints.

Manufacturers will follow the IPC 7351 standard when creating part footprints.

Use industry-standard CAD model formats.

Promotes efficiency for ECAD/MCAD integration.

Include both 2D and 3D CAD models, if available.

This makes your design more application agnostic for ECAD/MCAD integration. 

Ensure your footprints match the MPN.

Helps avoid manufacturing problems due to BOM errors.

Include specifications like dimensions, pinout, reference indicator location, etc.

CMs rely on identifiers to ensure that footprints and landing patterns are correct, component placement and orientation are accurate, and spacing standards are followed.

Ensure component data and information is current.

Outdated information can leave you with component availability problems that cost you time and money.

Include alternative/equivalent components.

This makes your development more resilient to supply chain disruptions.

Include links to datasheets and other important design support documents.

Component datasheets contain important information that may be used at each stage of development.

Avoid creating parts from scratch.

Errors in footprint creation translate into manufacturing issues that can halt or delay board builds and increase development costs.

As the list above clearly indicates, several component best practices should be followed to support and aid the stages of PCBA development. For example, using standard and broadly accepted formats is essential. Doing so broadens the number of CMs that you can partner with for your PCBA manufacturing services and also supports efficient mechanical design for cases, enclosures, and system installation. Incorporating these best practices can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are options for implementing them.

Implementing Component Library Best Practices

To best meet the challenge of following the component library best practices defined above and optimize the circuit board development process, your library should exhibit the following attributes.

Best Component Library Attributes

  • Resilience
    Should be resistant to various changes to the supply chain, such as component obsolescence, reduced manufacturer production, long turnaround times, or other issues that may halt development and/or production.  
  • Volume
    Access to the most needed components and alternatives while protecting against counterfeits and inferior parts. 
  • Scalable
    Your component must grow and evolve with you to continually meet your design needs.

You must optimize your component management during development to create competitive electronics products with high performance and timely delivery. An efficient component library is key, providing access to necessary parts, accurate design models, and supply chain resilience features. However, building and maintaining such a reliable library requires time and expertise.

Building and maintaining an effective component library that is supply chain resilient requires expertise and substantial time commitment. Working with Ultra Librarian is the most efficient solution.  We can build you a customized Virtual Librarian Service that will streamline component selection, ensure parts meet your standards, expedite procurement, and optimize your PCBA development process for innovation. To learn more, schedule a meeting


The Ultra Librarian Team

Ultra Librarian offers the world’s largest PCB CAD library, putting cutting-edge materials at your fingertips so you can build better products faster—all for free.

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