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Getting to Know Your Designer
In this issue, we examine how fabs work with their design customers, educating them on the critical elements of fabrication needed to be successful, as well as the many tradeoffs involved. How well do you really know your customer? What makes for a closer, more synchronized working relationship?
In this issue, the biggest names in PCB manufacturing share their economic outlook for the upcoming year and beyond. As you will see, they were all bullish on our industry, but there was some apprehension as well. No one wants to get burned by another the supply chain disruption.
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The Designer and Manufacturer Must Be in SyncFebruary 7, 2024 | Dana Korf, Korf Consultancy
Estimated reading time: 1 minute
“Why can’t we all just get along?”—Henry Liberman, TEDx
It’s no industry secret that most PCB data packages sent to fabricators from designers cannot be built as-is. The finished boards often seem to work, despite a factory estimating what the designer wanted vs. what the documentation showed, then jointly rectifying issues through lengthy technical query (TQ) cycles. In general, everyone seems to be satisfied with this process, so why do we need to improve the designer/manufacturer relationship? Why is the best solution a strong designer/manufacturer relationship, and is it even possible?
Let’s perform a traditional root cause analysis and define the function of a designer vs. a manufacturer. Oxford Language definitions:
Designer: A person who plans the form, look, or workings of something before its being made or built, typically by drawing it in detail.
Manufacturer: A person or company that makes goods for sale.
This seems pretty straightforward. The manufacturer builds the product based on the supplied documentation. Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s front-end engineering team typically completes a portion of the design after the data package is received because it can’t be built as submitted. The manufacturer must update the design to maximize yield, meet cost targets, ensure reliability, and meet all performance requirements.
Typical design functions performed by the manufacturer include creating a material stackup that meets the specified mechanical thicknesses/tolerances, material selection, line width/spacing modification to generate the specified impedance/tolerance, creating the assembly array/panel design/documentation, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, such as UL.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the January 2024 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.
Author Jeff Hays is a “serial entrepreneur” who has achieved much success, so, in many ways, reading his book is like spending time with a wise mentor. I like how he not only highlights his business successes but writes candidly about his failures: What didn’t work and why. For me, these stories are perhaps the most helpful part of the book, which is not only informative and factual, but inspirational and encouraging.
During a recent trade show, a group of us were wondering how much money and labor is wasted annually because of PCB designs that are over-constrained or otherwise needlessly complex. It had to be millions of dollars, or maybe even tens of millions. As we reveal in this month’s issue of Design007 Magazine, this happens for a variety of reasons, such as increasing signal speeds, faster rise and fall times, and shrinking silicon technologies.
Gen Z employees definitely bring new skills and expectations to today’s workforce. Manufacturers, take note: You have a generation of employees who are curious about the world, love to keep busy and engaged, and just need a better understanding of why manufacturing is cool. In this roundtable discussion, recent high school graduate Dylan Nguyen and Paige Fiet, a recent university graduate, provide insight into what they’re looking for in a career. It’s an enlightening discussion.
How much time do you spend thinking about why a customer buys something? I mean, are you really studying customers, trying to determine why they buy (in general) and why they buy (from you)? What drives the decision for a customer to choose one product or supplier over another? I have found that we often spend so much time focused on our own products, services, and pitch that we lose sight of the most important focus: the customers. They are the ones making the decisions and, in the end, it’s their opinion that matters most. With that in mind here are some of the more obvious drivers as to why a customer will choose one product, service, company over another:
During the 2023 SMTAI exhibition in Minneapolis, MN, Nolan Johnson sat down to chat with Tony Chiappetta, president of CHIPS, a cybersecurity provider. In this interview Tony introduces the Zero Trust initiative — explaining what it is, what it isn't, and why it's pertinent.