The Shaughnessy Report

Column from: Andy Shaughnessy

Andy Shaughnessy is the co-editor of PCB007 Magazine, editor of PCBDesign007 and the Inside Design newsletter, as well as managing editor of Design007 Magazine. Andy has been covering PCB design and EDA issues since 1999. A former crime reporter, Andy previously served as editor of Printed Circuit Design & Manufacture and conference chair for the PCB Design Conferences. He is dedicated to making PCBDesign007 the top online source of information for PCB designers and design engineers. 

July 12, 2024

The Shaughnessy Report: Mechatronics—Designers Need to Know It All

When I was growing up, the term “know it all” was considered an insult. But PCB designers and design engineers of the future will need to know almost everything about the board, the system, and the final product. Tomorrow’s designers will need to have a solid understanding of not just electronic design, but mechanical design and software development as well. This is where mechatronics comes in.
June 12, 2024

The Shaughnessy Report: All Together Now—The Value of Collaboration

PCB designers could learn quite a bit from NASA and the private companies that develop spacecraft: Every one of these vehicles is a testament to the value of collaboration among disparate stakeholders. Without a collaborative culture, the rocket might never get off the ground.
May 15, 2024

The Shaughnessy Report: Unlock Your High-speed Material Constraints

The world of PCB materials used to be a fairly simple one. It was divided into two groups: the “traditional” laminates, often called FR-4, and the high-speed laminates developed especially for high-speed PCBs. These were two worlds that usually didn’t collide. But then traditional laminates started getting better, and high-speed designers and design engineers took notice and started to reconsider what FR-4 could be used for.
April 09, 2024

The Shaughnessy Report: Design Takes Center Stage at IPC APEX EXPO

When leveling up your design skill set, opportunities abound at this year's IPC APEX EXPO conference and exhibition being held in Anaheim, California. There’s more design curriculum at the conference this year than ever before. I counted 14 design-related Professional Development Courses and a half-dozen technical presentations related to design. The classes don't just focus on design techniques. They cover everything from the basics of design to avoiding over-constraining high-speed boards.
March 12, 2024

The Shaughnessy Report: The Myriad Opportunities—and Challenges

If you look at the current state of PCB design, there are a lot of positive indicators. We have almost full employment in this great career that appeals to the techie side of the brain as well as the artistic side. You can make good money as a designer without ever seeing the inside of a college. This segment is in constant flux. It’s challenging, and that’s part of what makes it fun. But there’s one big problem: There aren’t enough designers, and the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.
February 12, 2024

The Shaughnessy Report: In Bed With Embedded

We’re always hearing about PCB technology running into a wall. On the design side, Moore’s Law hit one such wall. On the fab side, features are now so tiny that the traditional subtractive methods have hit another type of wall. And we see OEMs who never planned to use flexible circuits wind up embracing them, because rigid boards just won’t fit into a new product’s form factor. In the February 2024 issue of Design007 Magazine, our expert contributors lay down the foundation of knowledge that designers need to be aware of to make intelligent, educated decisions about embedded design.
January 10, 2024

The Shaughnessy Report: Pulling Together

Our cover image for this month’s issue of Design007 Magazine is a great representation of the PCB development process: Design, fabrication, and assembly are all intertwined. All three disciplines must be integrated to have a successful end product. As a result, all these stakeholders need to know something about the other stakeholders’ processes. The old axiom “We’re all in this together” comes to mind.
December 21, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: The Winds of Change

When IPC APEX EXPO took place in San Diego, a few of us editors would occasionally rent a sailboat and head out for an afternoon on the water. We rarely checked the weather, because Southern California’s weather is almost always perfect—75 degrees and sunny, with light winds. We didn’t have much game plan; we just sailed around San Diego Bay for hours. Worst-case scenario? A spilled drink.
December 12, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Trace Oddity

Remember when PCBs were all shaped like squares and rectangles? Things were so much simpler in the olden days. Now boards are designed, fabricated and assembled in all shapes, including stars, human hands, octopuses, triangles, and cursive signatures, just to name a few. The wearables and automotive segments are driving the development of PCBs in odd shapes. And there are plenty of circular PCBs being designed for use in products that can reach out and touch bad actors in another part of the world.
November 09, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Simply Speaking

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.
October 19, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Exploring High-reliability Fabrication

As you can see by our space-age cover, reliability can make the difference between life and death. While your next board may not be as mission-critical as an astronaut’s lifeline, you certainly don't want your board to fail in the field, ever. But the road to high-reliability fabrication success is often marked with potholes, and the U.S. seems to be hitting all of them. Why is Asia so far ahead of the U.S. in high-reliability, UHDI, and additive processes?
October 10, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: What Are the Standards of Design?

Some people think standards are boring, but I disagree. If you mention the word “standards” to a group of PCB designers—or fabricators and assembly providers, for that matter—you’ll trigger a lively discussion every time. Everyone has something to say about standards. As you’ll see in this month’s issue of Design007 Magazine, some designers don’t use IPC standards at all, preferring to blaze their own trail. But as our contributors point out, that’s like building a house without any plans; why not take advantage of the contributions of subject matter experts and avoid mistakes?
September 12, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Rigid-flex Design No Longer a Niche

When I first started covering this industry in 1999, rigid-flex circuits were considered a niche market. In fact, Compaq was deemed a trendsetter for using rigid-flex in its laptops. Now, analysts at Credence Research predict that the rigid-flex market will top $5 billion by 2026, led in part by the adoption of IoT and the need to connect a variety of smart devices. That’s a pretty big niche. Rigid-flex circuits are everywhere, from servers and smartphones to cameras and pacemakers.
August 17, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Developing a Strategy

How does a leader plan a strategy? In a field of competitors offering basically the same services, how can your company differentiate itself? Will you be a cost leader, or focus on serving a niche market such as medical or defense? As we learn in the August 2023 issue of PCB007 Magazine, one question that successful leaders need to ask themselves is, “What do I not want my company to be?”
August 14, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Simulation, Analysis, and AI

Getting today’s designs “right the first time” is critical, especially with costly advanced PCBs. Companies are slowly realizing that building two, three, or seven respins into the process—and budget—is like flushing cash down the toilet.I can hear some of you thinking, “But that’s how we’ve always done it. Why don’t you knock it off with those negative waves?”
July 11, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Advanced, Complex, and Emerging Design Strategies

Designers are an off-grid group of people. I know several people who live in RVs, and they’re all PCB designers. Designers are all a little unconventional. In fact, being off grid may be a requirement for success as a PCB designer. Some designers are really “out there.” They like to push the limits of their design abilities. They don’t like the status quo; they enjoy the challenges inherent in this job. If I’ve just described you, you’re in luck. This month, in Design007 Magazine, we focus on designing PCBs with advanced, complex, and emerging technologies.
June 19, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Help Wanted

You may have noticed a few open positions at your company, or among other companies in our industry. You also may have wondered why it’s so hard to fill these seats. Many fabricators and suppliers have had multiple positions vacant for months, and unlike even five or 10 years ago, most companies don’t have a stack of resumes to choose from.
June 12, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Slow And Steady Wins the Race

You’re probably wondering: Why is there a tortoise on the cover of Design007 Magazine this month? In one of the most popular Aesop’s Fables, 'The Tortoise and the Hare', the slow and steady reptile beat his much faster opponent by taking his time and persevering. Judging from what our expert contributors have to say in this issue, many PCB design problems could be precluded if designers simply took their time. (Yes, designers even called themselves out for this!)
May 09, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: A New Materials Paradigm

PCB designers are proud of their independent streak; this is one of the few careers in which being labeled “off-grid” is considered a resume enhancement. Designers all have their own little tips and tricks for designing boards, and this trait carries all the way to the material selection process.
April 20, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: A Strong Start

Do you remember when you started working at your current job? What sort of onboarding process did you undergo? If you’ve been with the same company for decades, you likely didn’t see much of an onboarding process at all! If you’re lucky, your boss took you out to lunch on the first day. Were you assigned a mentor? Were you welcomed with open arms into your new work family, or were you basically tossed in the pond and told to sink or swim?
April 11, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

Many PCB designers are finding themselves concerned about accuracy while designing boards for radio frequency (RF) boards for wireless applications. Once a small but steady percentage of all PCB designs, RF is becoming more commonplace in this segment. The last few decades have brought on a proliferation of wireless handheld devices, and almost all feature some type of RF circuitry.
March 09, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Tribal Knowledge—Friend or Foe?

The ongoing retirement of many of our colleagues has cast a spotlight on this month’s topic: tribal knowledge. As designers and engineers with 30 or 40 years of experience start pricing condos in Boca Raton, the entire industry is wondering: How will we hand down the knowledge acquired by these “silverbacks” to the next generation of designers? How do we know we’re not handing down tribal knowledge to the new crop of designers?
February 24, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: After The Show, Now What?

You’ve spent a good part of your month either planning for, attending, or traveling home from a trade show, most likely. Now you have a pocketful of new business cards, and your company has a whole slew of leads for potential customers. You’ve learned a few things at conference classes and met a few dozen experts that you plan to chat with ASAP. How do you carry the momentum you felt during the trade show, when you had that “a-ha” moment and knew you were onto something really new and innovative?
February 08, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: Shrinking Silicon—A Warp Speed Facilitator

As we all learned by watching Star Trek, a lot of crazy things can happen at warp speed. Sure, it was great to get to Alpha Centauri in a hurry, but the Enterprise almost destroyed itself a few times when they put the pedal to the metal. There’s just no room for error at warp speed. Now, many PCB designers are dealing with increasing signal speeds and rise times, and a parliament of other effects—some positive, some negative—thanks to shrinking silicon. Not quite warp speed, but a lot of unpredictable things can happen when the die get tiny.
January 11, 2023

The Shaughnessy Report: PCB Design and Advanced Packaging

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that 2022 might be remembered as the Year of Advanced Packaging. The Department of Defense got the ball rolling last summer with the CHIPS Act, which pointed out how far the United States has fallen behind the rest of the world in microelectronics. A few months later, the weeklong IPC Advanced Packaging Symposium took place in Washington, D.C., and I-Connect007 covered this event from start to finish. One thing we learned from the symposium: There’s a great deal of innovation taking place in advanced packaging right now, and it all starts with PCB designers and design engineers making the correct decisions early in the design cycle.
December 21, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: On With the Show

It’s been a pretty good year all around. From conversations that I've had at conferences recently, I know that some of your companies have had great years, in spite of supply chain pressures, an old-fashioned shooting war near some of our manufacturing base, and some unfilled positions in your office. You are taking care of business, and it's a great time to be in this industry. To that end, we’re looking forward to meeting up at IPC APEX EXPO 2023, which takes place Jan. 21–26 at the San Diego Convention Center. In some ways, this will be the first true post-pandemic expo.
December 13, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Design at IPC APEX EXPO—A Show Within a Show

If you ask anyone in this industry to describe IPC APEX EXPO, they’ll probably call it a PCB manufacturing show. They’re not wrong, by any means; the show was created to serve the PCB fabrication and assembly markets. But this year’s event has quite a bit to offer PCB designers and design engineers. Is this event becoming a PCB design show as well—a show within a show?
November 09, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: It’s All About the Physics—or Is It?

Lately, we’ve heard quite a few design experts say, “PCB design is all about the physics. Designers should focus more on understanding the laws of physics and less on circuit theory.” While putting this issue together, we investigated potential cover ideas. “What if we had James Maxwell and Gordon Moore boxing on the cover, in a Faraday cage match? Let’s get ready to rumble!” That led us to the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots that now grace our November 2022 Design007 Magazine cover.
October 18, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: A Clearer Image

Out of all the process steps in a fabrication cycle, imaging may be the most critical. This is where the design begins to take a physical shape, where the theoretical world meets the physical world. Much like photography, PCB imaging is a nearly magical process. I’ll bet the first technologists to use a Gerber Science photoplotter to create a PCB felt a lot like Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre, trying to coax a Daguerreotype photograph into life in the 1830s.
October 11, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Let’s Get Small

Comedian Steve Martin could have been talking about the latest issue of Design007 Magazine when he released his album “Let’s Get Small” in 1977. Or maybe not. Well, as Steve would say, excuuuuse me! (You may have to explain that reference to any young people in your company.) But it is tough to get much smaller than ultra HDI. This is a whole new level of miniaturization for most PCB designers and fabricators. UHDI folks speak in terms of microns, not mils. And everything changes when you start working with 15-micron lines and spaces.
September 12, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Working Through the Design Pain

In a recent issue of SMT007 Magazine, we discussed “supply pain management.” This reminded us of the question that doctors often ask: “What’s your pain level on a scale of 1–10?” PCB Designers really deserve a lot of credit. For years, they’ve been working through supply chain pain, like Rip Wheeler after he got shot on “Yellowstone.” It hurts, but we’re short on cowboys, so get back to work. Designers and design engineers have learned to navigate this supply chain craziness, snatching up components that are in short supply or making do with lower-tech parts that are available.
August 16, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Tune Up Your Pricing Strategies

If you’re a fabricator, these are challenging days. But there are also plenty of opportunities available—if you know when to embrace them. Sure, margins are still non-existent. Sometimes you feel like you’re just trying to keep the lights on. But your suppliers have sent you an email explaining why their prices are going up—it’s because everything is going up—and now you feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
August 08, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Designing for Material Conservation

The supply chain issues plaguing our industry don’t seem to be going away any time soon. Like an annoying mother-in-law, they’ve moved into our guest room, rearranged the furniture, and generally overstayed their welcome. Why don’t they take a hint? We’re seeing all sorts of interesting tactics for dealing with 50-week lead times. One of the most basic concepts I’ve heard lately is material conservation—when it’s hard to get the parts you need, why not just design PCBs with fewer parts? Materials typically make up 20% of the cost of the board, so we’re not talking nickels and dimes. Sometimes less is more!
July 12, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: With Field Solvers, GIGO Hurts

The “left shift” concept has been under way for at least five years, as EDA tool providers offer more powerful functionality earlier in the stages of PCB design and layout. This month, we focus on one tool that’s been shifting leftward for some time now: the field solver.
June 22, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Proper Plating

Joe Fjelstad once joked that if someone working in a board shop 50 years ago were placed in suspended animation and woke up today, they would recognize almost everything in today’s board shop. They could theoretically go right back to work because so little of their work environment changed in those five decades. (After five decades, I’d probably want to take a week off and catch up on reruns of MASH and The Bob Newhart Show.)
June 10, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Will DWM Unite the Product Development Family?

In our industry, we just love our acronyms. Especially the “design fors” such as DFM, DFA, and DFT. We now have DFX, DFR, and even DFSC—design for supply chain. The newest example is DWM, design with manufacturing, and this “design for” could wind up having a real effect on the PCB development process. If designers and manufacturers actually embrace this concept, DWM could do what DFM was never able to do: create a transparent communication environment for designers, fabricators, assemblers, and component and materials suppliers.
May 12, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Are You Designing in a Vacuum?

For decades, this industry’s top instructors and journalists have been preaching about the need to communicate with your fabricator. But for many of you, that’s just not possible, and you spend most of your time designing in a vacuum. So, this month our contributors provide tips for designing in a vacuum, as well as the total costs of working in the dark, and some strategies for getting out of the Hoover.
April 21, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Upskilling Staff Is Your Best Option

For the past few years, industry analysts have been talking about the need for fabricators to “upskill” their employees to be ready for the technologies of tomorrow. The Smart factory and Industry 4.0—not to mention the ramping-up of AI—are just a few reasons that your staff really needs continuing education throughout their careers.There’s never been more opportunity for your employees to become valuable than there is today. But you’ll have to support them by giving them time to continue their education, and they’ll have to step outside of their comfort zone to learn about new processes and technologies.
April 10, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Additive Design—The Same, but Different

As today’s shrinking geometries push the limits of traditional fab methods, you need an ace up your sleeve more than ever. Additive processes may be your best bet. This month’s issue of Design007 Magazine focuses on how readers can get started designing additive and semi-additive PCBs, and how the design process for additive technology differs from that of traditional subtractive processes.
February 08, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: Resistance is Futile. Or Is It?

Resistance is Futile. Or Is It? Admit it. You thought that there was a chance that IPC APEX EXPO would be cancelled at the last minute, or held virtually, didn’t you? A lot of people did. After all, we're still not out of the pandemic and California has been hit harder than most states by COVID. And California has been known to change their COVID regulations faster than Stevie Nicks changes outfits on stage.
January 10, 2022

The Shaughnessy Report: High-Voltage PCB Design—Don’t Let the Smoke Out

In recent surveys, readers mentioned high-voltage PCBs among the challenges that they’re facing as the automotive segment, electric vehicles in particular, demand higher voltages. So this month, we asked our contributors to share their thoughts on designing high-voltage PCBs.
December 08, 2021

The Shaughnessy Report: The Art of PCB Design—I Know It When I See It

When we first started planning this issue, we looked back over topics that we’ve covered for the past few years. We noticed that our contributors spend most of their time discussing the technical side of PCB design. That’s to be expected. When we discuss “best practices” for PCB design, we’re typically looking at it from a technical viewpoint. After all, Design007 Magazine is a technical publication. And in PCB design, what is “design,” exactly? Perhaps we could quote Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who said in a 1964 case about obscenity, “I know it when I see it.”
November 08, 2021

The Shaughnessy Report: Data Management—It’s A Lot Like Herding Cats

“It’s all about managing your data.” That’s a refrain that we’ve been hearing from designers over the past few years—in surveys and conversations with designers and design engineers. When we started planning this issue, our most recent reader surveys pointed to data management as a perpetual problem for PCB designers. It’s no wonder: schematics, footprints, BOMs, netlists, fab notes, assembly notes—millions of petabits of data are used to design and engineer PCBs, and readers cite mismanaged data as a constant source of heartburn.
August 25, 2021

Design Education: Not a Roll of the Dice

If you’re a new PCB designer today, you may feel like a first-level fighter in “Dungeons and Dragons.” You thrive on the variability and complexity of this career but moving up to the next level is often the result of a series of choices that you have to make—often without knowing what’s going on. But there is one thing that you can control: your education. And the more you know, the more control you have over your career.
May 06, 2020

The Shaughnessy Report: The Economics of Design

Most colleges teach an economics curriculum. We’re not exactly professors, but this month, we’re going to whip out our calculators and look into the economics of PCB design.
April 21, 2020

The Shaughnessy Report: Design for Profitability Now Part of the Process

It’s easy to define profit, but it’s much more difficult to define exactly what “design for profitability” (DFP) means to today’s PCB designers and design engineers. How can technologists create profit in every design when the board’s stakeholders are often spread out across several time zones and continents? It’s a tough concept to get your arms around. Some of you work in giant OEMs; do you have any idea how much your last design cost—man-hours, components, laminates, etc.?
January 15, 2020

The Shaughnessy Report: New Year’s Resolution—Get Involved

It’s 2020, and it’s time to hit the ground running as we approach DesignCon and IPC APEX EXPO. If you’re not already networking with other designers or volunteering in our industry organizations, there’s no better time to start. In the January issue of Design007 Magazine, we give a special shout-out to the volunteers who donate their spare time to improving the PCB design community.
November 27, 2019

The Shaughnessy Report: The Landscape of the Design Community

“Faster” and “smaller” are still the watchwords for even the simplest PCBs. In one of our features, Lee Ritchey explains how he has watched speeds increase 40,000X in just the last 24 years. On top of that, designers have been told that they should have a decent working knowledge of 5G and IoT as well as Industry 4.0 and smart factories, just to be sure; that’s a lot to take in. Of course, designers like this kind of thing. They enjoy putting together pieces of a complex puzzle, and these are just a few more pieces of the puzzle. Tell them what the board needs to do, and they’ll design it for you.
October 24, 2019

AltiumLive 2019 Frankfurt – A Perfect Mix of Education and Fun

The AltiumLive PCB Design Summit in Frankfurt, Germany has come to a close, with Happy Holden's keynote signaling the end of this three-day event. Here’s a quick wrap-up of this year’s event.
July 25, 2019

The Shaughnessy Report: Reliability Is a Team Sport

My 2003 Mazda Tribute doesn’t look very cool; it’s classified as a “cute ute.” But it can haul four guitars and a pair of PA speakers with room to spare. It’s been paid off for so long that I’ve been able to put more money away for my rapidly approaching golden years. As the saying goes, “Reliability isn’t just an added feature.”
June 20, 2019

The Shaughnessy Report: Everything Starts with the Designer

We may think that the days of throwing the design “over the wall” are over. But communication is still a big problem; many designers never speak to their fabricator until they get that Friday evening phone call. But many designers say that they have no earthly idea where their boards are going to be manufactured. They just design each board so that it can, hopefully, be fabricated anywhere.
May 23, 2019

Design Rules: For Your Own Good

Like most rules, design rules came about for your own good. And no single designer could possibly remember all of the constraints required to design one of today’s PCBs. But with a set of well-defined design rules, a designer can execute the most complex PCBs on the first try.
May 02, 2019

The Shaughnessy Report: Get Smart!

It sounds so perfect—“smart” manufacturing. That must be what we’ve needed all along! We’ve had enough of this “average intelligence” manufacturing. Yes, we’ve heard quite a bit of chatter about smart manufacturing over the past few years. Whatever “smart” means to you, everyone involved in designing, fabricating, and assembling PCBs wants to get on board. But many U.S. PCB designers are curious about what this smart new world means to them and their “old-school” CAD data.
April 15, 2019

The Shaughnessy Report: The Youth of the Industry

When was the last time your company hired someone straight out of school, or even under 40? Until recently, I would have guessed 1985. But there’s something happening, and I hope it’s the beginning of a trend. Young people are once again entering the PCB design community workforce, and the overall PCB manufacturing industry as well.
March 13, 2019

The Shaughnessy Report: The Future on Display at DesignCon

Every DesignCon has an unofficial theme; a few years ago, it was the “Jitter Show.” This year may have been the year for PAM4, four-level pulse amplitude modulation, which was the topic of a variety of presentations and one panel discussion. Another big topic at DesignCon was 5G—one of the main components of IoT. Some engineers I spoke with said they were still searching for the perfect laminate for 5G, which is up to 1,000 times faster than 4G and features super-high bandwidth and low latency.
February 21, 2019

The Shaughnessy Report: Beating Supply Chain Blues

Some of you won’t remember this, but gas lines were an everyday occurrence for a year or so in the 1970s. I was reminded of the energy crunch of the ‘70s while researching this month’s issue on the component shortage. Some PCB designers are finding their favorite capacitors on 50- and 80-week lead times. How do you design a board today when the components you need won’t be available for a year or more? Waiting isn’t an option if your product needs to be on store shelves in time for next Christmas. What options do designers have?
December 27, 2018

The Shaughnessy Report: The Designers Council Is Not Resting on Its Laurels

There was a time when PCB designers were the odd man out. They’re still a little odd, actually, but that’s another story. In the 1970s and ‘80s, unless you worked in a hotbed of high-tech like Silicon Valley, you may not have known too many other PCB designers. But the IPC Designers Council has done quite a bit to erase that feeling of being out of touch.
December 10, 2018

The Shaughnessy Report: Medical Electronics—Vital Signs Are Good

When Marcus Welby, M.D. premiered in 1969, the good doctor usually had everything he needed in his trusty doctor bag. And if Dr. Welby couldn’t fix you with his stethoscope and sphygmomanometer, the local hospital was up to the task with its EKG, EEG, and heart rate monitors beepin’ away, and ready cure you before the end of the episode. Now, the Apple Watch features a titanium electrode that allows the wearer to give himself an EKG. Devices like the Fitbit let the user track pulse rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Marketing these devices under the “fitness” umbrella was a stroke of genius that capitalizes on the current fitness trend.
November 21, 2018

The Shaughnessy Report: Despite Progress, Design Data Issues Continue

You’ve heard the stories. Most CAM departments tell us (are they telling you?) that anywhere from 80–100% of designs from new customers are inaccurate or incomplete, often necessitating a Friday call to the designer, or the job will be put on hold. This has been an ongoing problem for decades, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better—at least from the viewpoint of CAM personnel. The problem is so prevalent that columnist Mark Thompson has built quite an audience by writing about design data packages and sharing his treasure trove of horror stories about data gone wrong.
September 19, 2018

The Shaughnessy Report: The Whole Package

When we started planning this issue, I found an interesting tidbit of information: Electronics packaging predates the printed circuit board. Most electronics history buffs seem to agree that the Braun Tube of 1897, the forerunner of the cathode ray tube, was the first true electronics package. Over the past 60 years, packages have continued to shrink. The transistor outline “metal cans” of the 1950s would look out of place today. Some packages are no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence, complete with their own “inhalation warning.”
August 07, 2018

The Shaughnessy Report: Who Are the Next-Gen Designers?

When was the last time you met a young PCB designer? I meet two or three young designers each year, but then again, I’m actively looking for them, like Sherlock Holmes on the trail of an elusive suspect. And young designers are hot property. Find a young designer at a trade show or conference today and you’ll usually find a crowd of designers peppering him (or her, in one recent case) with questions. “Where do you work? What tools do you use? What courses are you taking here?"
August 02, 2018

The Shaughnessy Report—Multi-board Design: Multiple Challenges?

Multi-board devices are here to stay. But multi-board PCB design brings with it even more challenges for the designer and design engineer. It’s all about management. It reminds me of a juggler trying to keep half a dozen balls in the air. Designers are constantly making trade-off decisions throughout the multi-board design cycle, especially regarding reliability, thermal management, signal integrity and power integrity. The final product’s form factor weighs heavily on the design process, and a good 3D EDA tool is a requirement for laying out multiple PCBs today.
July 06, 2018

5G: It’s Kind of a Big Deal

The main thing to remember is that the switch from 4G to 5G is exponentially different than the move from 3G to 4G. The transition from 3G to 4G meant a 10x increase in speed; 5G will be at least 1,000 times faster than 4G. Some carriers are claiming that we’ll be able to download an HD movie in less than 10 seconds. (For reference, the 3G–4G upgrade cost billions of dollars worldwide. No word on what the 4G–5G switch will cost.) What does this mean for PCB designers?
June 04, 2018

The Shaughnessy Report: Got Flex?

Welcome to the first issue of Flex007 Magazine. This new quarterly magazine is dedicated to flex system designers, electrical engineers, flex PCB designers, and anyone responsible for integrating flex into their products at the OEM/ CEM level.
October 02, 2017

The Shaughnessy Report: Mistakes Were Made

We started planning the August issue with a survey sarcastically titled, “Whose fault is that bad board?” We asked a variety of questions regarding how the cause or causes of failure were determined, and what companies do to keep from making the same mistake again. We asked the question “If a board fails in the field, whose fault is it, typically?” Check out some of the answers.
June 26, 2017

The Shaughnessy Report: The “Help Wanted” Issue

SMTA Atlanta is always a treat. This tabletop show in Duluth, Georgia, draws most of the PCB community in Atlanta, and exhibitors from all over the country. These shows are cheap for exhibitors; one good lead more than pays for your exhibit space, and you get to enjoy my neighbors’ Southern hospitality along the way. But the highlight of SMTA Atlanta is always the Industry Roundtable. Norcross design bureau owner Albert Gaines once likened the roundtable to a “psychiatrist’s couch for PCB designers.”
May 10, 2017

The State of High-Speed Materials

The May issue of The PCB Design Magazine focuses on high-speed materials. As always, we started out with a reader survey. We asked, “If you are a PCB fabricator or designer, what are the greatest challenges for you working with high-speed materials?” and some of the answers were quite interesting. Many of the problems cited by PCB designers centered on the lack of good data for advanced materials.
April 12, 2017

We Have to be Marketers for Our Industry

IPC has been working for decades to get the PCB curriculum into colleges. But wait. Isn’t this our responsibility? It’s our industry; shouldn’t we see to it that our industry gets the respect it deserves, and that the next generation can’t resist joining us and working on some of the coolest technology around? What if everyone who attended IPC APEX EXPO went home and visited the schools in their neighborhood, spreading the word about our industry? What if everyone who attended DesignCon, DAC, IMS and PCB West did the same? I bet the locals who attend CPCA are already doing this.
March 01, 2017

The Shaughnessy Report: Are You a Luddite?

I recently discovered that I’d become a Luddite. Sure, it was only in one very specific case, but as technical magazine editor, not to mention the IT guy for our home, I like to think I’m on top of technology. But setting up podcasts on my iPhone proved to be a bridge too far. Don't be a Luddite!
December 27, 2016

The Shaughnessy Report: Sales and Marketing in PCB Design

Sales in the electronics industry used to be so simple: You started cold-calling and you called until you made a sale. Ditto for marketing: Your company attended and exhibited at trade shows, presented papers at conferences, and (hopefully) you advertised in the trade publications of your choice. And if you were selling EDA tools, you flew around the globe doing presentations. But now there are a multitude of social media tools that can help sales and marketing folks, if they know how to use them.
November 30, 2016

The Shaughnessy Report: The Hole Truth

For such a simple structure, the PCB via certainly stirs up more than its share of intrigue. The via is another one of those topics that pop up in our reader surveys when we ask about your ongoing challenges. And it’s not just the blind and buried vias that draw readers’ attention. Something as basic as a hole drilled through a circuit board can generate a whole lot of controversy.
July 20, 2016

The Shaughnessy Report: Let’s Get Small

I sometimes wonder what people were thinking during great moments in history. For instance, did you ever wonder what was going through the minds of the technologists who created the earliest PCBs? I imagine that when the first PCBs were developed, rather than just being satisfied that they’d created this great new piece of interconnect, the lead engineers were already thinking, “What if we could put more components on this thing? What if we shrank the traces? Could we use the ENIAC computer to design PCBs? That would be swell!”
February 25, 2016

Doing My Part for Medical Electronics

One interesting aspect of having hernia surgery recently was the number of PCBs in the operating room. I’ve never seen so many electronic devices together in my life. I saw one Agilent monitor, and a bunch of others with names I couldn’t make out. It reminded me of the IT room in most companies. I guess they had to be set up to handle routine surgery like mine, and the not-so-routine operations as well. Medical electronics is doing fine, no doubt
August 26, 2015

The Shaughnessy Report: The PCB Design Supply Chain

We asked readers of The PCB Design Magazine if their supply chain was a problem for them. Almost two thirds of respondents said no, but a solid 37% said yes. And surprisingly, for many it was an emphatic “yes.” Navigating the supply chain is a huge challenge for some of our leading companies. Comments such as “We’re dealing with idiots” were typical.
August 11, 2015

The Shaughnessy Report: Fighting the War on Failure

No one in this industry sets out to fail, except failure analysis test engineers. But failure is a part of life for designers and manufacturers of electronics. Our reader surveys show that failure affects nearly everyone in the PCB industry: designers, fabricators, assembly providers, OEMs, and suppliers.
July 29, 2015

The Shaughnessy Report: All About That Via?

In June, I went on a little road trip. I attended Zuken Innovation World in San Diego, and later headed up the coast to the Orange County Designers Council's "Lunch and Learn" event, set up by Chapter President Scott McCurdy. Who says there aren't enough educational opportunities in PCB design?
June 03, 2015

The Readers Speak

Recently, we sent out a survey with a handful of questions; we’ve found that surveys with too many questions don’t get answered. One question was, “Does supply chain management affect your job?” The answers were surprising. Almost 2/3 of you said no, the supply chain doesn’t affect your job in any meaningful way. But a third of you said the exact opposite: The supply chain impacts your job directly, and for some of you, it’s a big problem. A very vocal minority left us a variety of great comments regarding their supply chain challenges.
May 20, 2015

The Shaughnessy Report: Moore's Law Turns 50

Fifty years ago, Dr. Gordon E. Moore was director of R&D at Fairchild Semiconductor, and "Electronics Magazine" asked him to make some predictions about the future of the semiconductor industry. On April 19, 1965, the magazine published his earthshaking article outlining what became known as Moore’s Law. But as Moore's Law turns 50, the vultures are circling overhead.
February 18, 2015

Happy New Year; Now Back to Work

During the week of February 22–26, it’s off to San Diego for IPC APEX EXPO and the Design Forum. (And three cheers for IPC moving APEX back to “America’s Finest City.” (It’s hard to have a bad day in San Diego.) Appropriately, the Design Forum kicks off the week, with a keynote by Carl Schattke, a PCB design engineer with Tesla Motors.
December 10, 2014

The Shaughnessy Report: Who is Your EDA Company's Customer?

"At first glance, it sounds like a simple question, with a simple answer. Some of you may be thinking, 'I'm the EDA tool company's customer. My tool provider serves me, the designer.' But I've heard from a growing number of PCB designers who disagree. Not all designers are in this group; it's definitely not a majority," writes Editor Andy Shaughnessy.
July 23, 2014

The Shaughnessy Report: Help Wanted - PCB Design Needs an Icon

Editor Andy Shaughnessy writes, "Designers are retiring, and they just aren't being replaced. When was the last time you met a designer who was under 30?...What's our hook, our 10-second elevator spiel? PCB design suffers from an image problem. It has no image, and that's the problem."
May 28, 2014

The Shaughnessy Report: Couch Time at SMTA Atlanta

"The exhibitors at SMTA Atlanta just about filled up the room. Everyone I spoke with was in good spirits. Some companies were in hiring mode, and a few had just experienced great quarters, but no one was predicting wild revenue growth this year. Like the electronics industry in general, they were planning for steady, incremental growth. That's better than no growth at all," writes Editor Andy Shaughnessy.
April 30, 2014

The Shaughnessy Report: Out With the Old, In With the New?

Editor Andy Shaughnessy writes, "I spoke with President John W. Mitchell and discovered that he lives near me in metro Atlanta, and he designed PCBs in the past. For years, PCB designers felt, often accurately, that IPC was giving the design community short shrift. But Mitchell sounded determined to change that. How many of you ever thought IPC would be led by a man who had PCB design experience?"
February 26, 2014

The Shaughnessy Report: DesignCon - A PCB Design Show

Every DesignCon, we get a chance to check out the current state of PCB (and IC) design, as well as the latest from the EDA tool industry. This year's conference boasted a variety of papers on signal integrity, EMC, test and measurement, and high-speed PCB design in general. There was plenty of focus on 10 Gb Ethernet, and a slew of skew coverage too.
February 05, 2014

The Shaughnessy Report: The Old Guard Moves On

The year ahead is ripe with promise. The jobless rate dropped to 7%, the lowest in five years, and more jobs were added to the economy in December than analysts expected. And, surprisingly, the U.S. government hasn't shut down in nearly three months! Did the Democrats and Republicans secretly agree to quit calling each other names and actually work together?
January 08, 2014

The Shaughnessy Report: Bringing Sexy Back to EDA

Amid all of the hullabaloo in this industry, we sometimes forget one absolute truth: We're all geeks. Admit it. If you're reading this, there's no way around it: You are a geek.
October 30, 2013

The Shaughnessy Report: A Time for New Ideas

Editor Andy Shaughnessy says, "At this rate, there won't be anyone left in this industry in 30 years. We have to attract more young people to the world of PCB design, fabrication, and assembly. I may be 50, but odds are I'm still younger than just about anyone reading this. That's nice for me, but it's bad for the future."
October 01, 2013

The Shaughnessy Report: An Inside Look at PCB West 2013

"It's been a few years since I last attended PCB West, but I'm glad I went this year. The show has been growing steadily over the past few years, and this year it was busier than it's been in quite a while. Let's take this as a good omen for 2014!" said Editor Andy Shaughnessy.
September 11, 2013

The Shaughnessy Report: Tech Support - Are You Happy With Yours?

Tech support seems simple enough. EDA tool users on maintenance are entitled to technical support services; just call or e-mail your software company and a helpful tech support person will right all of your wrongs and have you designing again in no time. So why do so many PCB designers despise their vendors' tech support?
January 02, 2013

The Shaughnessy Report: The Year in Design

As we enter 2013, it's a great time to look back over the PCB design news of 2012. The American electronics industry seemed to find more solid ground in 2012, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Since our leaders in Washington averted a fiscal cliff crisis, we just might see real growth this year. What's ahead for 2013?
October 10, 2012

Introducing: The PCB Design Magazine

The PCB design is the foundation of electronic products. So, why isn't there a magazine dedicated solely to PCB design? We couldn't think of a reason either, so we're taking action. In November, we're launching The PCB Design Magazine, a publication that covers PCB design and related issues. Our inaugural issue will feature articles by Lee Ritchey, Happy Holden, Tom Hausherr, and Iain Wilson, and the best stable of columnists anywhere.
February 08, 2012

The Shaughnessy Report: Packed DesignCon a Good Sign

The show floor at DesignCon 2012 was packed, the conference sessions well attended. And for its second year managing DesignCon, United Business Media seems to have worked out most of the kinks in its customer service. That's a very good thing for DesignCon going forward.
December 28, 2011

2011: The Year in Design

This has been one crazy year, and 2012 is likely to be even more volatile. But when we look back over the past 12 months, we realize that things actually could have been much, much worse. And so, in the spirit of the New Year, enjoy this brief snapshot of 2011, as recorded in the pages of PCBDesign007 and the Inside Design Newsletter.
November 16, 2011

Talking Translation With Elgris Technologies' Igor Luvishis

Once again, EDA data standards are in the news again. But an entire industry is devoted to translating data from one EDA vendor's format to another. We tracked down Elgris Technologies President Igor Luvishis and got the straight scoop on his company's direct (vendor-to-vendor), EDIF, and XML translators.
September 15, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Intercept Overhauls Pantheon's GUI

Intercept Technology's Pantheon PCB layout suite has served its users well. But the tool, developed in the early 1990s, now felt "clunky" to use, as some Intercept staff members put it. It was time for a complete redesign of the interface. I spoke with Project Lead Brian Jones about the new Pantheon interface, which the company believes will make users feel like they're driving a Ferrari instead of a Gremlin.
August 24, 2011

The Shaughnessy Report: The Evolution of the PCB Designer

Many of you started out hand-taping PCB designs, and you've seen a lot of changes since then. But now it's starting to get really interesting. In the future, the North American PCB designer may have to be much more of a project manager than "just" a layout guy or gal.
January 21, 2011

PCB Summit Preview with John Andresakis

Each year, DesignCon expands its PCB content in the classrooms while attracting more PCB exhibitors on the show floor. For 2011, the PCB Summit will be chaired by John Andresakis, VP of Strategic Technology for Oak-Mitsui. He offers a preview of DesignCon 2011, as well as what attendees can expect at the PCB Summit.
December 21, 2010

Top 25 Design007 Stories of 2010

In online publishing, especially in the business-to-business arena, views are what it's all about. When a columnist or contributor crafts an article that pulls in a few thousand views, we know that he--or she--is onto something. And if a news story blows up the view-o-meter, the topic of that story might be worth a follow-up. Here are the Top 25 stories from Design007 in 2010.
December 15, 2010

The Shaughnessy Report: The Year in Review

It was the supposed to be the year of the recovery, and signs of revival were everywhere. But 2010 proved to be a tough year for many companies in the PCB industry. Still, there were plenty of great stories to be told in the world of PCB design. Here is a look back at 2010 as seen in PCB Design007.
August 24, 2010

The Shaughnessy Report: HDI Class Q&A with Dan Smith

Is North America falling behind the rest of the world in HDI technology development? Not if Dan Smith can help it. "The New Mr. HDI" is putting together the first IPC HDI certification course and exam. We caught up with him and discussed the HDI course, what it takes to be an instructor and Happy Holden's 400-gig "data dump."
July 14, 2010

Great Education Online, If You Know Where to Look

Many Internet sources provide education and training in our respective fields. You just have to know where to look. It's not quite like attending a live training event, but you can improve your skill set through the Internet, and you can often do so free of charge.
July 07, 2010

A DFA Match: PCBDesign007 Plus SMT Magazine

You've likely heard that I-Connect007 has acquired SMT Magazine. As a result, we have inherited quite a stable of columnists, including Vern Solberg of Solberg Technical Consulting, who will continue writing his column "PCB Designers Notebook" for PCBDesign007. Exciting times lie ahead.
June 16, 2010

Milestones: Paul Eisler's PCB Patent Turns 60

Paul Eisler developed the first PCB while living in a London boarding house, on the run from the Nazis, shortly before he was locked up as an illegal alien by the British. Eisler's life story is proof that you should never underestimate a determined engineer.
April 28, 2010

PCB Design: The Best Beat a Reporter Could Have

As a reporter, I've covered car shows, air shows, real estate, city politics and crime. I've counted bullet holes, worked police checkpoints and sat through DNA evidence at trials. But PCB design is by far the best beat I've ever covered as a reporter.
April 21, 2010

The Shaughnessy Report: Good Season For Trade Shows

It's spring and that means show season is in full swing. We've covered a half-dozen PCB trade shows since January, and all of them have shown increased attendance over last year. Despite a tumultuous 2009 and virtual challengers on the Web, the venerable trade show will probably be around for some time.
March 31, 2010

Designers Day Preview: Rick Hartley on Fighting EMI

This week we'll hear from Rick Hartley, the high-speed design instructor who will be teaching his "EMI: High Frequency/High-Speed Design" workshop at IPC APEX Expo during Designers Day. Rick explains some of the issues he'll cover in his class, and discusses why the board design, not circuit design, is usually behind EMI problems.
March 17, 2010

Tool Talk With New Polar CEO Martyn Gaudion

Martyn Gaudion came up through the ranks at Polar Instruments over the past two decades, and he recently took the reins as CEO. Find out what Martyn has planned for the company's design, fabrication and documentation tools, and what the rest of 2010 may bring for our industry.
December 30, 2009

PCBDesign007: Now Available in Mandarin

PCBDesign007 has expanded into China with PCBDesign007 China, a Mandarin online magazine that addresses the needs of the growing number of PCB designers and design engineers in China.
November 18, 2009

Madhavan Swaminathan: The Power of Power Integrity

Dr. Madhavan Swaminathan, Joseph M. Pettit Professor in Electronics at Georgia Tech and a co-author of "Power Integrity Modeling and Design for Semiconductors and Systems," and Guest Editor Eric Bogatin discuss the issues surrounding power integrity and the need for accurate measurement tools, as well as his work as CTO for E-System Design.
November 09, 2009

Zuken's Z-DAC Conference Well Attended

The annual Zuken users event held just outside Dallas drew a good crowd of attendees. Travel budgets may still be tight, but users came from all over the U.S. - a few even came from Canada - to attend classes and share feedback with Zuken's tool developers.
October 21, 2009

Stilwell Baker Focuses on Engineering

While the industry contracted over the past year, Stilwell Baker added a design center and expanded its engineering services. COO Peter Hoogerhuis explains how Stilwell Baker differentiates itself in the design engineering arena, and how customer demand drove the company's recent growth.
October 07, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Talking Design With Scott McCurdy

FreedomCAD's Scott McCurdy has spent 40 years in the PCB industry. After running a board shop, Scott transitioned from the world of fabrication to PCB design. Hear what this self-described "designer wannabee" has to say about the future of PCB design and the need for design education.
September 29, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: DesignCon Prepares for PCB Summit

DesignCon 2010 will be here before you know it. Program Director Barry Sullivan is getting ready for DesignCon 2010, which will feature a first-ever PCB conference track. Barry discusses what engineers and designers can expect at the February show in Santa Clara.
September 16, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: The Wikipedia Revolution

"The Wikipedia Revolution" is a great book by Andrew Lih. This book has it all--a solid American Dream plot line, colorful characters and plenty of cool technology. With fewer than a dozen employees and a $1 million budget, how does Wikipedia stay in the Top 20 of Internet sites?
September 02, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Happy on PCB Design Advances

Happy Holden recently announced that he was retiring from Mentor Graphics and moving to Taiwan. Ray Rasmussen, Steve Gold and I interviewed Happy shortly after his announcement. In this clip, Happy comments on the major advancements in PCB design he's seen in the last 40 years.
August 25, 2009

Armistead Technologies: Military Work Not Just for "Big Guys"

Many smaller PCB companies shy away from military work for a plethora of reasons, with cost of certification and the often long wait to get paid ranking near the top of the list. But John Armistead of Armistead Technologies believes that even the "little guys" can compete for--and win--military contracts.
August 19, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: NI Week Wrapup

National Instruments recently held its annual NI Week in Austin, Texas and, despite the unsteady economy, attendance increased from last year. NI's Bhavesh Mistry explains how this event drew so many engineers to the hundred-degree Texas heat, and why NI's hardware and software are a perfect match.
August 12, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: ADI Bridges the Data Gap

PCB designers would love to be able to create a library part and take it into all EDA design tool vendors' formats, without spending too much time and money. ADI's Frank Frank and Mike Wilson explain how ADI stepped in to fill that need with Ultra Librarian.
July 29, 2009

Armistead Finds Reverse Engineering Niche

Armistead Technologies is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and 2009 is shaping up to be a pretty good year for the Baltimore-area company. John Armistead explains the ins and outs of providing reverse engineering services for industry and the U.S. government.
July 15, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: EEs Hit Record Jobless Rate

This year has had its share of ups and downs. The U.S. unemployment rate for electrical engineers doubled from Q1 to Q2, reaching 8.6% and breaking the EE jobless record from 2003. What's going on here?
June 24, 2009

TFI Quarterly Forum Gets New Name, Model

For years, TFI Quarterly Forum has provided research and analysis for the electronics manufacturing industry. Eric Miscoll explains how the organization, now renamed InForum for the Electronics Industry, is primed to expand its services.
June 17, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: NSWC Crane Revs Up PCB Training

Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane is a hotbed of PCB R&D. This research has yielded a series of classes, starting June 23, featuring the latest in PCB design and manufacturing techniques. Jason Ferguson and Richard Snogren explain why you won't find this content anywhere else.
June 10, 2009

Hemant Shah on Cadence's FPGA-PCB Co-Design Suite

Cadence Design Solutions recently launched FPGA System Planner for the OrCAD and Allegro platforms. Allegro Product Marketing Manager Hemant Shah explains how this FPGA-PCB co-design suite optimizes FPGA pin assignement and helps detect errors early in the process.
May 27, 2009

Despite Recession, U.S. Still a Good Bet

Yes, it's rough out there right now. But recession or not, China seems to be betting that the U.S. will come out ahead in the long run.
May 20, 2009

New Grad Brings Fresh Viewpoint to Industry

Our industry is famously mature and resistant to change. But Liam Morris, 22, a recent graduate now working at Cirexx International, wants to bring us into the world of Twitter. He's already posting bios of PCB designers on his blog.
May 13, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: DownStream Takes "Evil" Out Of Postprocessing

As Downstream Technologies founder Rick Almeida explains, PCB designers often consider postprocessing to be a "necessary evil." But CAM350XL, a suite that encompasses DownStream's CAM350 and BluePrint tools, may change that.
May 06, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Altium's Holistic Approach

Altium has had some innovative ideas lately. The Australian EDA company just announced that it is taking a holistic approach to design tools, including dropping prices. President Emma Lo Russo explains why Altium is focused on what makes each designer special.
April 29, 2009

Eric Bogatin on Interconnect Characterization

Back in the good ol' days, designers didn't have to worry about things like S-parameters. So, why is characterization so vital now? Dr. Eric Bogatin traces the rise - and importance - of interconnect characterization.
April 22, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: TechBridge Takes Off, Despite Economy

Would you launch a design services company during a recession? TechBridge Solutions founder Dave Castine did exactly that. Dave and his VP of sales, Deac Descoteaux, discuss the pros and cons of going entrepreneurial in a downturn.
April 15, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: A New Edition of The Boolean Boogie

Max Maxfield recently published the third edition of the venerable "Bebop To the Boolean Boogie: An Unconventional Guide to Electronics." This incarnation of the book has a new section on design tools, as well as more of Max's twisted humor.
April 08, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Continuing Designers Day's Momentum

Now that Designers Day is over, now what? How can you stay excited about your design education in an era of tight budgets? Start by joining the Designers Council, downloading a free book and reading a good technical blog or two.
March 25, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Dieter Bergman Wants You! (On A Standards Committee)

Some PCB designers are content to complain about IPC standards, but many of you are volunteering to help create these documents. IPC's Dieter Bergman describes how one person can make a big difference on a standards committee, and why you should get involved during APEX EXPO and the Designers Summit.
March 18, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Gary Ferrari Gets Ready for APEX

There's more going on than meets the eye at IPC APEX Expo and the Designers Summit. Gary Ferrari explains what's happening in the standards committees, and why his intro-level fabrication class usually draws a variety of attendees with assorted backgrounds.
March 11, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Review of Happy Holden's HDI Handbook

Happy Holden has created the industry's ultimate source of HDI information, The HDI Handbook. This book covers all aspects of HDI, and it's free, so you have no excuse not to read it. And don't forget to sign up for the HDI classes at IPC APEX EXPO and Designers Day in Las Vegas.
March 04, 2009

Yuriy Shlepnev: Simulation From Siberia to Seattle

Yuriy Shlepnev, founder of Simberian Electromagnetic Solutions, took home a DesignCon 2009 Best Paper award, and his company's Simbeor tool was a DesignVision award finalist. Yuriy traces his path from Cold War Siberia to Seattle, and he explains why electromagnetic interconnect analysis tools are in a transitional period.
February 25, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Rick Hartley Offers Tips for EMI Control

Rick Hartley discusses some of the tricks that PCB designers can use to manage EMI. Rick will cover these tips in more detail in his high-speed design classes during APEX/Printed Circuits Expo and the Designers Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 30 - April 2, 2009.
February 11, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Show Season off to a Good Start

DesignCon 2009 was a success, despite the uncertain economy. But, then again, the show takes place in Silicon Valley, and many of the attendees work and live nearby. Let's hope the remaining PCB trade shows and conferences located outside area code 408 fare as well in 2009.
January 28, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Lee Ritchey on Getting It "Right the First Time"

Lee Ritchey and I-Connect007 will soon release Volume 2 of Lee's book "Right the First Time: A Practical Handbook on High-Speed PCB and System Design." Lee explains why this book--to be available as a free download--is so vital to new and experienced engineers alike.
January 21, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Andy Kiener's DesignCon 2009 Update

DesignCon 2009 kicks off in less than two weeks, with conference classes beginning on February 2, 2009 and the exhibit floor opening February 3, 2009. Andy Kiener, executive vice president of the International Engineering Consortium, explains what's new at DesignCon for 2009--and 2010.
January 14, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Mike Heimlich of AWR Talks RF Design

For decades, RF and PCB design tools have developed along nearly parallel lines. But the two disciplines are slowly coming together. Dr. Michael Heimlich of AWR Corporation describes the convergence of RF and PCB design.
January 07, 2009

The Shaughnessy Report: Pentad Adds PCB Design--And Profits

In 2007 Pentad Design, a design bureau specializing in embedded and mechanical engineering, decided to add PCB design services. Managers didn't expect a profit within the first year. But PCB design proved to be quite profitable after all.
December 23, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Great Time to Donate Old PCs

According to a recent report, the used PC market is slowing in spite of increasing demand. So, in the spirit of the holidays, why not donate your old computer to a charity or non-profit organization?
December 10, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Altium's "Better Way" Campaign

Altium drew the attention - and chuckles - of the design community with an online ad featuring the overworked design engineer Dave and his restless girlfriend Bunny. President Emma Lo Russo and Product Manager Rob Irwin discuss Altium's "better way" of developing EDA tools.
December 03, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: A Conversation With Max Maxfield

Over the years, Max Maxfield has designed and written about CPUs, PCBs, ASICs--you name it. Today, while some segments of the industry seem to be reaching maturity, Max believes FPGAs and other programmables are just starting to hit their technological stride.
November 26, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: CAD, Cars and California

I always enjoy visiting the Golden State. Last week I was in Orange County, attending the Z-DAC Zuken users group meeting and visiting PCB design service bureaus. I managed to dodge the wild fires, and I had a glimpse into the future of transportation: The electric car.
November 18, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: LogicSwap Loses Nothing in the Translation

LogicSwap President Dilip Pitil built his data conversion company around the idea that PCB designs, schematics and libraries should be able to move in and out of any CAD vendor's PCB design tool. Dilip and Marketing Manager Mike Wilson sat down with Andy at the Z-DAC Zuken users group meeting in Long Beach.
November 12, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report : PCB Matrix Finds Value in Offering Free Tools

PCB Matrix recently announced plans to offer its new V2009 IPC Land Pattern Calculator free to all users of the IPC 7351 Viewer. President Tom Hausherr explains how PCB Matrix finds plenty of value in by giving tools away.
November 05, 2008

Nick Barbin on Optimum's Acquisition of RockSolid

What slowing economy? Optimum Design Associates recently acquired RockSolid Design, combining a top Allegro design bureau with a top Expedition shop. Optimum President Nick Barbin explains why this move made strategic sense.
October 29, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Time For Investment, Innovation

After all the recent negative financial news, some players in the electronics industry will opt to operate in survival mode well into next year. But companies that invest in innovative technologies and processes now will be the winners when the storm clears.
October 22, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: "Survival" a Lean Book for Everyone

PCB designers may ignore all the news about lean processes, because lean is often associated with manufacturing. But as Steve Williams of Plexus explains in his book "Survival in Not Mandatory," lean can help cut waste from any process.
October 08, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Deac Descoteaux of PalPilot on Scheduling and Quoting Strategies

Scheduling and quoting PCB designs is an inexact science. Deac Descoteaux of PalPilot discusses strategies for figuring out when that design will really be finished. Plus, a non-scientific look at whether a designer's gender has any impact on scheduling accuracy.
October 01, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Ron Schaeffer on Launching a Small Business

You've probably thought about becoming your own boss and launching a small high-tech company. But don't hang out a shingle just yet. Ron Schaeffer of Photomachining Inc. discusses his strategy for starting and running a small business, and why the life of an entrepreneur is not for everyone.
September 24, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Emma Lo Russo on Altium's New China Strategy

Altium President Emma Lo Russo explains the company's recent announcement of amnesty for illegal users of its EDA software in China. That offer is just one part of the Australian company's strategy for gaining market share in China.
September 17, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Nikola Kontic of Zuken

Zuken's newest release of the CR-5000 features open access and the all-new Dragon Router. Nikola Kontic, a senior consultant with Zuken, explains how the new CR-5000 allows users to access additional functions without purchasing licenses for add-on tools.
September 10, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Brad Griffiin of Cadence on Allegro's Interface Compliance

Brad Griffin, product marketing director for Cadence's Allegro line, discusses the latest upgrades to Allegro PCB SI found in SPB 16.2, including designing for compliance with multi-gigabit interfaces.
September 03, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: TXP CEO Michael Shores Discusses CIG Merger

TXP Corp. recently announced plans to merge with Shanghai-based CIG in order to develop optical network terminals. CEO Michael Shores explains how his company went from prototype maker to ODM, and why this merger makes sense.
August 27, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: I-Connect007 Now Better, Stronger, Faster

As you have noticed by now, I-Connect007 has a new look and feel. But you're looking at much more than a site redesign. In fact, the entire I-Connect007 family of publications has been rebuilt from the ground up.
August 20, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Hemant Shah of Cadence on Constraint-Driven HDI Design

Hemant Shah, director of product marketing for Cadence's Allegro PCB line, explains the new constraint-driven HDI design features that Cadence announced earlier this week.
August 07, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Brad Brim on Tool Development at Sigrity

Sigrity Product Marketing Manager Brad Brim explains some of the new features of the latest rev of SpeedXP, as well as the industry trends and customer demands that drive signal integrity tool development.
July 30, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: FTG CEO Brad Bourne On Design Errors

Firan Technology Group CEO Brad Bourne says half of new designs coming into his shop contain data errors. Brad has some advice on how designers can eliminate many of these mistakes.
July 23, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: DGCD Trains, Mentors New Grads

Few new graduates enter the field of PCB design, and those who do may not receive adequate training. Fort Collins, CO-based Dynamic Group Circuit Design has implemented an internship program to help new graduates adjust to the real world of electronics design.
July 16, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Javier Jimenez on Developing Design Classes

What does it take to create a PCB design class? Javier Jimenez knows. He's developing PCB design curriculum at the college level, and his HDI workshops led by Happy Holden take place on July 22 and July 24.
July 02, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Mike Fitts on Getting Company Approval for Your Idea

You may be certain that your new advanced technology idea will slay the competition. But first you need to get it approved by your own company. Plexus' Mike Fitts explains how to get buy-in from the powers-that-be and get your idea off the ground.
June 25, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Design Instruction Hits Canada, Brazil

It's a big week for PCB design education, as design conferences wrap up in Canada and Brazil. Andy is in Montreal with the latest.
June 18, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: John Armistead on Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering PCB designs is sort of a niche within a niche - and the perfect solution for a company that needs to re-create an older board without a Gerber file.
June 11, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Inside Design Goes Weekly

After just five months, the PCB design newsletter Inside Design is moving from bi-weekly to weekly.
May 21, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: UltraCAD Design's Doug Brooks

Doug Brooks, president of UltraCAD, talks signal integrity and packaging.
May 16, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Per Viklund and How-Siang Yap on the Mentor/Agilent RF tool partnership

Per Viklund of Mentor Graphics and How-Siang Yap of Agilent EEsof sat down with Design007 at PCB East to discuss the companies' recent RF tool collaboration.
May 07, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Rick Almeida Discusses CAM350 and BluePrint Releases

Downstream Technologies founder Rick Almeida discusses the latest upgrades to BluePrint and CAM350.
April 23, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Video Interview with Eric Bogatin

The "signal integrity evangelist" Eric Bogatin sat down with Andy Shaughnessy at IPC Printed Circuits Expo in Las Vegas to discuss the 10 things designers should know about signal integrity.
April 16, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Designers Hit Jackpot in Las Vegas

Years ago, PCB designers felt left out at Printed Circuits Expo and APEX. But no more. IPC's Designers Summit and Designers Day drew a record number of attendees this year.
April 09, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report - Nolan Johnson of Sunstone Discusses ECOsystem

Video Interview: What exactly is Sunstone's ECOsystem? Product Marketing Manager Nolan Johnson says ECOsystem is more of a design environment than a product.
March 26, 2008

The Shaughnessy Report: Interview With Gary Ferrari

In the run-up to APEX, industry veteran and instructor Gary Ferrari discusses lead-free materials selection, lead-free standards and what it all means to designers during component placement.
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