SMT007 Magazine

SMT007-Dec2019

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34 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 Johnson: Altium has been talking about a pivot toward the user experience. AltiumLive attend- ees just saw a demo of Altium 365, Concord Pro, and a number of tools demonstrating that the vision is real and growing. Can you give us a recap? Jordan: One year ago, we announced the plat- form called Altium 365, and the primary pur- pose of it is collaboration. This year, we also demoed Concord Pro with Altium 365 and what's coming in Altium Designer 20, and we put a lot of effort and R&D into improving the bread and butter of design. The end-user that's in that state of flow I mentioned earlier needs better tools for getting more done in less time. There's this constant pressure on us all, and we have to shrink board sizes. We're working with smaller components, so there's always effort going toward making the CAD better. But we also recognize that a lot of the ineffi- ciencies and frustrations in our industry come from all the things connected to the CAD, but not the CAD itself. Johnson: Outside the silo, as it were. Jordan: Exactly. And it's about the communi- cation between design engineers, PCB design- ers, and the supply chain. That's an issue, and we have been trying to improve that over time. We're continuing to ensure that parts are avail- able so that you know you have reliable, trust- worthy data on the parts; when you design them in, you can have a greater degree of con- fidence that they will be there when you go to production. The other side is communicating with your customers. If you're a design house, who is your customer? Your customer may be another department, such as your product marketing team, saying, "We've done our research. We know that we need to add these features, and we need to do a new version of our products with this specific feature." Make sure that they have the tools to close that loop with design so that when you build what they've asked for, or you're in the process of designing what they've asked you to do, they can see that earlier and make changes, adjustments, and improvements on that journey. You don't want to waste time building it three or four different times until you understand, finally, what they wanted. Finally, there's the communication with not just assembly but also PCB fabrication. In fab- rication, 80% or more of the designs in the world are still going to fabrication by file trans- fer via email or uploading Gerbers to an FTP server. We wouldn't do it if it didn't work, but there are still problems associated with that, which we live with and don't recognize them necessarily as real issues because it's the way things have always been done. There's this famous story of a mom who's baking for Thanksgiving, and she's cutting some portion off the turkey and putting it in the oven. One day, an outsider comes in and asks, "Why did you cut the legs off the turkey before roasting?" She says, "I don't know. My mom always did that, so I do it. Let's ask her. Mom, why did you always cut the legs off the turkey?" Her mom replies, "Because my pan was too small, and I couldn't fit them." We do things in design with Gerber files and drill files, and we do it the way we do it because it's what we know. Amit Bahl from Sierra Cir- cuits spoke at our evening event, and he said something that made me laugh because it's so true; he said, "Let's do a show of hands. Who copies and pastes their manufacturing table from one design to the next because you don't want to recreate it from scratch every time?" A bunch of people raised their hands, but there's danger in doing that. With 365, we're trying to create a platform for all stakeholders, not just those in design. Design is at the hub of the wheel, but there We're working with smaller components, so there's always effort going toward making the CAD better.

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