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Design007-Apr2020

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26 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 garding using a new chip and a new sensor to drive down the cost of a product, which has been on the market for years. Here's where it gets tricky: You may not necessarily save mon- ey by using a less expensive component. Com- ponent packages can have many different form factors, and each may require different design techniques, which could offset any cost sav- ings. A proposed new chip may require a more expensive design process, manufacturing pro- cess, materials requirement, or all three. It's never simple. It really requires some good analysis by all of the project stakeholders. Shaughnessy: Before you begin layout, what are some criteria that you keep in mind for cost-aware design? Dack: The first thing is to define products by classes. What type of class does the product be- long to? Is it a disposable product? Is it a prod- uct that has a dedicated use, or is it a product that needs high reliability? These are all dif- ferent types of product classifications that will play into how much the product should cost. For instance, a disposable/throwaway calcu- lator that you buy at a dollar store would be presumed to use less costly components, high- Feature Interview by Andy Shaughnessy I recently spoke with Kelly Dack—CID, CID+, and a PCB designer and instructor who has worked in the design and manufacturing segments over the years. Thanks to his back- ground, Kelly provides an intriguing viewpoint on cost-aware design and the philosophy of de- sign economics in general. Andy Shaughnessy: Kelly, you've written about cost and profit in PCB design. Give us a basic overview of your thoughts on design econom- ics. Kelly Dack: Considering cost in design is tricky because there are so many facets of cost. First, it's expressed in product development as "time- to-market." How much is a company losing by not having this product? It depends on priori- ties. I've always said that the first priority is meeting a performance specification and then meeting a cost specification. But in this tricky industry, if you miss either constraint—cost or performance—you may not have a product. And rarely do I see a cost constraint on the front end of a PCB design project. In fact, I just had a conversation with an engineer re- Design Economics: The Buck Stops Where? Kelly Dack

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