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22 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2020 say in China, and they say to use vendor X, but the manufacturer uses vendor Y's mate- rial, which could be the equivalent. The price goes up because they have to special order the material for special deliveries, and they don't have good contract pricing or have a validated process for it, yet. I hate using the phrase 5G, but 5G designs are getting us into more loss-sensitive designs; changing FR-4 resins can mess up the design. And it's not obvious to a CAM person, quot- ing person, or the layout person when they're changing the resin, and changing the loss tan- gent a little bit can throw the design out of whack. It's getting a lot more complicated now, even from the CAM side, as to what you can or cannot change. I was teaching teams the types of designs to watch out for, and the ones you don't even ask to change certain fea- tures or specifications because you just can't. It's so tightly designed, you can't change it. Matties: If you were to go out and hire a de- signer, what would be the most important at- tribute in your search? Korf: Good visualization is important because you have to visualize what you're going to do before you start it. They would also have to be very adaptable, able to handle a lot of in- puts at one time, and able to figure out what the best thing is to do; there's a lot to consider. There are SI, power, safety, and fabrication rules, and they have to balance all that to tell the engineer what they can do. They almost need to be, in my opinion, an engineer skill level type of person—not just a drafting person, per se, from a talent standpoint. Shaughnessy: Do you have any final suggestions or recommendations for de- signers? Korf: For new designers, use your avail- able resources early on. A lot of board shops have field engineers who are happy to come to your site and work with you out there. They're happy to do stackups before it gets finalized or look at a preliminary lay out, maybe layout a few traces, and they can see what your routing strategy is. There are a lot of material suppliers and fabricators who are more than willing to help you out before you get too far down the design path. Use them; don't be afraid to because there's no stupid question. Shaughnessy: I'm surprised that so much of this works out when we hear about all the po- tential pitfalls. There are so many steps to fab- ricate a simple board. Isn't it about 148 differ- ent decisions? It's amazing that it works at all. Korf: As I mentioned earlier, I worked at a mini- computer company back in the '70s. One sum- mer, I went down to Disney World, where our computers were controlling the Magic Moun- tain ride. Our engineering joke was we got twice the thrill as the average person because we knew what could go wrong (laughs). Matties: That's a great quote. Dana, I always appreciate our conversations and your knowl- edge. It's enlightening to chat with you. Korf: Great. Thanks for asking me. This is an area I have a lot of passion for, and I'm going to help fix this. It can be fixed. DESIGN007 Dana checks out the pandas.

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