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JUNE 2021 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 33 (conflicting documents), design errors (impedance vs. stackup), and suggest yield improvement adjustments. Challenge: Build the design as sent to the manufacturer with only process compensation. • Intelligent data transfer: Quit using non- intelligent 1960s Gerber-based data with PDF files and move to intelligent data formats such as ODB++ and IPC-2581. Challenge: e entire industry needs to switch to an intelligent data format. • Bi-directional knowledge transfer: Manufacturers need to provide all the design rules, in an automatically loadable format into their customers' CAD systems, that their DFM departments use, so the design can be manufacturable. Challenge: Manufacturers must provide all design rules and CAD soware needs to be modified to use these rules during layout. • Material selection: ere is a broad array of PCB materials available. ere is excellent simulation soware that can be used to propose an optimum solution. RF designers may be able to selectively use high-speed digital materials. High speed designers may be able to selectively use RF materials. Challenge: Look at potential applicability of non-traditional materials. • PCB front-end engineering automation: Existing processes assume that humans are required to touch every design to create production tooling. Create fully automated paths to reduce the cost of tooling, reduce cycle times, and improve quality. Challenge: Use digital twin techniques to create a few fully automated paths. Our industry, thanks to the collaboration of organizations like IPC, iNEMI, UL, and HDPUG, has attacked and resolved material, design, and application challenges as they occurred. e industry takes these challenges on in a very professional manner with our customers' safety and product performance in mind. Significant challenges have been over- come, such as how to connect and reliably solder component pads under devices. We resolved ENIG black pad solderability issues with improved process control. We worked together to determine what materials and material properties were required when we transitioned to lead-free soldering. We have converted the copper trace from just a discrete wire replacement, determined how to create predictable impedances, and learned how to predict insertion loss for that same conduc- tor. Conductors started out on rigid boards, then flexed on flex PCBs which are now being stretched in a random fashion and thrown into washing machines on wearable interconnects. Materials, fabrication, assembly processes, and DFM soware tools have evolved to sup- port these requirements. As the Star Trek mission might say, "We will boldly go where no designer has gone before." The Blooper Reel One time when I was in college and attend- ing a free Friday night movie, we were treated to a four-minute clip called Star Trek Bloopers which had me crying with laughter. Everyone must see this, as it shows outtakes and spe- cially-added video which I will always remem- ber, especially the final scene. DESIGN007 Dana Korf is principal consul- tant of Korf Consultancy LLC in Bremerton, Washington, and writes a regular column for I-Connect007. To read past columns or contact Korf, click here.

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