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24 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 out" to fabrication and, when returned, imple- mented as an IC that did not function. Today, it is well appreciated that with the very high non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs, IC design and fabrication is a "moon shot." e costs are so high that it simply must be right the first time. To achieve that objec- tive, the industry adopted a collection of de- sign methodologies and tools, enabled in part by multivendor support for library and design data exchange. is relatively open data ex- change even included the portability of "rules- decks" used across competing physical verifi- cation systems. Out of necessity, the method- ology considers fabrication aspects early in the design cycle. While it is too simplistic to say that an IC is just a smaller version of a multilayer PCB, the comparison is not completely without merit. As PCB fabrication and assembly processes become more differentiated across manufac- turing providers, PCB design will likely begin to embrace some of the same concepts that the IC design industry used to cope with complex- ity escalation. Boldly Going Forward e increase in PCB complexity, density, and edge speeds shows no sign of abating. Research is even underway on PCBs that use mixed cop- per and embedded polymer waveguides as in- terconnects. Combine this with more wide- spread use of package-on-package and oth- er newer assembly techniques, and PCB man- ufacturing will become more of the art form than it already is. Just as semiconductor fabri- cators, such as Intel, Samsung, and TSMC are differentiated along the strength of their close- ly guarded fabrication IP, the same will contin- ue to exert influence in the PCB manufactur- ing arena. Fabricators and assemblers will con- tinue to be differentiated by their capabilities and proprietary IP know-how. With a fully connected and data-enabled global ecosystem of fabricators and assemblers, as soon as the designer chooses a fabricator or electronics contract manufacturer (ECM), the designer gains immediate access into capabili- ties. eir design space would be immediate- ly populated with the inherent rules and con- straints that would need to be applied to their design, based on the capabilities of the target manufacturer. e concept is similar to how the preview in a print dialog changes when dif- ferent printers are chosen. Choose a color-ca- pable printer, and the preview changes along with available graphics resolutions, page size options and other printer-specific capabilities. is data-enabled, global ecosystem ap- proach moves manufacturing awareness much earlier in the design cycle where it can be lev- eraged through the product development pro- cess. is can lead to reduced or eliminated Zoom meetings and email threads, and much more awareness. Say an ECM adds a new pick- and-place line with greater capabilities; this awareness is immediately propagated to de- signers targeting that company, updating the rules and constraints for immediate leverage. If a design is already completed, imagine a situation where you can take your PCB design and submit it, with a mouse click, to the global community of PCB fabricators and assemblers to find the best fit. e submission would re- turn a list of companies that not only can man- ufacture the board, but can do so while satisfy- ing criteria on factors such as lead-time, cost- target, current capacity, geography, etc. While in a slightly different domain, there is a precedent for this type of paradigm. In the While it is too simplistic to say that an IC is just a smaller version of a multilayer PCB, the comparison is not completely without merit.

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