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22 The PCB Design Magazine • March 2015 step in and find a resolution. So, how can we do this? One way to help intra-departmental com- munications is to encourage participation. I have seen what happens in companies where communication is poor; instead of working to- gether, they foster an "Us vs. Them" mentality. This can happen when people don't know each other, or are unsure of who has what respon- sibilities, or are blocked by departmental divi- sions or antiquated corporate policies. So, engage these people. Ask for their opin- ions about your project and make sure that regular design reviews are scheduled. If anyone who should be part of the design review isn't, get them on board. One of the worst experi- ences you can have is to find out that a design failed due to a detail that was missed because a key person's input was absent dur- ing the design process. On the other hand, I've experienced the success that you can have by soliciting input from all team members during the de- sign. Getting everyone work- ing together usually leads to a result that exceeds the sum of the individual team mem- bers (synergy) which is good for the design, and ultimate- ly good for the company. Another thing that really helps is having your com- pany's DFM process docu- mented so that everyone has a clear understanding of the objectives. I have found that there is a vast difference between levels of documenta- tion from company to compa- ny. For those companies who are already following established DFM practices, there is usually a high level of documentation. Typically it is formatted according to the stan- dards used at that company and is available on the company's Intranet or at least in some sort of printed format. In some of these companies, the design is actually gated to this documenta- tion and won't be released until official reviews are completed and signed off by specific design team members. Then on the flip side are those companies who have little, if anything, in the way of documented DFM practices. If DFM prac- tices are followed at all it is usually in the form of "tribal knowledge" based on previous manu- facturing experiences. And as before, there is a vast amount of companies whose DFM docu- mentation is in between these two extremes. So how can we help in this documentation process? First of all, make sure that you are flu- ent with your company's DFM documentation and that it is well ingrained with your design process. On the other hand, if you are working at a company where the DFM processes are not well documented, you can start by getting some of these processes written down. Ask "Is that re- ally my job?" Depending on the size and struc- ture of your company, it just might be! Your next question might be, "How can I start?" A good place to start is by working with your company's manufacturing en- gineers, if available, or your manufacturing vendors, and finding out what your current standards are. Researching in- dustry established manufac- turing specifications is also a good way to gather informa- tion. The important thing is to start capturing some of these standards and get them documented. Even if all you do is to just create some sim- ple bullet points, it's a good place to begin. You don't have to start out by trying to write a novel, just get the ba- sics down in one place. Once you gather some of these ideas you will probably find that they will start flowing into what will eventually become a good working document. The last area to mention in helping to build a successful union between design and manu- facturing requirements is to incorporate auto- mated DFM checking into the design process. Once again, there is a big difference in how this is being done from company to company. Some companies doing design don't have any DFM: ThE PCB DESIGnER AS ARBITRATOR continues another thing that really helps is having your company's dFM process documented so that everyone has a clear understanding of the objectives. I have found that there is a vast difference between levels of documentation from company to company. " " feature

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