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PCBD-Nov2015

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48 The PCB Design Magazine • November 2015 duce DFM analysis and single file de- sign exchange into their new product introduction pro- cess. This revised ap- proach, rather than the "hand it over the wall and hope" method, resulted in significant time-to- market gains. Fun- damentally, they were shifting their attention from "up- stream" processes to refocus on "down- stream" processes, shifting from how a design is created to how it is to be manufactured. The trend of refocusing on manufacturing and a belief that DFM tools and singular design ex- change files were evolving from "nice to do" to "must do" was the catalyst for the creation of DownStream. Since our start we have intro- duced a full suite of DFM analysis, PCB docu- mentation, and assembly panel design tools. Shaughnessy: What are your customers' biggest demands when it comes to their new product de- sign process? Gallant: In the world of electronic product de- velopment, and specifically PCB design, the de- mand is clear: a successful, error-free transition from design to manufacturing. Many of our cus- tomers believe the transition process from design to manufacturing is the next frontier of time-to- market gains. Their focus is no longer just faster PCB design, which emphasizes and prioritizes the design phase of new product development. Instead the trend is towards PCB design and manufacturing, and giving equal weight to de - sign and manufacturing. The question, then, is why is this happening, and why now? Looking back from today's vantage point, it is an obvious and necessary direction. Electron- ics manufacturers always list time to market, cost and quality as top priorities in new prod- uct introduction. Be the first to market, produce it at the lowest cost, and provide the highest quality. To be successful, the manufacturing process and its many issues, requirements and challenges must be minimized before produc- tion begins. The demands from this new focus on the transition of design to manufacturing are to support a new downstream-focused engineer- ing process, develop or enhance our tools to analyze designs for "manufacturability" issues, and support industry standard, intelligent de- sign exchange file formats that drive the entire manufacturing process for new products. Shaughnessy: What type of pcB data is a chal- lenge to manage? Gallant: Under the traditional methodology, the many different files produced in what we re- fer to as "over the wall" handoff between design and manufacturing are the challenge. Some file examples are soft copy drawing files, Gerber files, bill of materials (BOM) lists, coordinate (centroid) lists, and many more. Maintaining the synchronicity of these files through engi- neering change orders (ECO) is an even greater challenge for us as an EDA vendor, and our cus- tomers. Shaughnessy: Where are the biggest challenges you face in meeting customers' data needs? Gallant: This is an interesting question. On the one hand, there is no doubt our customers are in need of improving the transition from de- sign to manufacturing. It is this requirement that accelerated the need for industry standard, intelligent, design exchange files for transfer- ring design data to manufacturing. However, while many of our enlightened customers tran- sition designs to manufacturing using IPC-2581 or Mentor's ODB++, many continue to utilize the same decades-old handoff process. We have witnessed time-to-market gains by many of our customers who adopted a design exchange file- driven transition to manufacturing. We believe significant gains in time-to-market are not pos- sible without adopting such a design exchange file-driven process. The time has come for the old handoff to manufacturing process to take its place along- Mark Gallant, Senior Product Marketing Manager, DownStream Technologies. DOWNSTREAM TAkES ON DATA DOCuMENTATION MANAGEMENT feature interview

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