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PCBD-July2016

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70 The PCB Design Magazine • July 2016 application. Now it doesn't seem like much, and despite the fact that we produce 20,000 of these a week, it's a very unique board design. It ends up with four different materials combined into a structure that has a transmit and receive portion of a radar system. This is basically a compact portable radar system, which is used in automotive applications for either intelligent cruise control or, in this case, where it's simply used to detect near objects. This is unique in that it uses an RF material on the top, it uses a standard FR-4 circuit board material as basically an air spacer, and another slightly lower loss RF grade FR-4 simply as the antenna portion. Not to get into too much detail about this, but this seemingly simple board has many years of development into making it a relatively simple and manufacturable design. Matties: One of the things that I hear frequently is people over-materializing their boards, and this sounds like an application where you're not doing that; in fact, you're doing exactly the opposite. Bushie: You have to in these types of applica- tions that turn into large volume, commercial products. There are applications where cost is no object. This other particular board, for in- stance, is actually a satellite application, and this uses the same or very similar RF material as this board. Whereas this might be a $7 circuit board, this might be 100 times that. This is a unique combination of aluminum, Rogers 4000 series product, and polyimide, all bonded into one simple structure. By taking the alternative approach and consistently evaluating the cost of all base components and process options, we are able to manufacture the most performance for the minimum cost. Matties: You deal primarily with a lot of design- ers and when a designer is coming in, what is it that they really need to know to be successful at creating a design that's going to go through and provide the result that they're anticipating? Bushie: What they need to know is that we're really there to act as their materials and design resource. We like to have a very close working relationship with the engineers, because we can help them make not only a very cost-effective product, but something that can be reproduced simply and readily. Matties: Shouldn't the designers know some of this already and come to you and say, "This is what we're looking for?" Bushie: They do a lot of times, and while we're certainly not designing it, what we're helping them to do is to tweak and adjust certain por- tions of their structures, which may allow them to use slightly lower-cost materials and realize an ultimately lower-cost product. Matties: One of the things that we see in design is design for manufacturability, and there's also a profit element, what we call DFP, design for profit- ability. When we look at the multiple uses and the range of materials now, that has to be taken into consideration, as well. It's the profit that you can get out of a board by a smarter design too, right? Bushie: We want to build the value into the board, and a lot of times we can do that by the design aspect instead of simply just putting DESIGNING FOR PROFITABILITY: DON'T OVER-MATERIALIZE

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