The PCB Design Magazine

PCBD-Aug2017

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8 The PCB Design Magazine • August 2017 Let's just state for the record that no one wants to make a mistake. I think it's just a matter of human nature. It starts in elementary school; nobody wants to stand in front of the class at the blackboard and get a math problem wrong. If you do, it's a long walk back to your desk! Yes, we humans hate to face the looks of opprobrium from our fellow man. So, we go out of our way to avoid mak - ing mistakes. The PCB indus- try is no different. Fortunately , PCB designers, design en - gineers, fabricators, and assembly providers generally do what it takes to create a PCB that func- tions in the field as desired. But mistakes do happen. What does your company do when a board fails? When the board is designed, fabri- cated and assembled by three different entities, not to mention shipped by a fourth, figuring out what went wrong can be difficult, not to mention time-consuming. Naturally, we're approaching this equation from the point of view of the PCB designers and design engineers, because they tend to bear the brunt of the blame when a PCB starts smoking. And design is at the front end, so PCB fabrica- tors and assemblers have no problem casting a suspicious eye upstream. I'm sure you designers have heard it all from the fab and assembly folks: "How did you all screw up that design so badly? We built it the way you wanted it. Don't your soft- ware tools do most of the real work for you? Turn off the Pink Floyd and get cracking!" We s t a r t - e d planning this issue with a survey sarcasti - cally titled, "Whose fault is that bad board?" We asked a variety of ques- tions regarding how the cause or causes of failure were determined, and what compa- nies do to keep from making the same mistake again. We asked the question "If a board fails in the field, whose fault is it, typically?" Here are some of the answers, slightly edited for clarity: • Equipment set-up not followed, test procedure not followed, and demo manual not adhered to. by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 THE SHAUGHNESSY REPORT

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