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28 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2018 Feature by Bill Acito CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS The challenges faced by the PCB designers of today are significant. If we examine the breadth of designs, we find ever-increasing data rates and more high-speed signal routing that drive additional challenges meeting signal-quality requirements, including reflection signal loss and crosstalk issues. At the same time, design- ers are being asked to complete designs in shorter cycle times and in smaller form factors. They must come up with new and more com- plex routing strategies to better control imped- ance and crosstalk. Manual implementation is often time-consuming and prone to layout errors. Designers have an increased need for pre-layout simulation to evaluate the design early on and establish routing strategies. Designers are faced with conflicting require- ments. The PCB designer is expected to do more with less space. The overall density of designs is increasing. Balanced against cost constraints, the PCB designer may leverage high-density interconnect (HDI) technology to compress the design into the available space, which in turn increases the likelihood of signal integrity issues. Cost pressures may force the PCB designer to reduce layer count or, at the very least, stay within the layer count that has been budgeted. The PCB designer finds himself in a constant battle to converge on a design that meets all the design constraints. EDA vendors have pro- vided a suite of various tools and automation to assist with the manufacturing constraints and physical and signal integrity physics of the design—breakout tools, route feasibility and estimation, timing and delay match, HDI-com- pliant design, and flex and embedded compo- nent design. Without a doubt, the challenges are significant for the PCB designer. If the con- straints cannot be surmounted with technol- ogy, perhaps the solution is to work smarter. So, rather than looking at some of the advanced additive technologies and other PCB manufacturing capabilities that could enable us to work at a significantly finer pitch, albeit

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