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NOVEMBER 2018 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 75 desktop PCs with a handheld device that is a size of a remote control. Through that device, they want to scan the body for tumors or abnormalities. This would provide tremendous savings for the cost of a product because a similar machine costs millions of dollars now. If companies can make these products successfully, you could have it for 20–30% of the cost. The cost is coming down, but again, the manufacturing process is becoming tight and difficult. You have to make sure that all of these different steps are adequately taken care of, and that there are checks and balances along the way. Moreover, you should have a final QA before the product is shipped out of the contract manufacturing company. Las Marias: Many experts in the industry are saying that communication between the designers and assemblers is important. What do you think? Khan: Communication is crucial because with these are newer devices coming in the market- place, you need to make sure you're in contact with the designer and the manufacturer. What used to happen for traditional medical devices is you made a device and ensured that the components you placed on the design were available at a reasonable price. This isn't an issue with the manufacturing itself. With newer technology, some of the datasheets don't call out the specifics of how you need to do the layout. If you don't communicate prop- erly, you might end up making a product that may not work optimally. What do I mean by that? If you're making a medical device—such as one that is limited in size because it's a portable or a wearable device—that means in manufacturing, you have to run through all the signals properly, and you are short or limited in real estate. In PCB for fabrication, for example, you will have limited space to place the components on the top and bottom of the board. Also, the compo- nents that you select should have their form factor in terms of the Z-axis—the height of the component—which will be low because the size, thickness, and weight of portable devices are issues. Next, are they available? If yes, there might be a differential in cost or something, it is hard to say. Again, when it comes to fabrication, the same board might require blind or buried vias, which means the costs will increase. At the same time, you are trying to cram the same functionality in a small footprint of a circuit board, so you have to use techniques like blind or buried vias that are required to run all the signals properly to make sure all the input and output signals travel correctly. These types of issues need to be discussed between the people who are going to design and make the product so they can foresee the issues that might come up in manufacturing. One thing that gets overlooked by many design- ers regarding component placement is that since the devices are small, they want to stack these all the way to the edge, which makes it difficult to manufacture because if these panel- ized boards need to be sheared or de-panel- ized, there is a risk of damaging these compo- nents which are at the very edge of the board. These are typical issues that can be over- come if you have a strong team that commu- nicates from design through manufacturing. Work together and collaborate to minimize these issues. Las Marias: Do you have any final thoughts about what our readers should know regard- ing PCB design and assembly when it comes to medical electronics? Khan: Go to somebody who knows what they are doing. The company should be ISO 13485 certified, and they should look at the history of what kind of products the company has made for the medical device industry, as well as the types of challenges that they faced and over- come. That would be my word of caution. Las Marias: Great. Thank you very much, Zulki. Khan: Thank you. SMT007

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