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64 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2019 With today's rapid product development cy- cles and time-to-market pressures, PCB de- signers are pushed to their limit. This situation leaves many developers with the question of how to ensure that their high-speed digital design performs to expecta- tions, is stable given all possible di- verse environments, and is reliable over the products projected life cycle. As developers avoid the expense and delays of re-engineering the product, they look to employ design integri- ty methodologies during the design phase. For a sufficiently large number of electronics products, failures are dis- tributed in time as shown in Figure 1. This curve is called "the bathtub curve" and displays the typical reli- ability of diverse products regardless of their functionality. One would ex- pect a product to fail after some years of service but preferably long after the product becomes obsolete. Premature failures are of particular concern and are typically the result of poor design practice or substandard manufacture. This column will focus on the design aspects. The cost of development is dramat- ically reduced if the simulation is em- ployed early in the design cycle (Fig- ure 2). If changes are made late in the design process, then it takes more time, people, materials, and money to complete the project. The advantage of simu- lation is that it identifies issues early in the de- sign process and rectifies them before they be- come a major problem. The Key to Product Reliability Beyond Design by Barry Olney, IN-CIRCUIT DESIGN PTY LTD / AUSTRALIA Figure 1: The bathtub curve—product reliability life cycle. Figure 2: The cost of design change during product development. (Source: Mentor Graphics)

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