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22 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2019 system in place, this can include automatical- ly retrieving design information and generat- ing precise summary reports that identify po- tential risks and challenging design features. These tools allow sales and quoting person- nel, who typically do not have a technical en- gineering background, to work more indepen- dently from engineering and provide a highly accurate quote. Many of the fabricators using these software packages offer them as an online check prior to submitting a quote. However, they typical- ly have a support person run the files through the software for the customer. If you are utiliz- ing any of these services, you can do yourself a favor and minimize quote response times by standardizing your file names to avoid send- ing any conflicting information. These quote software packages do not have the ability to read and interpret drawings. If your file names are not readily recognized to prepare the layer stack, the system may pause to allow the user to enter this missing or misinterpreted infor- mation and continue to process the job. Incoming files are placed into a "hopper" with some type of naming convention that es- tablishes which files go to which quoting per- son (presuming your fabricator has more than one). The files are then loaded into the sys- tem, and the software runs an analysis of your data; in some cases, it will even run your pro- vided IPC design netlist against the provided customer image data. The benefit of using a pre-quote software solution is identifying po- tential manufacturing problems early during the quote stage without tying up engineering resources. Visit I-007eBooks.com to download The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Producing the Perfect Data Package as well as other free, educational titles. PCB007 Fun fact: The process of printing blueprints is now obsolete; however, the term continues to be used informally to refer to various digital images known as "prints" or "drawings." During SMTA Atlanta, Andy Shaugh- nessy spoke with Albert Gaines, found- er of the design bureau HiGain Design. They discussed Albert's belief that ev- erything starts with design and the fact that too many engineers and designers focus solely on the final board at the expense of the documentation. It may not be PCB designers' favorite part of the process, but documentation, in ma- ny ways, is their most important prod- uct of all. To read this entire article, which appeared in the June 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here. Albert Gaines: It All Comes Down to Documentation Albert Gaines

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