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56 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2019 design errors or manufacturing problems dur- ing your PCB project. More than lip service, quality management should be integral to your process. Choosing reputable PCB manufactur- ers at the beginning of each design phase is critical and a great first step towards a high- quality outcome. It is unlikely that one manufacturer will fit all of your PCB needs. We each have our sweet spots with respect to each type of manufacturing project. By performing due diligence with your manufacturers and designing to their in- dividual sweet spots, you position yourself for effective collaboration on those cutting edge or capability-taxing pieces. This can pay divi- dends in the overall manufacturability and re- liability of your project. We don't hide what we are good at. Most every PCB manufacturer goes to great lengths to promote their sweet spot, as well as maxi- mum and minimum capabilities, to the mar- ketplace. This makes it easier for you to choose the right manufacturing partner for each board. Of primary concern at the outset is to confirm that the manufacturer accepts industry-standard file formats, specifically Gerber files and/or ODB++. Accurate Gerber files are mission-critical for smooth PCB manufacturing. Converting to Gerber files can reveal design issues ahead of the quote process and ensure your manufac- turer has everything needed to produce your boards correctly and on time. Of course, what Build Quality Into Your Boards and Processes To the procurement clerk, a PCB may seem like it is just a line item on a bill of materials (BOM) or parts list during the production of an electronic device. At Sunstone, we know differ - ently. The PCB is the building block for all of the components and parts in your electrical project. Boards are more than the sum of their parts—the epoxy, glass, copper, polymers, and holes are not the board. The board is the cus- tom-made end product for a designer, layout engineer, entrepreneur, or team who has tak- en hours, days, or even weeks of time crafting the perfect PCB design. If the design turns out to not be perfect or the manufacturer doesn't produce quality boards, delay and cost over- runs are the result. In the worst-case scenar- io, the boards don't function properly, and no- body needs that many PCB coasters! Committing to quality and best practices at the outset will help you limit the potential for Connect the Dots by Bob Tise, SUNSTONE CIRCUITS

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