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50 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 play in understanding the circuitry without be- ing an engineer. Designers need to understand so much more than when I got into this busi- ness—back when there was more of a drafting element to it. Designers are the bridge between electronics and manufacturing, so they need to help bring together power integrity, signal in- tegrity, cost, and reliability aspects of the de- sign. They will also need to be able to see boards together in a 3D environment and be able to take measurements, so they're not just con- straining based on one board but a system. Be- ing a manufacturer, de- sign for robotics is go- ing to be important in the near future as robot- ic arms are being used more frequently. Feinberg: Have you seen an increased level of communication between the design teams and the suppliers who are sup- plying things like the laminates and the pho- toresist, solder masks, etc., as well as the fab- ricators? Barbin: We are commu- nicating with the various fabricators on a daily ba- sis, as they're a great source for us in helping put together stackups as well as understand- ing all the different materials that are available. Matties: When you hire somebody, what do you expect from a designer? What sort of skill sets do they have to come in with now? Barbin: Going forward, I think that some col- lege-level of electronics is going to be required, if not an EE background. You can see the EDA tools are heading in that direction by providing intuitive interfaces, simulation, and library ser- vices. When I see resumes that discuss differ- ent projects—especially the types of technolo- gies that we're working on here—that's a posi- tive from my standpoint. Shaughnessy: How do you manage the custom- er's design? Barbin: We do this as a partnership between the lead designer and design project manager. The lead designer is the captain of the ship, responsible for the technical and on-time de- livery while the project manager communi- cates all schedule and business-related items to our customers. We do that on an ongoing basis. We don't want any surprises as we get toward the end of the design schedule. We have taken a very pro- active approach, which has worked very well for us. Every Monday after- noon, all our designers do a video call, and they must have their video- enabled. Each designer will have two minutes to discuss their respec- tive designs. This meet- ing helps increase the collaboration and com- munication between our designers. We're a team, and as we see dif- ferent issues coming up, we can share them with each other. Matties: That's great, and I imagine that you're looking to hire. Barbin: Yes. We don't like to run more than at 75–80% of capacity; if we do that, then we can't take on new business. If we tell a cus- tomer, "We can't take on your work because we're too busy," we may never see that cus- tomer again. But I'm always on the hunt for passionate designers who love what they do. If you support them, they're going to dazzle our customers.

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