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46 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2020 knowledge across our industry. Things are bet- ter now with the use of the internet to find in- formation—good and bad, depending on the application. I have a client who I have worked with for many years. The engineering manager and I go back to the early 1980s. He has called me many times to make me aware of a new proj- ect with a new engineer that I would be work- ing with. I jokingly say that I will train them well. I have started giving the new engineers who I help with their first layout a certificate stating their accomplishment. That may sound kind of silly to some, but that is a milestone they will remember forever; hopefully, they have learned something along the journey. I am willing to teach those that have a desire to learn. Maybe that is an issue in itself. Do those people designing a board really have a desire to learn about the process, or do they just want a board to start testing? Shaughnessy: What do fabricators expect from you? Gaines: Enough information to build a board accurately. I do not think board fabrication/ assembly shops spend enough effort on telling their clients what their expectations are. They are just making it happen. Maybe if they billed their clients every time a question is raised, it would get someone's attention! I believe someone is absorbing the cost somewhere. I have learned over the years what they may want data-wise, so I just out- put the same data for every job, whether it is used or not: Gerber, ODB++, pick-and-place, test reports, PDFs, etc. Shaughnessy: What do you expect from cus- tomers and fabricators? Gaines: I am not sure "expect" is the correct word here. Maybe "wish" is more appropriate. I wish all of my customers were more aware of the processes that are required to build a board. Therefore, when I need to discuss design op- tions, I could discuss them without having to explain everything. I generally work directly with the project engineer. They already have so many hats they are wearing that expecting them to be informed on the board fabrication/ assembly issues may be too much to ask. That is where a good layout designer comes in to guide and share knowledge. I wish fabricators/assemblers would pass back to the engineer/designer any issues at the end of the job. This is an opportunity for knowledge to pass back to those who can learn from the previous job. It really is a pain when you get ready to move toward produc- tion and find there may be an issue that the fabricators or assemblers have worked around. Maybe they contacted someone and got an ap- proval on an item, but that got lost—or they assumed it was fixed—and never made it back to the layout designer. Shaughnessy: You came up in a drafting envi- ronment. Do you think that experience con- tributes to you being a better designer, more detail-oriented, etc.? Gaines: Yes. Again, as an engineering team, we are creating documents to send to anoth- er team so that they can build what we desire. Our product is documentation, not a prototype in the lab. All boards should have a part number and a revision code. That part number goes on the fabrication/drill drawing and is the num- ber that represents that board in a parts list or a purchase order. The drawing should con- tain information needed to build that board using notes, reference specifications, charts, and dimensions. This drawing should be able to drive a quality inspection of the board/ part. Basically, if it is something that could be in question, it should be answered with this drawing. Our designs are nothing but details put to- gether into a bigger detail. I do believe to be a good designer you need to be very detail- oriented. Layout designers are the link be- tween the imagined and the producible. Shaughnessy: Give us some examples of what happened when expectations were not met.

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