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10 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2020 " W h a t d o y o u e x p e c t from me?" How many times have you found yourself asking this question during your career? Like a lot of ideas, the concept for this topic came to me at a trade show (re- member when we used to attend trade shows?) in January. I was chatting with engineers at DesignCon—EDA vendors, OEM engineers, and consul- tants—and they explained that many of their challenges were not technical in nature. No, their problems were often the result of unmet expectations—either on behalf of the designer, other EEs, the fabricator, the final customer, or all of the above. I could understand if we were talking about designing wearable health monitors or anoth- er new industry, but this is a mature indus- try. How can anyone in PCB design and de- sign engineering not know what is expected of them? Most designers and EEs have been do- ing this for 30–40 years, so there shouldn't be too many surprises in the process. No one sets out to make mistakes, but it seems that many people involved in the PCB design process have gotten used to having un- met expectations. This holds especially true for fabricators; CAM departments have grown so accustomed to receiving incomplete or bad data packages that most of them won't even complain. They'll just fix the data errors and move on without telling the de- signer. Bad data is now part of their expectations. In a recent Design007 survey, 84% of respondents said that their fabricator's primary expectation i s a "c o m p l e t e, accurate data pack- a g e. " A n d s o m e CAM shops will tell you that a similar percentage of in- coming data pack- ages require some kind of attention be- fore manufacturing can begin. Then, there are the customers' expectations to contend with. In that same survey, we asked readers how cus- tomers' expectations have changed over time. Here are a few of the replies, slightly edited for clarity: • Today's customers are less likely to be aware of the requirements for a completed design • Faster delivery times, even for compact designs with many high-speed signals • Tighter, smaller designs without increased cost—seems unrealistic but it's true • Customers require wider expertise now— HDI, high-speed, flex, etc. • It follows the evolution of IC integration, with new packaging like BGA, BTC, and fine pitch The Shaughnessy Report by Andy Shaughnessy, I-CONNECT007 Great Expectations

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