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92 PCB007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 delivery, and lost capacity while remaking the deficit. The PCB designer is primarily concerned with achieving elec- trical functionality and intercon- nection requirements within a defined mechanical area using specified design rules. Design in- dustry veteran Rick Hartley ad- vocates for the following: "Every PCB designer should be taught the many benefits of copper bal- ancing and incorporate the con- cepts into their board designs." Most designers appreciate the need to maintain reasonable sym- metry within the layer build-up to minimise warpage, but many would benefit from a bet- ter understanding of the basics of plating dis- tribution when configuring their outer layers— an important element of the DFM philosophy. The CAM engineer is the person receiving the design data, with the responsibility to prepare the production tooling and set up the panel lay- out. The panel format may have been specified by the customer—for example, a step-and-re- peat array to suit an assembly process or alter- natively by an in-house requirement to achieve the best utilisation of material by incorporating a number of individual circuits in a produc- tion panel. The outcome of the production pro- cess depends on the PCB design and the panel layout that is committed to production. PCB designers and CAM engineers may feel there is little or nothing they can do to achieve uni- form finished copper thickness of PCB traces and holes. pect ratio holes, another challenge is to meet the minimum copper thickness requirements in the centre of the hole. As the PCB manufacturing industry deals with designs of increasing complexity, in a market that demands higher-quality boards on shorter lead-times and at a lower cost, it is vi- tal that production yield is maximised. Pattern plating is a critical process stage, where thick- ness uniformity within close tolerances can be extremely difficult to attain—despite the efforts and expertise of the chemical formula- tor and the equipment engineer. However ex- perienced and ingenious the process engineer may be, their chances of success are largely determined by the actions of the PCB designer. In the worst case, the quality engineer has to deal with the non-conformance specification issues, and the production manager is left to worry about the shortfall in yield and its con- sequent effects on manufacturing cost, delayed

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