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42 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team No discussion about fab notes and documen- tation would be complete without the insight from DownStream Technologies. DownStream has spent 18 years developing tools to help PCB designers provide more accurate, com- plete data packages to the fabricator. We recently asked Rick Almeida, Down- Stream co-founder, and Technical Sales Man- ager Ray Fugitt to discuss why so many fab- ricators are still receiving (and correcting) inaccurate and incomplete data from their cus- tomers. And if fabricators and designers are content with this current process, is it really a problem after all? Andy Shaughnessy: It's great to speak with you both, even by conference call. Can you tell us about some of the biggest problems that fab- ricators have to deal with, as far as data from their customers? Rick Almeida: Ray's experience is actually working for fabricators, so he'd have a pretty good technical knowledge of what some of the issues are. But from what we see as a com- pany, dealing with this on a day-to-day basis, is that some of the problems are in a couple of different areas. One is there's a myriad of data files that get handed off. The market, in general, is still Gerber-centric and not so much single manufacturing file-centric. Because of that, you have a lot of different data files and documentation to tell you how to use those data files, which creates issues. When you have so many different data files, you run into the issue of if all the data files are there and correct. Does the design itself line up with what the manufacturer is asking you to build? Those are the common things that we see peo- ple having problems with. Ray, do you want to add anything to that? Ray Fugitt: One of the biggest ones we see, and especially since I'm in tech support now, is bad data out of the CAD systems. There is this thought throughout the industry that the CAD systems don't put out bad data, but we see it every day. Barry Matties: Why are they getting bad data out of the CAD system?

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