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72 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2021 Lee Ritchey: Getting a fabricator's CAM depart- ment to talk to you is a tall order. Most won't do it. Cherie Litson: Ha! Totally feel your pain. at's why you ask us. We've been down this road before. You do have to pose some questions to your fabricators. And don't just talk to the salespeople; it's not their job. Talk to the fabri- cation engineer. Know that they are very busy people and don't have much time to train you. Also, the fabricator doesn't want to tell you that what you did was basically stupid, from their point of view. It helps if you know the right questions to ask. Take a good DFM class or earn your Certified Interconnect Designer (CID) from IPC. is will help you find out how to ask the question so that they will give you the answer you need to hear. It may not always be the answer that you want, though. Stephen Chavez: No offense taken. I'll just ask a rhetorical question. It all comes down to rela- tionships. How good is yours with your suppli- ers? If you have a very good relationship with your supplier, then this is not an issue you would run into. If you don't have a good or established relationship with your supplier, then why not? What are you doing to improve this? You should be engaging with your fabrica- tor's CAM department regularly to ensure overall success. Good designers and engi- neering teams do this regularly and have well- established relationships in place with their supplier(s). I would agree that some suppliers don't openly share their Valor settings, which many consider their IP. Most suppliers will share their capabilities, though. You simply need to ask for it. Many suppliers share this on their websites. If your supplier will not share their capabilities with you, then maybe you should rethink utilizing that supplier. As for the Valor (DFM/DFA) settings, I would think that once you have an NDA in place with that supplier, getting that information would not be too difficult. Again, this comes down to relationships and simply asking for this data for the mutual benefit of a long-term relationship between your company and the supplier. If the supplier is good and in it for the long haul with you, chances are that you can obtain that information. You can blame industry com- petition between suppliers. Suppliers don't openly share such content simply because every supplier has set up unique internal pro- cesses and structures for their long-term suc- cess. It all comes down to what is considered internal IP and the competitiveness among No offense to your experts; I love your publication. But wouldn't designers be better off posing questions to fabricators' CAM departments? But they won't answer them anyway! Which begs a question: Why don't most fabricators share their capabilities, Valor settings, etc., with designers—and then complain? Q

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