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50 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 Lots of people are far more qualified than I am to talk about PCB design, but what fas- cinates me about both PCB and electronic design is the range of disciplines you need to be aware of, especially when moving into high speed/high power/high reliability arenas. For a new designer entering this space for the first time, it can be quite an eye-opener (no word- play intended) to discover just how many dif- ferent disciplines are involved in turning a good design into a fit-for-purpose PCB. Specialist in How Many Disciplines? One of the changes that has engulfed all industries in the past 50 years is the increas- ing level of specialisation required. Gone are the days when an engineer could have an idea, design the electronics, lay the board out, and maybe even build and etch the PCB them- selves. When Polar was founded in the mid- 1970s, that's just what could happen. And while this is still possible for the most basic of designs, a PCB designer now needs to at least be aware of a whole spectrum of special- ist disciplines which will entail dealing with other companies and industry professionals, to determine where, and where not, external advice is needed for a specific design. Material Choices e proliferation of materials in the past 20 years means that a new designer is faced with a bewildering choice of materials for any design; the temptation to "mix and match" to ensure best performance/value for money trade-off means a designer will oen need to speak to a base materials specialist for OEM work, or their PCB supplier, or a PCB value- added reseller. Many of these companies now employ former fabrication staff with exten- sive materials knowledge. Stretched supply chains mean these specialist intermediaries PCB Design Education— What 'They' Don't Tell You The Pulse Feature Column by Martyn Gaudion, POLAR INSTRUMENTS

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