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44 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2021 Feature Article by Rich Tighe NOAH MEDICAL Rapidly designing and building successful electronic circuit boards is always helped by good communication and collaboration among engineering teams (internal and/or external), purchasing departments, and EMS providers. Collaborating effectively and efficiently with colleagues through- out the design cycle leads to bet- ter results. Parts selection and avail- ability have always been important, but they have become a primary concern during the global pandemic-induced shortages. By using circumspect design techniques and a design tool that facilitates collabo- ration and provides clear insight into the supply chain, PCB designers can stay on top of parts issues and produce successful products. Sharing Access From the beginning of a new design through its completion, many colleagues can contrib- ute to its success if provided access to the design. is may include mechanical, system, manufacturing, and service engineers. Sharing access to the design in a cloud-based deposi- tory, such as Altium 365, lets each team mem- ber review the design according to their per- spective and needs. ey can add comments or questions in the schematic or PCB views which become visible (and resolvable) by the designer in the CAD soware. is makes reviewing the design and adding changes or answering con- cerns a breeze. I have long enjoyed turning the mechanical engi- neer's MCAD PCB STEP model into the board's shape (mounting holes and all) with a button push. I'm no longer nervous waiting for the board to arrive or surprised when it looks and fits exactly as intended. Being able to do this while iterating between the ECAD and MCAD tools has sped several recent designs. No more emailing STEP files back and forth or siing through shared drive storage for the Tuesday 3 p.m. file. One design had particularly tight and vari- able height constraints and needed all the space it could get. When the design was ready to send to manufacture, both the EE (me) and ME were confident it was going to be right the Collaboration by Design: The Role of EDA Tools

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