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66 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 Feature Interview by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 Our industry has been focusing on DFM for decades, but in our reader surveys, DFM issues are always among the biggest challenges cited by respondents. I recently spoke with Vince Mazur, product and persona marketing engi- neer at Altium, about the art and science of PCB design, and particularly design for manu- facturing. Is DFM an art form in itself ? Andy Shaughnessy: We oen hear that PCB design is part art, part science, a matter of right brain and le brain. Do you think it's more of one than the other, or does it depend on the design job? Vince Mazur: I think it depends on the design job. For example, f or imp edance - controlled, high- speed PCB design, the priority is per- formance-to-spec, not the expression or application of cre- ative skill and imag- ination, which is a common definition of art. e designer must choose the right materials and define the "right" stackup. By that, I mean the materials and geometry that sci- ence tells us will realize the desired imped- ances. If the designer chooses an incorrect stackup, it doesn't matter how pleasant the PCB looks, how optimized the placement and routing is, or how much expression or creative skill and imagination was deployed—it will not function as intended. e idea that science is the driver in this case is not to say that art is not present. Art most certainly is present in the all- important placement of components and rout- ing of traces. Rather, I mean that the scientific aspect takes precedence. Art will always be present. On the other hand, the design specifications may lend themselves to or even require more expression and creativity, especially when the design is closer to the user experience. Con- sider a display or series of visual indicators that may fit along a contour of a curved mechan- ical enclosure and implemented with a flex circuit. These types of de s ig ns are ar t f ir st , science second. But I maintain, once again, that both art and sci- ence will be present. In this example, one would pay attention to bend radii and other mechani- cal and materials science to assure long term quality of the flex imple- mentation. S h a u g h n e s s y : Can someone with a great mind for science learn the artistic side of design? We hear non-degreed The Art and Science of DFM

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