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64 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2022 Feature Interview by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 Not long ago, I caught up with Carl Schattke, CEO of PCB Product Development LLC and a longtime PCB designer, for his thoughts on "designing in a vacuum." As Carl points out, if you follow PCB design best practices, knowing the identity of your fabricator is not a "must- have." He also offers some communication tips for discovering the information you do need, including one old-fashioned technique—just asking for it. Andy Shaughnessy: Carl, how oen do you design a board without knowing who is going to fabricate and/or assemble it? Carl Schattke: It's pretty oen that the design will start and get completed, or nearly com- pleted, without any board vendor involve- ment. is is far more common if it's a standard stackup and a routine process. For sequential lamination, rigid-flex and flex boards, it's very rare to not involve the board vendor early on. Also, if there are multiple dif- ferential pair impedances on different layers, it's much more likely a request to the board vendor will be made at the start of placement before routing commences. Shaughnessy: Why do you think so many designers have no idea who is going to manu- facture their boards? Schattke: It's nice to have this information, but it's not a must-have. By following general rules for volume manufacturing, you should be able to get the board built by the vast majority of UL- listed board shops. EEs and purchasing people are typically very busy and they don't have time to do tasks until they need to be done. e can that can be kicked down the road usually is. Designing in a Vacuum Q&A: Carl Schattke

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