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26 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2022 Feature Article by Cherie Litson, CID+ LITSON1 CONSULTING is is the $1 million question of every proj- ect: How can I cut the cost of the PCB? ere are about a thousand answers to this question. I may be exaggerating a little bit, but not much, especially when you consider that there are about 42 18 different ways a PCB could fail. at's a lot, but fortunately you really need to have a significant combination of these fail- ures before it makes the boards unusable. at said, there are a few simple guidelines that everyone can follow to reduce costs. I talk about them in my IPC CID and CID+ courses. Designers, fabricators, and assemblers talk about them in a variety of articles. Some pro- fessionals who have published some great articles on cost-saving strategies include Tara Dunn, Happy Holden, Chris Church, Kella Knack, Judy Warner, Julie Ellis, Lars Wallin, and many, many others. It's not as simple as saying, "Just cut down the layer count" or "Just use smaller parts and traces." Here's another: "Just use standard FR-4 material." en there's, "Just don't use blind and buried vias." ese will certainly work if you make them happen, but they are not always the go-to answers on how to reduce costs. I've actually reduced the cost of some boards by doing the opposite of what you would normally think you should do. Here are some examples: • Adding layers: is cut the cost of the board because I could increase the size and spacing of the traces. I was able to add an extra GND layer for shielding and better electrical performance. I had less fallout, less bow and twist, and easier manufactur- ing; thus, I cut the final costs.

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