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50 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2023 conflicting requirements to get compromise on and achieve optimum design. Stretched supply chains have perhaps worsened the "silo mentality" among designers, so it's important to keep other disciplines involved through, for example, their increasing number of webi- nars. Recently, with supply-chain length and security coming into more focus, there is more thought being given to the importance and contribution of all parts of the supply chain. Beyond the Organizations Technical support specialists for PCB industry material suppli- ers are omnipresent at these groups' industry events. ese specialists are a superb resource for designers who either need to build boards for unfamiliar applications or find a more cost-effective or reliable way to produce existing products on newer genera- tions of materials. e capabilities of PCB base materials continue to increase, even in a changing regulatory environment. You should always keep in mind that when you're looking to update a product or are moving into a higher speed or more environmentally demanding environment, that materials have changed sig- nificantly in recent years. Play a Role As a designer, fabricator, or supplier, you may feel that you have something important to contribute to ensure that designs are opti- mally produced. ese organizations provide a friendly environment in which to share knowl- edge, advice, and technical papers that benefit the whole industry, raise your own profile and that of your company. ese groups are always looking for new faces and fresh perspectives on the design and fabrication of electronic interconnects. Who knows, you could be one of the industry's next go-to specialists in your discipline. Cross-discipline Influences A PCB may be standard or high reliability. It may be functioning in a stable temperature environment or subject to the huge tempera- ture swings of a space application. It may be in the hot, cold, or humid environment of a vehi- cle engine bay, or immersed in oil in a gear- box application. A designer needs to consider reliability, the desired lifetime, and the operating speed (i.e., high- speed digital, radio frequency, radar fre- quency, etc). A base material supplier can provide invaluable assistance in choosing material. Industry organizations provide a forum for meeting a mix of specialists from diverse suppliers. However, if you are a designer for low volumes, it may be beneficial to work with a specialized PCB broker. Many of them have extensive material experience and can help match you with fabricators and material sup- pliers that best suit your application. Conclusion As PCB applications become more diverse and PCB designs become increasingly spe- cialized, it is well worth PCB designers' time to meet fabricators and material suppliers through these industry organizations. ey provide a good place to network and source the most appropriate materials. Always remember, you need more than just a materials datasheet to specify a PCB construction; you need exten- sive knowledge and the benefit of suppliers' application specialist support. DESIGN007 Martyn Gaudion is managing director of Polar Instruments Ltd., and author of The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... Secrets of High-speed PCBs, Parts 1 and 2. The capabilities of PCB base materials continue to increase, even in a changing regulatory environment.

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