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JUNE 2023 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 29 Charles Capers Unfortunately, the loop is not necessarily fully closed back to PCB design when issues are found on the manufacturing floor. It is not unusual for the stencil supplier to receive a set of additional adjustments from manufactur- ing that modifies various types of apertures to address their issues. Over time, those become standard adjustments as the stencil supplier translates the data file that they receive from PCB design into what they believe manufac- turing wants. Ultimately, it is never a good practice to have such differences between the intentions of design tools and the actual process execu- tion. While the manufacturing floor would ide- ally provide feedback to PCB designers when they make changes at the stencil supplier, this is not a given. Make sure your PCB designers reach out to their stencil house and their man- ufacturing floor to help keep the right feedback loop in place. Charles Capers Zentech Dallas What is your main concern for PCB designers? Designers need to be more focused on the pro- cesses that take place aer the design is com- plete, namely, PCB fabrication and assembly. Most designers have never stepped foot into the fab shop or EMS facility that will be com- pleting the manufacturing of the product. It is critical to understand the processes that go into building their design, and how difficult it can be to build a poorly designed product. Visit a variety of fabricators and assembly providers; they'll be glad to answer any of your questions, and you might learn a few things in the process. Remember, your PCB design is not the final product. What issue should PCB designers be more aware of? Designers need to pay more attention to design for manufacturability (DFM), design for assembly (DFA), and design for test (DFT). IPC standards are a great way to learn the do's and don'ts of product design and manufactur- ing. I am a big fan of the CID/CID+ certifica- tion curriculum. What problem should PCB designers be more aware of? PCB designers should be more aware of the operating environment of their designs. Where is your board going to be during its lifetime, and in what type of environment? It is important to know how extreme temperatures, humidity, vibration, and other environmental factors can have a huge impact on product failure in the field. DESIGN007

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