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MARCH 2024 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 83 soon as possible. We have this relationship with many of our customers. ey contact us before they draw a single line on the PCB design. ere are differential lines here with a 100- ohm impedance. e customer comes to us beforehand and asks, "Can you please provide a stackup and some design values for us to run with?" Because if they start the design being insecure about these things, they risk doing a lot of work in vain that they will need to change as soon as we get our hands on the design. Let's talk about that early collaboration between manufacturing and design to bal- ance those constraints. For example, does ICAPE follow any specific methodologies or protocols with design teams? Are there tools or technologies that help you get to a more streamlined development process? It's a matter of educating our sales force because they are the first face for our clients. Of course, they are speaking mainly with those who pur- chase the PCBs, but the clever salespeople involve the field application engineer to field the technical questions the salesperson knows they will be unable to answer. It is a team approach that works best. In today's world, the salesperson can simply arrange a Teams meet- ing. e world has really changed since COVID. We now have many design review meetings that way, which is good. I have one tomor- row aernoon with a German customer on a rigid-flex HDI project. erefore, the sales guy has set up a meeting with one of our German FAEs, me, and the client's designer and devel- oper. We will discuss what they want. He has a BGA pitch of 0.5 mm, so he will need a min- imum of two levels of laser-drilled microvias or one laser-drilled and one buried mechani- cal-drilled via for routing. ese are the things we will discuss, and I will provide him with the exact design rules needed to design or redesign this piece the right way for manufacturability at high volume. If we are not able to be involved early on, we typically get involved when salespeople get feedback from the factory saying, "Can we change this?" or "is is not manufactur- able." en we review, identify the problem area, and find a solution. We speak with the cli- ent and resolve it. at's how we like to work at ICAPE Group. at is why our clients like working with us. Ultimately, does that result in reducing the iterations that the design team goes through? Yes. I have seen it happen that a design goes to the prototype PCB supplier. e prototype supplier does not have this interaction with the customer. ey make modifications to build the board in small quantities, but the toler- ances exceed what is producible in serial man- ufacturing (high volume). e customer does not know this until they get it quoted in vol- ume and are told, "Sorry, we can't quote this. It is not manufacturable." It happens quite oen. What could the customer have done? Our aim is never to be in this situation because it's really terrible to explain to the client that we could do a prototype build, but we cannot do serial manufacturing. Is this a situation where prototyping with ICAPE Group is appropriate? Yes, we are typically managing the prototype process for our customers, so we manage the design review and revision process closely. ICAPE Group has two prototype options

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