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April 2015 • The PCB Design Magazine 45 CliCk To View Video Interview During iPC APeX eXPo, Ben Jordan, senior manager or product marketing for Altium, met with Guest editor Kelly Dack to discuss Altium's focus on design tools for rigid-flex. he explains how Altium's tools eliminate the need to create paper dolls by modeling rigid- flex in full 3D, and much more. Altium Talks 3D Flex Packaging Design by Real Time with... IPC APEX EXPO 2015 was jam my finger and split my fingernail. But I had gotten careless in my haste. As carpenters say, "Measure twice and cut once." Perhaps we could modify that advice to make it analogous to the PCB design community and then stick that in the utility belt as well. And here's my last thought for handy tools to have in your utility belt: "If your CAD system can do it, make sure that you use it." Too often I have seen designers omitting helpful features or doing something manually when their CAD sys- tem already has these automated routines avail- able. These functions are put into the tools to help you, so you should use them. For example, on the layout system that I support, Intercept's Pantheon, we not only have regular DRCs avail- able but also ERCs and MRCs (electrical rules checking and manufacturing rules checking). These checks give the designer the ability to verify their design in the same way that fabrica- tion and manufacturing vendors do. With this ability the designer has the opportunity to find problems specific to the manufacturing process before the design leaves their department. This is a new and different way of doing things for a lot of designers and unfortunately many avoid it. But it's there for a reason: to help eliminate errors, reduce board spins, save cost, and ulti- mately create a better design. We probably won't ever get called upon to save Gotham City from the Joker, and hopeful- ly none of us will ever try to enhance a riding lawnmower with a jet engine as Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor did, but a utility belt fully stocked with tools to help us with PCB design is a great thing to have, and may ultimately make the difference when we are really stuck. As Tim Taylor would say, "Aaaaaaaarooohhh!" PCBDESIGN THE UTILITy BELT continues tim's takeaways Tim haag is customer support and training manager for intercept Technology.

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