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16 The PCB Design Magazine • July 2015 This could be represented by: 1. Implementing out-of-the-box supply chain management software, with a total dis- regard of current practices and design concepts causing process conflicts up and down the pro- cess track. 2. Adopting a metrics-oriented process not based in reality in supporting design-to prod- uct, resulting in poor quality product deliveries. 3. Software interface that is user-unfriend- ly causing delays in product movement and/ or misrepresented product descriptions (wrong product delivered). 4. Taking an extended time to complete a task, so it is not even realistic or possible to uti- lize particular supply chain management func- tions. The above, poorly implemented examples are the result of process deprivation in PCB de- sign. The visibility, knowledge and understand- ing of the impact to a process are at most times not apparent to the PCB designer. On the other hand, upper-level company integration could be just grand. With visibility to available stock, managers may be better able to manage inven- tory and second- and third-tier organizations to leverage company designs. But supply chain management can be diffi- cult for longer-term realized functions (i.e., de- sign for future product, small batch prototypes, and engineering development). This is mainly due to processes that are impractical to utilize or too time-consuming to be effective. Supply chain management can be a bit of an allusive process if it is not well defined with high involvement at all levels within the orga- nization. This would include equal say of all lev- els and functions of the process. An additional few bits would be; an environment for learning and an integrated education experience for the participants could become a positive aspect. It would seem that a well-managed supply chain includes two-way communication, with inte- gration through all aspects of development, implementation, maintenance and cross-func- tional usage. A clearly defined supply chain may not be very apparent to the designer. But there is, in fact, a supply chain for almost all PCB design processes, and successful PCB designers should embrace and utilize a solid supply chain man- agement regime. The best approach is to place the supply chain management into your tool- box, and know what the process can offer to sup- port the specifics of the PCB design-to-product process. Be aware of some the pitfalls, and com- municate and educate for success. PCBDESIGN university of Tokyo researchers have devel- oped a new ink that can be printed on textiles in a single step to form highly conductive, stretchable con- nections. This new function- al ink will enable electronic apparel such as sportswear and underwear incorporat- ing sensing devices for mea- suring a range of biological indicators such as heart rate and muscle contraction. now, Professor Takao Someya's research group at the university of Tokyo has developed an elastic conducting ink. The ink exhibited high conductivity even when it was stretched to more than three times its original length, which marks the highest value reported for stretch - able conductors that can be extended to more than two and a half times their original length. Ink Paves Way for Printable Elastic Conductors David Ledger-Thomas is a PCB design engineer with honeywell aerospace. SUPPLy CHAIN CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES continues feature

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