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18 The PCB Design Magazine • October 2015 feature damage. The more items you have to move to address a problem, the more time this takes. Pitching in to Save Time This brings us to another methodology we use for accelerating the design cycle times. Our company is staffed with support designers on the first and second shift. These designers are trained to follow the same methodologies for pin escaping and routing. They work hand in hand and under the guidance of the lead de- signer to help reduce the design cycle time. Both Mentor and Cadence have developed par- titioning tools to help manage this, but they are not required to successfully leverage multiple designers concurrently. What is required is crisp communications to manage the effort. Think of the lead designer as the conductor of an orches- tra. Without his direction, the execution is not likely to meet the audience expectations. Finally, generating a "clean" database to the PCB fabricator is critical to achieving the ulti- mate goal of the design process: getting boards in hand to debug. If there are DFM issues in the database, the fabricator will typically stop their process until the issues identified are addressed (fixed or waived). To optimize each customer's success when seamlessly releasing design data- bases to fabrication, we perform an indepen- dent QA and Valor analysis to validate every design. This extra step helps to assure that our customer's "release to fab" dates are not com- promised with delays due to the fabricator ad- dressing DFM issues. On the horizon, the future is exciting for the layout designer. Mentor and Cadence are both developing their interactive autorouting capa- bilities. These features work with the designer's guidance to selectively autoroute and tune the signals. Both companies can provide examples of design cycle times that have been reduced by 20-40%. Designers who have been in this industry since its earliest days have seen a lot of changes since the days of Mylar and tape. One thing is for sure: The dynamic developments in elec- tronic packaging will continue to drive the de- velopment of new features in CAD tools to help minimize the design time. One thing hasn't changed over the years: Time is still money. PCBDESIGN References 1. More information about these features can be found in the presentation Designing More Efficiently. DON'T BE HELD HOSTAGE BY DESIGN CYCLE TIME Scott Miller is chief operating officer for Freedom CAD Services, responsible for the company's operations, sales and marketing. he has more than 37 years of experience in the electronics industry and has been with Freedom CAD since 2004. he can be reached by clicking here. The future of American manufacturing might be found in the small community of Charles- town, new hampshire, at Whelen engineering. Founded and headquartered in Connecticut in the 1950s, Whelen manufactures all things re- lated to emergency lights and sirens for the automobile and aviation industries. For years, Whelen had been spending about $7 million annually on PCBs from China, but be- ing a strong advocate for bringing jobs and dol- lars back to the u.S., two years ago the firm de- cided to purchase its PCBs in America. Who did they choose as their new supplier? Well, that's where it gets interesting. Whelen chose to be its own PCB supplier. Click here to read the article in The PCB Magazine. Whelen Engineering: The First New Captive in Decades?

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