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20 The PCB Design Magazine • October 2015 feature by Bob Potock Zuken Defining the characteristics of a new prod- uct, such as features, size, weight, and battery life, is the job of marketing. Realizing those de- sign requirements is the responsibility of a mul- tidisciplinary team consisting of product archi- tects, hardware engineers, software engineers, mechanical engineers, packaging engineering, manufacturing engineers, purchasers, etc. Today, the design process in most cases fans out from the requirements as defined by marketing into multiple independent design threads that converge at the prototype (Figure 1). There is usually no systematic method for these different disciplines to communicate their work to the other disciplines. This lack of com- munication often leads to conflicting design de- cisions, such as when an electrical engineer or purchaser selects a component without having AccelerAting the Design cycle: Moving from Discipline-centric to Product-centric Design any way of knowing that it interferes with the enclosure. Extra design turns are often needed to resolve these conflicts at the prototype stage. This obstacle, and many others, can be over- come by a product-centric design process that enables all disciplines to work collaboratively during a new virtual prototyping and detailed design. During the architectural validation or virtual prototyping phase, each contributor can optimize the design from their own perspective with visibility and change notices from the oth - ers. The product optimization completed dur- ing the virtual prototyping process seamlessly transitions to detailed design, preserving all the critical decisions without data loss or re-entry. Product-centric design ensures that the evolv- ing design meets the requirements of every discipline, reducing late stage design changes and enabling the product to be optimized to a higher degree than is possible with current methods.

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