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February 2016 • The PCB Design Magazine 9 Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of The PCB Design Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 16 years. He can be reached by clicking here. In Anaheim, I was joined by I-Connect007 contributors Dan Feinberg of Fein-Line Associ- ates and Dick Crowe of Bürkle USA. Dan and Dick have attended NAMM for years, and they served as my guides in this monstrous show that drew over 100,000 attendees this year. NAMM takes up multiple floors in the Anaheim Convention Center. It is just huge; Dan says it's about 1/8 of the size of the CES show, but you get the idea. I met so many innovators from companies that manufacture musical instruments and am- plifiers, but one of the funkiest has to be Pat Quilter of Quilter Labs and QSC Audio Prod- ucts. Pat designs his own PCBs, and he refuses to "upgrade" from his trusty P-CAD design tool. (He actually dared the EDA companies to build a PCB design tool better than P-CAD.) He wore a giant top hat like a Dr. Seuss character for the entire show, and played lap steel guitar like a session player from Bakersfield. We also met with John Ack, an engineer with Fishman, a company known for their acoustic guitar amplification products. But now, Fish- man has revolutionized electric guitar pickups, which haven't changed much since their in- vention 80 years ago. Pickups have always been made of magnets wrapped in fine, enameled copper wire that would "pick up" the vibrations of the strings. To change the sound, manufac- turers added or subtracted wiring or adjusted the size of the magnets, period. Fishman threw all of that out the window with the new Fluence pickup. The entire pickup is now one 48-layer PCB. Ack explained that on each layer, one trace of thin copper is etched onto a micro-thin epoxy PCB material, and 48 of these layers are then laminated into a stack and cut into the size of a traditional pickup. Fairly traditional copper vias link the layers together. The best feature of the Fluence? Manufac- turing consistency. The traditional pickup relied on hundreds of turns of wiring around magnets. Constantly changing wire thicknesses, winding machine tensions, and humidity all combined to make two of the same pickup models often sound completely different. The Fluence is a gi- ant step in electric guitar pickups development. Most importantly: Whoever thought a PCB would be considered a "hot new thing" ever again? What's New? This month, we asked technologists from five companies involved in PCB design tools to tell us what's new. In our feature story, David Wiens of Mentor Graphics gives us a look at some of the trends he sees in the EDA world, based partly on entries in Mentor's Technol- ogy Leadership Awards program. Bob Williams of Pulsonix discusses Version 9 and some of its new capabilities, such as the Vault revision and version control feature. Brad Griffin of Cadence Design Systems breaks down some of the features of the OrCAD Sigrity ERC tool, and the problems custom- ers face with competing design requirements. DownStream Technologies' Rick Almeida dis- cusses a post-processing tool, set for release in late 2016 or 2017, that focuses on integration between documentation and CAM file verifica- tion. And Bob Potock of Zuken delves into some newer capabilities, such as engineering data management, and the trend toward product- centric design. And it's almost time for IPC APEX EXPO and the Design Forum, where we'll be bringing you the latest news from Vegas. I hope to see you there. PCBDESIGN the shaughnessy report

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