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32 The PCB Design Magazine • May 2016 Shaughnessy: Do you utilize your tool's design re- use capabilities? Dack: Again, reusablilty is dependent on design. Many success stories of designers utilizing true reuse repetitive environments, but automatic design reuse is constrained by so many things: layer count, reference designators, etc. Reuse can require setup and agreed upon reference designators and layer counts. A lot of set rules are required between the EEs and designers or success will be limited. For simple, repetitive channels on a board, I find that using a simple "copy" routine can work very effectively. Shaughnessy: Do you perform post-processing and documentation manually, or use a tool such as DownStream? Dack: I have great things to say about Down- Stream's BluePrint. I'd probably say great things about any other automated doc tools too, but there aren't any! DownStream has done a great job of filling this void in the EDA market. Down- Stream's BluePrint tool is a bonafide cost time/ cost saver. I can say that because while working for a Northern Nevada gaming company and pitching the idea of using BluePrint for years, a progressive manager I worked for at the time be- came interested and we diverted licensing fees we'd been paying for an archaic, manual form of documentation utilizing four peripheral soft- ware tools. After installing BluePrint we reduced our entire PCB documentation time down to ap- proximately 10 minutes! BluePrint leveraged our source database to allow us to manipulate data to specify and document a PCB in ways our source layout program could not. These guys got kudos and two thumbs up not only from me, but our entire team of designers and man- agement as well. Shaughnessy: What current manual tasks would you like to see automated in your EDA tool in the future? Dack: How about autoroute and verify based on current carrying capability? The design da- tabase has data on copper thickness and width. Let's go to the next step and be able to query current carrying capacity of a conductor! Let's be able to add current carrying constraint to a line in the schematic, route and cross-check to the constraint. Yep. How about visual cavity creation based on height constraints? How about automated ac- cess to any spec that is called out? How about a manufacturing constraints im- port? Think of it: component suppliers have pro- vided IBIS models and are now providing step files, maybe PCB suppliers can start providing manufacturing constraints that could be import- ed into a design. Maybe "dynamic" quoting as the design is being laid out. Can you imagine? Say you start with a basic two-layer PCB—the supplier's sweet spot. Board starts at $600. Then you redefine the board outline and the new price is reflected. Then you add component footprints, and vias without noticing any price change un - til you add that .004" diameter via. Bing! The price adjusts accordingly. Add a note for lead- free HASL, the price doesn't change. Change the note to ENIG and you see the dynamic quote in- dicator bump up slightly. With the influx of en- gineering students and even seasoned engineers performing the layout function, a tool like this would really help these newer folk to become aware of the manufacturing and cost ramifica- tions of the design features they add. Shaughnessy: Thanks for your time, Kelly. Dack: Thank you, Andy! PCBDESIGN DESIGN AUTOMATION TOOLS, TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE " Reuse can require setup and agreed upon reference designators and layer counts. A lot of set rules are required between the EEs and designers or success will be limited. "

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