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46 The PCB Design Magazine • January 2017 by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 According to Rainer Asfalg of Altium, VP Sales EMEA, EDA companies owe it to their customers to provide much more than just a standard design tool. I met with Rainer at the recent electronica show to discuss the continued evolution of the design process towards automation, and what this might mean for the education and overall requirements of PCB designers going forward. Barry Matties: Rainer, in our pre-interview discus- sion, you gave us a little bit of your background and it sounds comprehensive. You bring a lot of insight from multiple disciplines and product types, which gives you a good, diverse foundation to draw from. Rainer Asfalg: Yes, I think this is important for understanding the markets and understanding customers. It puts me in a position to make the right judgment on what our customers are re- ally asking for and what challenges they face. Matties: You're also a printed circuit board design- er. You have hands-on practical experience. How many years did you design for before you started working for the factories? Asfalg: Five years. I worked at a service bureau, mainly doing classical digital design, but I also got involved in analog and RF applications. Matties: That's a broad spectrum. Being in a de- sign bureau gives you a great look at what's going on and a cross-section of current technology. One of the things that we hear about designers is that they don't have a deep understanding of the PCB manufacturing process. From the perspective of a designer, what do you think about that statement? Asfalg: It's correct. That's why an EDA compa- ny's responsibility is to put automation in place to ensure quality, while freeing up designers from time otherwise spent on preparing manu- facturing data. On top of this, when we look at how the profession has evolved, what actually is a designer today? THE EVOLUTION OF PCB DESIGN AND DESIGNERS INTERVIEW

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