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May 16, 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of Freedom CAD Services. Freedom CAD was founded on this day by Lou and Lauren Primmer, pioneers in the PCB CAD industry. They launched Freedom CAD when Plexus decided to divest the Nashua, NH design center in 2003.
The Primmers formed Freedom CAD with 11 other ex-Plexus employees to service a number of long time regional customers. Since then, Freedom CAD has grown to become one of the largest independent design services companies in North America.
Over the past 15 years they have more than tripled their staff of topnotch designers and now have designers working across the US. In addition to supporting Cadence Allegro, Mentor’s Xpedition and PADS and Altium PCB CAD tools, Freedom CAD also provides PCB electrical and mechanical engineering services, signal and power integrity analysis and prototype fulfillment services.
“In 2003, we had a vision to create the highest quality independent printed circuit board design service company in the country,” said Lou Primmer. “We believed we could leverage our ‘structured, large corporation’ experience and create a nimble, privately held company. I’m pleased to say that we were successful at accomplishing this and the fact that we are ITAR-registered and ISO9001-certified, both of which require structure and process control, are indicators of this accomplishment. And during this time we have leveraged this structure and nimbleness to expand our customer base from regional to national and include many of the Fortune 100 Electronics OEMs. I’m proud to see the vision become a reality and look forward to the next 15 years!”
Bill Acito, Cadence Design Systems
The challenges faced by the PCB designers of today are significant. If we examine the breadth of designs, we find ever-increasing data rates and more high-speed signal routing that drive additional challenges meeting signal-quality requirements, including reflection signal loss and crosstalk issues. At the same time, designers are being asked to complete designs in shorter cycle times and in smaller form factors. They must come up with new and more complex routing strategies to better control impedance and crosstalk. Manual implementation is often time-consuming and prone to layout errors.
Dave Wiens, Mentor, a Siemens Business
PCB designers working with flex or rigid-flex technology face many potential risks that can derail a project and cause costly design failures. As the name implies, flex and rigid-flex designs comprise a combination of rigid and flexible board technologies made up of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates, attached internally and/or externally to one or more rigid boards. These combinations provide flexibility for the PCB designer working on dense designs that require a specific form factor. Rigid-flex allows the PCB design team to cost-efficiently apply greater functionality to a smaller volume of space, while providing the mechanical stability required by most applications.
Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
Millennials are the future of our industry. What does this mean for the PCB design community? How do we attract more of these smart young people to the world of PCB design? I asked Paul Musto, director of marketing for Mentor’s Board Systems Division, to explain the company’s initiatives aimed at drawing more young people into PCB design