The Shaughnessy Report: Squeezing Seconds Out of the Design Cycle


Reading time ( words)

It’s almost that bad, isn’t it?

When you’re designing a board, time is always your enemy. Your deadline is around the corner, and you can’t be late. (You’re going to catch the blame anyway, even if it’s not your fault.) So you constantly look for ways to shorten your design cycle, even if it means squeezing out a few seconds here and there.

That’s what we learned when we surveyed our readers recently. PCB designers said that time pressure was one of their least favorite parts of the job, and in some cases, they were ready to retire just to avoid design cycle challenges. I imagine that many of you near retirement, and that’s quite a few of you, feel the same way.

In the survey, we started by asking readers to rank the importance of reducing their companies’ PCB design cycles. A total of 88% ranked reducing the design cycle at least a 7 on a scale of 1–10.

We decided to cut to the chase. We asked, “What are the biggest bottlenecks in your PCB design cycle?” The answers were illuminating: 

  • The design is not ready for layout when we get it
  • Schematic finalizations
  • Customer unknowns
  • Engineering changes
  • Library updates
  • Procurement of samples (a slow purchasing department)
  • Footprint validation
  • The PCB designer 

Then we asked, “What tools or methods do you use to accelerate your design cycle?” I expected to hear about lines of spreadsheets or proprietary processes, but check out these replies: 

  • Do it right the first time
  • Reuse of designs
  • Mentor Xpedition
  • Cadence Allegro
  • PADS
  • HyperLynx
  • Use our normal app but try to stay on top of app improvements
  • Inside tools
  • Third-party software enhancements to CAD tools
  • No unnecessary meetings— most are a waste of time
  • CAD DRC rules
  • CircuitSpace, script automation (dalTools), wearing multiple shirts, overtime
  • 3D printers

To read this entire article, which appears in the October issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.

Share


Suggested Items

PCB Design Challenges: A Package Designer’s Perspective

09/17/2018 | 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.

Managing the Challenges of Flex and Rigid-Flex Design

09/12/2018 | 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.

Mentor Preparing for Next-Gen PCB Designers

08/20/2018 | 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



Copyright © 2018 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.