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

Print


Suggested Items

Just Ask Heidi Barnes: The Exclusive Compilation

01/15/2021 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
We asked for your questions for Keysight Technologies' Heidi Barnes, and you took us up on it! We know you all enjoyed reading these questions and answers, so we’ve compiled all of them into one article for easy reference. We hope you enjoy having another bite at the apple.

TTM’s Approach to Stackup Design: Train the Customer

01/12/2021 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
In this interview with the I-Connect007 Editorial Team, TTM’s Julie Ellis and Richard Dang drill down into stackup design, detailing some of the common stackup challenges that their customers face when designing for both prototype and volume levels, and offering advice to designers or engineers who are struggling with stackup issues. They also discuss why having too many different prepregs in a stackup can be asking for trouble, and how proper stackup design can optimize both the fabrication and assembly processes.

Cutting Respins: Journey to the Single-spin PCB

01/07/2021 | Chris Young, The Goebel Company
PCB design is more than a short sprint to the finish line; it is a journey best suited for the prepared adventurer. According to a study by Lifecycle Insights, the average PCB design project requires 2.9 respins. These respins can cost anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of dollars—each! As an engineer/business owner, I find respins frustrating because I would rather spend my time and money applying scientific principles inventing, improving technology, and solving problems. I am not an advocate for perfectionism, but rather I focus on becoming a better adventurer. Sometimes I get to taste the sweet wine that is a single spin PCB. As fellow adventurers, let’s discuss some topics that influence unnecessary return trips on our PCB design journey: simulation, technical reviews, and interest in PCB design.



Copyright © 2021 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.