New Designers Council Column: The Digital Layout


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The IPC Designers Council is launching a new column in Design007 Magazine: “The Digital Layout.” I recently asked two IPC Designers Council (DC) Executive Board members, Mike Creeden and Stephen Chavez, to discuss the content and objective of their new column, and how this all ties in with the DC.

 

Andy Shaughnessy: Mike, what can we expect in this new Designers Council column?

Mike Creeden: I’ll give an overview of PCB design layout and some of the transitions that we're experiencing. Our new column is called “The Digital Layout.” The design profession has evolved over the years, and to meet today’s challenges, all designers need to view layout from three concurrent perspectives. The first is layout solvability, which entails mastering the CAD tool and solving the layout. With today’s technologies, using HDI is becoming commonplace and is often a complicated puzzle to solve. Second, there’s the performance of the circuit; EMI, signal integrity, power integrity, and thermal performance must be considered. Third, designers should use DFX in all areas of manufacturing.

In our industry, there are a significant number of EEs being asked to take on the layout portion. Many EEs and designers, especially those who work remotely, may not be aware of the IPC Designers Council and what it can do for them.

Our hope is to make people aware of the resources and events that the IPC Designers Council provides. IPC is not a “them”; it's an “us.” IPC is a reflection of the industry. When I volunteer on the committee meetings, I see participants from across the industry, the country, and the world who are all contributing to the standards.

Shaughnessy: Standards are always a good topic. Pro or con, it’s a great conversation.

Creeden: Sure. I've heard a lot of people say recently, "Why do we need standards? Just build it!" What you need to realize is that we ask our supply chain to build to standards. We legally hold them accountable to produce a Class 2 or Class 3 board, and then we design to the requirement of an IPC Class with a producibility level. The producibility level affects yields and profit margins, so these are very important aspects to the standards.

This month you’re covering data. What I would say about data is that a manufacturer must work with the data designers supply. Designers should understand the manufacturing process and how to support the manufacturers while ensuring that circuits will to perform properly.

There’s a lot of activity going on with IPC. There’s a new platform called “The IPC Edge” that is essentially an online learning platform. Steph and I are both certified IPC instructors for the CID and CID+ classes. We are also members of the executive board for the Designers Council. There are also local chapters spread across the globe where designers can participate.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the October 2018 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

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