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During DesignCon, I spoke with Brad Griffin, the group director for product management for the system analysis group at Cadence Design Systems. We discussed some of the areas where PCB designers can cut costs and how EDA companies can help these designers by automating certain time-consuming tasks. As Brad says, “The ‘A’ in EDA is for automation, right?”
Andy Shaughnessy: Good to see you again, Brad. We were talking a few minutes ago about ways that designers can design for profitability by adding profit and cutting waste during the design cycle. Tell us your thoughts on designing for profitability.
Brad Griffin: When you think about what Cadence can bring to the table for designing for profitability, it’s about being efficient. We are one of the few companies that you can come to and get design tools and analysis tools. Historically, the idea is that you have designed something, throw it over the wall to somebody else, who analyzes it and says you made a bunch of mistakes; then, they throw it back. There’s this iteration back and forth. Maybe you build a prototype and find out it doesn’t work. All of that makes the design cycle get very long, and that’s certainly not the way to profitability. The more you can make that efficient, the more profitable that you’re going to be able to make your product and product line, and, ultimately, the more you’re going to be able to build new products because you’re going to get products out the door.
Our thinking is that we can guide a user toward in-design analysis; while they’re designing a product, they’re thinking about SI and PI. They’re bringing up engines that are the same engines that their expert is going to use to sign off on later, but they’re presented in a way where they don’t have to be an expert. You can do a quick review of your power plane and make sure that you haven’t created too many places where you’re going to lose voltage and not going to be able to deliver power to certain components of the board. If you can quickly review that without having to bring a PI expert in, it’s going to make you a better designer, and it’s going to shrink that design cycle. Anything we can do to help the designer produce a better board before it goes to an SI or a PI expert will reduce that design cycle and improve the overall profitability of the design.
Shaughnessy: We keep hearing that 80% of the cost of manufacturing the board is determined in the design cycle.
To read this entire interview, which appeared in the March 2020 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.