A New Sourcing Paradigm


Reading time ( words)

We’ve seen many changes over the past few years, and nowhere are they more evident than in the world of sourcing components. Sourcing has become one of the biggest challenges facing PCB designers and design engineers today. Gone are the days of procuring parts from a single source, and communication between stakeholders and distributors is critical.

But as we learned in a conversation with I-Connect007 columnist Kelly Dack, an EPTAC design instructor and PCB design team leader at an assembly provider in the Pacific Northwest, PCB designers can use certain layout strategies to plan for the unexpected, such as leaving extra real estate so that smaller components can be replaced by larger, readily available parts if the originals become “unobtainium.”

Here, Kelly discusses some timely sourcing ideas, why he believes industrial engineers should be involved in “right-sizing” the PCB, and why sourcing efforts must also focus on recruiting—or creating—PCB designers.

dack_filler_0922.jpg

Andy Shaughnessy: Kelly, you’ve been involved with DFA issues for years. Why don’t you talk about some of the challenges you see with sourcing?

Kelly Dack: Sure. The problems we see are projects that begin as traditional projects. We have customers who come to us much like on “Shark Tank.” There’s an idea, some seed research and development has been done, the results are favorable, and they want to take the product to production. At that point, we evaluate the product to determine its feasibility for meeting the capabilities of our assembly lines. Everything is fine, just like it always is—until it’s not. That’s because with today’s rusty, knotted supply chain we are not able to source certain components. That one little thing can slow down or stop the entire project. We limp along until we can either change the design, modify it so that we can find an alternative component, or redesign the circuit so that we can use alternate components that will do the same thing.

Happy Holden: You understand design for manufacturing. Now we’re not talking about process capability; we’re talking about part availability, but that’s still manufacturing.

Dack: That is still manufacturing and sourcing, and that plays into it, Happy. A product can be totally 100% designed and look very good from a production standpoint and from a DFM standpoint. But now, when a part suddenly becomes unavailable, it could require another part to be designed in, which may not be form-fit and functionally the same, but it could still work. But now designing in this part has to be done properly so that design for manufacturability is considered. How many parts do you have to nudge? What’s the domino effect if we do manage to fit this part in?

Holden: So, we have to make a change in design so that the information is known up front and it’s not a do-over?

Dack: The problem we’re finding is that everybody is using the smaller parts, and the large parts are left over. So, if you want to find an equivalent functional part, chances are all the tiny ones have all been gobbled up, and you must be willing to buy the larger-scale parts. But how do you fit the larger-scale parts into your layout?

Shaughnessy: There are those dominoes, right?

Dack: Right. Let’s take a step back. During the shrinkage era in the ‘90s, when we were working on iterating boards down as small as they could be, I coined the term “practical packaging density plus.” The idea is that we determine an appropriate packaging density, and then once you get that dialed in, what’s wrong with adding just a little more for future design purposes or manufacturing purposes? Why do we constantly design to the minimum, tightest density?

Shaughnessy: Are you talking about adding more real estate?

Dack: It can be real estate. Packaging density has to do with the amount of real estate on a given PCB vs. the components and everything else, and all the geometries involved with the components.

To read this entire conversation, which appeared in the September 2022 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

Share




Suggested Items

AltiumLive 2022: Design for Availability

03/28/2022 | Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
Andy Shaughnessy spoke with Rodrigo Contreras Lopez of SnapEDA about Rodrigo’s AltiumLive presentation, which is now available online. It’s a changing world, he says, and designers need to approach their designs from a different perspective: Creating designs with parts that may or may not be available now may just set up your design team and your customer for failure in a few years. Is Design For Availability going to enter the PCB design lexicon?

Real Time with… IPC APEX EXPO: Siemens’ Supply Chain Solutions

01/17/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Nolan Johnson speaks with Oren Manor of Siemens Digital Industries Software about the company’s booth at IPC APEX EXPO, which will highlight a DSI platform meant to help designers find and use components in their designs during these tough supply chain challenges. If you can’t make it to IPC APEX EXPO, don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you interviews with the engineers, managers and technologists who are making a difference in our industry.

The Art of Using Symmetry—and Asymmetry—in PCB Design

01/06/2022 | Chris Young, The Goebel Company
An empty board outline is a PCB designer’s empty canvas. Components are the designer’s paint palette, and the traces are the brush strokes used to blend and mesh the components together on the canvas. The subject matter is defined by the schematic entry and the tone is often set according to the purpose of the design. The subject matter’s form emerges during placement and takes shape when routed. The aesthetic nature of a PCB or PCBA is typically judged by the designer’s use of symmetry, focal points, and centers of interest. The enjoyment experienced by observing a bee (a bilaterally symmetric insect) symbiotically interact with a flower (a radially symmetric plant) is derived from the realization of two well-proportioned beings striking a mutually equitable existence, a classic win-win scenario.



Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.