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

Who Really Owns the PCB Layout?

12/13/2017 | Paul Taubman, Nine Dot Connects
In order to understand the current climate, we have to look at the division of labor that took place in electronic design about 40 years ago. The labor was divided into two processes, with the first being the design itself. This process was (and still is) owned by the electrical engineers. Though circuit design has changed, the methods for representing the circuit have not. Paul Taubman of Nine Dot Connects explains.

Cadence Allegro Pulse Extends Team Collaboration

12/06/2017 | Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
Cadence Allegro Pulse is the PCB industry’s first solution to enable extended team collaboration by providing near-real-time insights into the complexities of the electronic design process. Allegro Pulse connects management, engineering, procurement and other business stakeholders to up-to-date work-in-progress design data in a single, unified web-based platform.

Bay Area Circuits Updates InstantDFM Tool

11/29/2017 | Andy Shaughnessy, PCB Design007
Bay Area Circuits is on a quest to help PCB designers and design engineers. For the past few years, the company has been holding facility tours and open house events to help designers understand more about the fabrication process. Now, Bay Area Circuits has upgraded its free design tool, InstantDFM.com, which allows customers and non-customers alike to check manufacturability and request pricing of their jobs. At PCB West, Andy Shaughnessy spoke with President Stephen Garcia and COO Brian Paper about the new tool update, and some of the other services they offer for PCB designers.



Copyright © 2017 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.