Tim's Takeaways: The Principles of Hybrid Design, Part 1


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The butterflies fluttering around in your gut intensify as you walk down that long hallway to the impromptu department meeting. There have been a lot of rumors, but no one seems to know anything.

You wonder, “Will I even have a job 20 minutes from now?” Then you take your seat for the presentation. But fortunately, the news isn’t what you had feared, and instead you find out that your company is merging with Acme Industries. And on top of that, Acme has an urgent need for a new design to be completed, and you’ve been picked for the job.

So, in front of the VP, your boss, and all your co-workers, this particular hot potato gets handed to you. Congratulations. But as you look through the design data, those annoying butterflies return, because the design requirements are something that you’ve never seen before. And even though you desperately want to raise your hand when the VP asks if anyone has any questions, you decide to hide your confusion instead.

But what you desperately want to ask is, “Just what in the heck is a hybrid design anyway?”

So just what exactly is a hybrid design? If the only thing that comes to mind is an image of a car that switches between batteries and gasoline for power, then this column may be just what you are looking for. We are seeing more and more of our customers exploring the world of hybrid design, and we are getting new customers for whom hybrid design is their sole focus. The world of hybrid design is growing and we have lots of hybrid-specific functionality built into our software that helps designers conquer the unique hybrid design requirements that they are faced with.

And yet many designers out there (and I used to be one of them) have no idea of what is meant when people start talking about hybrid design. It is therefore not uncommon for designers to avoid the subject directly while hoping to pick up little cues and pointers from others indirectly so that they are no longer in the dark. If that description sounds uncomfortably close to where you are today, then read on. My hope is that this three-part series will help you by serving as an introduction into the world of hybrid design.

And before we jump in, I want to give a shout out to my colleague Bernd Pflueger. Bernd has been around the world of hybrid design for a long time now, and he has probably forgotten more about it then I’ll ever know. I’m indebted to him for his help and the depth of his knowledge and the valuable insight to hybrid design from the PCB designer’s perspective that he brings.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the March issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.

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