Reading time ( words)
In this interview, Interconnect Design Solutions’ Mike Brown and I took a few minutes during the recent Geek-A-Palooza event to discuss the importance of material selection and designing for profitability, how automation affects the design process, and the future of the design community.
Barry Matties: Mike, tell me a little bit about IDS and what you do.
Mike Brown: We provide PCB layout and mechanical engineering services as an extension for OEMs as well as bareboard fabricators and assemblers that need design support. Basically, we're in the trenches working with the electrical engineers to help realize our product and bring it to market.
Matties: Are you doing actual design for customers or are you just assisting and educating?
Brown: We're actually doing design at the rigid board level, the flex-rigid, and flex board level as well as mechanical engineering and enclosure design. We're helping engineers realize their project from concept through reality.
Matties: So you start from the beginning?
Brown: We start from the beginning with a functional spec. We're sitting there basically looking at a block diagram sometimes.
Matties: It's a collaborative effort?
Brown: Yes, it is very collaborative.
Matties: Isn't that the best way to go, really?
Brown: It is. You have to be engaged in the beginning in order to be successful in the end.
Matties: And yet many engineers don't take this track; what’s the downside of that?
Brown: The problem is there's a lack of communication and in a lot of cases, multiple spins of your product can occur; which in turn costs more because you typically don't have your pwb layout designer collaborating up front with your primary engineering team. The layout designer really needs to understand the product from the beginning. They need to understand the design intent and what the end goal of the product is. By having them involved in the beginning up front at the functional spec level and then at the detail spec level, they can help make conscious decisions that ultimately will affect the overall cost, time line and schedule of the product.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the June 2016 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.