Collaboration: The Key to Streamlining Your Design Process
We recently spoke with Patrick Davis, Director of Product Management for Cadence Design Systems, the benefits of collaboration between PCB designers and manufacturers, and the downsides of throwing designs “over the wall”. Patrick explains why designers and manufacturers often seem to talk to each other, the role EDA software vendors can play in facilitating collaboration, and why the IPC-2581 can be the right way to connect all design stakeholders.
Andy Shaughnessy: Patrick, share your thoughts on the collaboration between designers and manufacturers, and where it all begins.
Patrick Davis: I think collaboration is extremely important. It’s that last mile, as they call it, when you come out of the design process and try to get it to the fabrication shop, to the assembly shop, in an efficient way. Right now, communication is via email, PowerPoint, Excel spreadsheet, carrier pigeon, and a few other ways to get your data back and forth.
We want to streamline this and create a digital thread to bring it all together. I like the idea of the digital string because the ends are spread out, there are a lot of places at the very beginning and a lot of places at the very end, but it’s a common string that comes and goes.
Cadence thinks that’s pretty important, why we’re so heavily invested in IPC-2581, and why we’re trying to push this forward. We believe this is the right tool to be able to help everyone communicate upstream and downstream throughout the design process.
Shaughnessy: Designers say there needs to be more collaboration with manufacturers, but a lot of times that just doesn’t happen. There is often very little communication with the fab.
Davis: It’s true. We facilitate communication within the tools themselves. Here’s a bit of my background: I led design teams for years with a subcontractor, and I did manufacturing and assembly. My door opened into the workshop, and when the “Blue Smurfs” entered my office, it meant my team had screwed up, so I know this world very well.
Cadence now has a set of tools called DesignTrue and the DesignTrue DFM portal. We’re asking manufacturers to put their design rules in place and say, “This is the set of rules that we can build on. Then a designer says, “I have a design with an aspect ratio of 15: 1, and I have a gap and a trace of 3.5 mil.” Who can build this? The designer can simply research who is building this type of map in the portal and have the option of contacting them to build the design.
To read the full interview, which appeared in the September 2021 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.