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PCB Tech Talk

John McMillan discusses PCB design and EDA technology and trends.
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PCB Tech Talk
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Jun 21, 2018

Full show notes:

Is design verification at the schematic level, before you take any steps into the PCB layout phase in the PCB design flow, possible? In PCB design, we are all too familiar with layout design rule checks, even post-layout design for manufacturing, design for assembly and design-for-test checks. Many of us are even familiar with electrical design rule checks. But what about checks that look at the schematic before layout?

 In this episode, John takes a look at schematic analysis, and various checks you can run in any schematic capture tool to save your design team hundreds of hours in manual inspection and rework.

 For more information on this topic:

 Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Apr 14, 2018

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), ‘smart’ technologies have gone far beyond phones, enhancing products in all aspects of our lives. New technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, can now be found in our living rooms and existing technologies are being upgraded and enhanced with bleeding-edge capabilities. So what might be coming down the road?

In this episode, John explores some of the products and technologies that are evolving and emerging and some of the key technologies and products being developed by today’s electronics companies.

For more information on this topic:

 Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Mar 15, 2018

Electrical sign-off has become, more than ever, a critical part of the PCB design process. Manually doing this, as has traditionally been done, is time consuming, error prone, and requires expert knowledge in areas like Signal Integrity, Power Integrity, and Electromagnetic Integrity.

 In this episode, John discusses the advantages of automated EDRC (Electrical Design Rule Checking), and their ability to increase the efficiency and quality of PCB’s while reducing errors and decreasing time to market.

 For more information on this topic:

 Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Mar 1, 2018

Designing a PCB is similar to a complex puzzle, except there’s no picture on the box to follow. Every step taken must be done purposefully, and requires extensive knowledge of electronic design and industry best practices.

In this episode, John talks about seven shared habits that PCB Designers exhibit when they study, prepare, visualize, strategize, and complete PCB Designs.

For more information on this topic:

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Feb 12, 2018

Are you taking advantage of these PCB design accelerators? Are you taking steps to reduce your PCB design cycle and avoid fabrication delays?

 In this episode, John talks about some key areas in PCB design that can help accelerate product design and launch to market.

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Apr 4, 2016

Engineers, PCB designers, business execs, and even marketing and sales teams all understand the value in both time and cost savings for first pass success of printed circuit board designs. And, release dates are critical to the success of a product.

In this episode, John explores design for manufacturing analysis. What defines a best-in-class design flow? What steps should be taken to achieve first pass design success?

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Feb 18, 2016

Where does collaboration with MCAD fit into your PCB design flow? Are you still encountering communication barriers between electrical and mechanical domains?

In this episode, John McMillan talks about the evolution of the handoff between MCAD to ECAD and the advances that make collaboration more efficient than ever before.

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Jan 19, 2016

Host John McMillan talks about EDA industry updates including cool gadgets, 2016 technology and EDA events, EDA industry news, and 01005 chips.

Don’t miss the first PCB Tech Talk giveaway! Details included in this episode. Be sure to include #pcbtechtalk in all your podcast-related tweets!

Events and articles mentioned:

Computer Electronics Show 2016

DesignCon 2016 January 19-21

SMTA “Pan Pacific” Microelectronics Symposium 2016 January 25-28

IPC APEX EXPO 2016 March 13-17

Internet of Things World 2016 May 10-12

PCB West 2016 September 13-15; abstract submissions due February 5Bottom of Formth

SMTA International 2016 September 25-29 

PCB Carolina 2016 November 2

References:

Printed Circuit Design & Fab 10 best-read articles in 2015

EDA CONSORTIUM Report  

Addressing Your Comments and Questions on the Aging PCB Design Workforce

Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Dec 23, 2015

Listen in as podcast host John McMillan and guest David Wiens discuss PCB design industry trends over the years and specifically new trends and challenges showing up in the most recent Technology Leadership Awards design competition submissions.

Topics in this episode include:

  • IoT
  • Density
  • Size, time, and cost constraints
  • Speed, performance, and functionality
  • Complexity
  • Clean power
  • Minimizing voltage drop
  • New technology adoption
  • And many more

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Nov 23, 2015

Having a 3D view in PCB design tools is not new. However, 3D capabilities have greatly evolved over the past five years or so. What was once a “nicety” is now vital to the PCB design work environment.

Join host John McMillan as he discusses why 3D is becoming (or perhaps already is) the layout environment of choice.

What advantages have you noticed with 3D?

Links:

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com. Subscribe today so you don’t miss any future episodes!

Nov 2, 2015

Join host John McMillan and producer Brittany Bach as they discuss listener comments in response to episode three: Are PCB Designers Becoming an Endangered Species?

  • How is it that there are a variety of opinions as to what PCB Design is?
  • PCB design education and training trends
  • Are apprenticeships necessary?
  • Are HR teams lacking understanding when it comes to hiring?
  • What training is foundational for PCB Design?
  • Are companies unwilling to invest enough in training new recruits?

Fresh Faces in the Design Community, PCB&F, 2014 PCB Designer Annual Survey

How did you learn PCB layout?, EDN Network

LinkedIn Group Discussion, Old Timers PCB Designer Group

Thanks to all our listeners for making PCB Tech Talk a top featured podcast in the Software How-to New and Noteworthy section on iTunes! Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com.

Sep 23, 2015

In this episode, I speak with special guest, David Wiens (Business Development Manager, System Design Division at Mentor Graphics) about PCB industry trends and the 26th annual Technology Leadership Awards (TLAs).

The longest running competition of its kind, the TLAs recognize engineers and CAD designers who use innovative technology to address today’s complex PCB systems design challenges. Dave and I talk about various aspects of the competition as well as the trends that are revealed through the new submissions each year.

So, listen in for details and then gather up your best designs from the past year. Oh, and tell your friends who you know created some impressive work too. A little healthy competition amongst friends is a good thing, right? Plus, there are some great prizes for the winners.

Contest categories:

  1. Computers, blade and servers, memory systems
  2. Consumer electronics and handheld
  3. Industrial control, instrumentation, security and medical
  4. Military and aerospace
  5. Semiconductor packaging
  6. Telecom, network controllers, line cards
  7. Transportation and automotive

Trust me, you don't want to don't talk yourself out of submitting your design(s) because you think they may not be technically complex enough to submit. The judging criteria spans beyond size and density. Who knows, you could be among the next set of winners!

Where to go next:

Have questions, topics of interest, or a guest recommendation? Send them to pcb_techtalk@mentor.com so that we can feature them in future episodes.

Guest Bio: David Wiens joined Mentor Graphics in 1999 through the acquisition of VeriBest. Over the past 25 years, he has held various engineering, marketing and management positions within the EDA industry. His focus areas have included advanced packaging, high-speed design, routing technology and integrated systems design. He holds a B.S. in computer science from the University of Kansas.

Aug 27, 2015

In this episode, I talk about the PCB design profession and, perhaps, bust the myth that PCB designers are quickly becoming a vanishing breed.

  • Where did the PCB designers with 25 plus years of experience come from? 
  • When they retire, who will replace them? 
  • How did they learn what they know about PCB design and how will those skills be passed on to the next generation of PCB designers?

Join me as I discuss these questions and more, looking into who the majority of today’s PCB designers are, who the next generation of PCB designers may be, and also where they may be coming from and how they might get there.

 

Have questions or topics of interest? Interested in being a guest on the show? Contact us at pcb_techtalk@mentor.com.

 

Fresh Faces in the Design Community, PCB&F, 2014 PCB Designer Annual Survey

How did you learn PCB layout?, EDN Network

 

LinkedIn Group Discussion, Old Timers PCB Designer Group

 

 

Aug 17, 2015

Ask any PCB designer what the foundation or building blocks are for printed circuit board designs and you'll get the same answer - "the component land patterns."  No matter what you call them – land patterns, footprints, decals, package symbols, etc. – what really matters is that they are accurate.

If land patterns are wrong, your PCB gets fabricated, and then a placement problem is discovered during assembly, you’ve most likely just wasted a lot of time and money.

“The catalyst for some of the best design processes come out of learning from mistakes.” 

So, why does it happen? Are there ever errors in the datasheet? Do people make mistakes?  Yes! And, yes!

Is there a process or procedure missing that could have prevented it?  Let’s talk about it! 

In this podcast I discuss some different ways that you can ensure that these foundational building blocks for your PCB designs are strong including:

·        The QA process

·        Tools used specifically for creating quality land patterns

·        Some reliable resources and tools that can ensure designs are correct-by-construction

Let’s ensure that dreaded calls from the PCB assembly house are avoided!

For more on this topic, check out these white papers:

·       Six Things You Want to Have in Your Desktop PCB Design Library

·       The Game Changer: Pre-Qualified PCB Libraries You’ll Use Today

Have questions or topics of interest? Add them in the comments below or send them to pcb_techtalk@mentor.com so that we can feature them in future episodes. 

 

Jun 8, 2015

The NEW Path To PCB Routing Success

Ask any PCB designer you know about autorouters and you’ll likely get the same response, “they just don’t get the job done.”

You’ll often hear that autorouter results “aren’t good enough or even close” to being comparable to what PCB designers know they can accomplished with hand routing.

Packing 10lbs in a 5lb Bag

Fact is, when we break up todays PCB design cycle into individual tasks – like library development, schematic, component placement, pre-routes, etc., one of the biggest, if not the biggest chunks of time we spend on the design is with design connectivity. That is, turning all those rats, thousands even tens of thousands in many cases into traces.

Oh, and if things weren’t already tough enough how about adding rules and constraints to 90 percent of those nets!

Rules on EVERY net?  So what!

With designs becoming more complex, rules on nearly every net, and PCBs becoming smaller and denser every year, autorouting designs is not getting any easier.

But, imagine this -- a new technology, one that combines automatic routing power with user-controlled interactive routing. That is, a technology capable of producing the same high-quality results that are achieved with hand routing.

Seeing is believing!

Sound interesting? Listen to John’s podcast and you’ll learn about a new technology called Sketch Routing.

If this short demo video just looks too good to be true, then test drive it yourself in the cloud with this free virtual lab.

 

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