I called this blog area “PCB Matters” for a reason.
PCBs are like the Rodney Dangerfield’s of product development - they don’t get the respect they deserve. I think this is because there really is not a such thing as a singular PCB design task - but really a series of tasks with specialists where each speaks a unique language that’s hard to crossover. So what happens is that each specialist (RF designer, High Speed Engineer, Layout Designer, Process Engineering, etc.) all kind of stay in their own domains. So, it’s no surprise that PCBs do not get the kind of respect they deserve. It’s hard to decrypt what is happening at the PCB development level if you don’t come from the PCB world.
It’s a paradox. Because PCB’s are the bridge between the mechanical and electrical world. Fine-tuning the PCB development process can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. In an Aberdeen Study, PCBs are found to make up to 31% of the overall cost of a product. This presents significant opportunities for optimizing the product development process.
Proof that we don’t “speak the same language” is in this study. On page 11 of this study a question was asked and the answers were delineated by whether a manager or staff was answering. So, for example 84% of managers answered that “design for cost” is a key initiative whereas 64% of staff answered cost as being a core driver. On the other hand, 89% of staff identified “design for signal integrity” as being critical with 77% of management concurring.
So, although technology is critical (and Mentor has been investing accordingly - most recently with finalizing the acquisition of Valor), it is also a management issue. Putting the right tools in place is part of this challenge, driving the usage of those tools for success in enabling key business goals is the other part.
So, PCB development does matter and it should.
Stay tuned - we will walk through more on this topic over the coming weeks.