The Hitchhiker's Guide to PCB Design

The Hitchhiker's Guide to PCB Design

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17 The Program Manager Before the engineering process of a project begins, the Program/Project Manager (PM) considers all the resources which will be required to complete the project. For example, in our story, one of the resources is Ian, the PCB designer. On a well-run project, the PM will ensure certain PCB designers (like Ian) are well-informed about important details regarding the PCB. The program manager, however, is not an expert in PCB layout and relies on the designer to query about any missing information in the design requirements at this essential phase. The two must define several important key factors upon which the layout will be based. When conceptualizing the PCB project, a PM obtains specifications for how the PCB will be used. Performance is a key factor in selection of parts, materials, and processes for the design. In the early stages of product definition, a designer must seek to identify a performance class for the PCB from the PM to get the layout pointed in the right direction. If the PCB is specified for use in a toy, such as an inexpensive illuminated fidget spinner, the materials and processes selected for the PCB must be simple to keep costs low. If the PCB is destined for use in mission critical life support equipment, it will need to be designed with robust features and quality materials, regardless of cost. They must withstand advanced processing and handling to be service-ready when called upon to function. The program manager considers environmental requirements: • Where will the PCB operate? • Will it be exposed to moisture or heat? • Will it need to perform in a vacuum working in a satellite out in space? • What will need to be done with regards to part selection and layout to mitigate any hostile conditions? • He also considers cost requirements: Is the PCB design a requirement for a school project, or intended for sale? • How many PCBs will need to be manufactured? All these questions are best addressed by the project manager during the initial phase of PCB design. High level overview: • Considers all resources required to complete a project • Obtains specifications on how the PCB will be used • Considers environmental and cost requirements Works closely with: • Electronics Engineer/ PCB Designer • Mechanical Engineer • FCB Fabrication Sales Engineer • Assembly Manufacturing Engineer • Test Engineer

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