For most of us, when we hear a job title like “PCB designer,” we have a definition in our mind as to what exactly that is, and we often rule in or rule out the need for a PCB designer based on our own definition and the project in question.

In the case of MJS Designs, some customers have their own schematic which needs review and sometimes, the customer may have an idea sketched out on a napkin. The MJS Designs’ engineers and PCB designers collaborate to bring an idea into a functional form for prototypes or testing.

Many times, there is an assumption that all that is needed for a PCB design to be complete is the tool, software or technology.  However, it is the depth and breadth of the designer’s expertise that determines if a complex board will successfully make it through assembly and testing.

And likewise, there are some who believe advanced tools mean a better output. The reality is that the most competent designs are a result of the fusing of expertise and technologies.

Let’s look at what makes the PCB designer role at MJS Designs a bit different from a traditional PCB designer that is often found in electronic design firms.

The Role of a PCB Designer at MJS Designs

MJS Designs is known for its powerful and advanced tools, which they have combined with highly skilled and certified designers to create an exceptional design experience.

The PCB designers at MJS Designs are uniquely trained and approach PCB design from a final project perspective. This means that each designer at MJS Designs has a broad scope of knowledge and experience as to how their PCB designs are interrelated to the success of the assembly, prototype and testing process. This is unique from firms that only specialize in PCB design.

The PCB designers select a PCB software based on a couple of factors.

First, they look to the customer’s request. The customer may request a design be created or modified using a specific tool, as they have that program at their disposal within their company and it allows their team to make simple updates if needed.

Second, the MJS Designs PCB designers may recommend a design tool based on the simplicity or complexity of the project. With a team of experts and a suite of the latest technology and tools, MJS Designs can respond to just about any PCB design project and make recommendations to provide the customer with the highest quality design.

The biggest misconception about PCB design is that the “tools” do most of the work. On the contrary and as with using any software, the more skilled and experienced the user, the better, stronger and more complete is the output. The suite of tools at MJS Designs is very specialized and requires an experienced designer to output designs that meet or exceed the clients’ performance, quality and functional requirements.

In conjunction with tools, the highly skilled designers at MJS Designs also have technical knowledge of . . .

Layouts for RF, Analog, Digital, Mixed Signal, EMI, Power Supply, High Speed designs with transmission lines, HDI, Rigid, Rigid-Flex, Flex, Backplanes, Motherboards and Daughter Cards.

In addition, PCB Designers are the liaison between Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Manufacturing.  They take input from these various disciplines and it is the role of the PCB Designer to make sure that all of the input is possible and/or incorporated into the design.

MJS Designs carries a suite of tools to address the various needs of customers from many industries, such as military, semiconductor, communications, medical, aerospace, automotive and industrial.

While it can be quantified in a number of ways, the following is the standard MJS Designs PCB Designers job description.

  • Provide technical guidance in developing new PCB designs and updating existing designs.
  • Execute project updates according to changing customer requirements.
  • Once awarded a project,  the designer and/or customer initiates a kick-off meeting in order to introduce the members of the project team, review the input, discuss milestones and technical aspects of the project, and to gain confidence in the team’s ability to perform the work.
  • Develop and maintain libraries for schematic symbols and PCB footprints.
  • Perform schematic capturing, which can be a simple single page flat sheet to multi-sheet complex hierarchical designs.
  • Input all of the mechanical requirements into the layout including the board outline, board cut outs, layer structure, routing constraints, mounting holes, height restrictions, keepout areas, critical placement of parts, etc.
  • Place all components within the board limits while meeting any special requirements based on experience, communication, and/or datasheets.
  • Route the electrical connections following specific design rules for high speed, RF, analog, digital, mixed signal, HDI, rigid, rigid-flex, flex, etc.
  • Run full Design for Manufacturing review (DFM) using Valor NPI’s BOM Manager, Assembly Analysis, Fabrication Analysis, and Test Point Analysis.
  • Output all deliverables for the customer ensuring that they meet their expectations.  The deliverables include the source files, gerbers/artwork, drill files, IPC-356 netlist, ODB++ file, XY placement, assembly drawings, fabrication drawings, and any other customer specific output.

PCB Layout:

  • Cadence Allegro PCB Editor XL (Expert)
  • Mentor  Xpedition PCB (Expedition)
  • Mentor  PADS Layout
  • Altium Designer

Schematic:

  • Cadence Allegro Design Entry HDL (Concept)
  • Cadence Allegro Design Entry CIS (OrCad Capture)
  • Mentor xDX Designer (DxDesigner)
  • Mentor PADS Logic
  • Altium Designer

Auto Routers:

  • Cadence Allegro PCB Router (Specctra)
  • Mentor Xpedition PCB Auto Router
  • Mentor PADS Router (Blaze)
  • Altium Auto Router

Design For Excellence (DFX):

  • Valor New Product Integration (NPI)
    • Fabrication Analysis (DFM)
    • Assembly Analysis (DFA)
    • Test Analysis (DFT)
    • BOM Manager
    • Parts Library (VPL)
  • xPCB Fablink / Drawing Editor (Fablink XE)
  • IPC-7351 Footprint Creator (PCB Library Expert and LP Wizard)

When you match the above advanced technologies with the following credentials, a powerful formula for PCB design success increases dramatically.

  • Advanced schematic and layout experience in PADS, Xpedition, Allegro, and Altium
  • Advanced Certified Interconnect Designers (IPC CID+)
  • IPC Design Council and Mentor Partner Program Members
  • Consulting services (review customer layouts for best practice; perform DFM,
    DFA, DFT)

Let’s take a quick look at  the standard role of a PCB designer

  • Create the board’s functionality using specialized software. Each board must be designed to precise specifications, and the designer will verify that it will work under various conditions.
  • Provide technical guidance in developing new PCB designs and updating existing designs.
  • Develop PCB layouts, perform component placements and determine wire routings.
  • Verify existing designs and recommend improvements.
  • Perform PCB design testing and analyze test results.
  • Ensure that project deliverables meet customer expectations.
  • Perform project updates according to changing customer requirements.

 

Now that we understand the role of a PCB designer and the enhanced experience, certifications and latest PCB design tools, it is easy to see why so many companies choose MJS Designs for all their PCB design needs. Learn more at www.mjsdesigns.com for follow us on LinkedIn.

 

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