One the EDA Tech Forum website is an article by Mr. Clive ‘Max’ Maxfield regarding a shift in manufacturing of PCBs towards tighter integration. He argues for the importance of designing for manufacturing, testing and fabrication (DFx), as well the the importance of a clear line of communication from front end designers all the way to fabrication and manufacturing.

With one week’s experience in the industry, this makes such intuitive sense. The walls between schematic design, layout, verification and production requires luck to avoid ECO-s. The same test-driven design as used in high-level software needs to take place with to avoid the costly rework. As important is using a tool that allows for every step of the PCB production process to be able to communicate with each other.

Mentor’s visECAD program is an enterprise-wide viewing tool that displays everything from schematic to cad/cam files. Features include the ability to mark up designs and do collaborative work. The viewer itself is free. visECAD allows for the tighter integration between design and production stages to allow seamless communication that decreases errors and rework. Give it a try.