The PCB Design and Manufacturing Process
It may not be obvious from the previous section, but there is a specific design process that is generally followed when a PCB designer starts a new project. ECAD software was designed to support this process and help designers follow a series of steps to help get their designs into production. There is also the PCB manufacturing process to think of. Many designers will jump into their first design projects without thinking through the manufacturing process and how a PCB will be put into manufacturing. Just remember, there’s no point in designing a new board for a real product if the PCB cannot be manufactured.
Because of the complexities of PCB design and manufacturing, the role of a PCB designer has changed over time. Today’s PCB designers need to take an active role in multiple phases in the product development process, they aren’t just creating CAD drawings of a PCB layout. For new designers, this requires learning many new skills, but it’s also a very fun process of collaboration with a diverse group of engineers, as well as manufacturers. Just like the creativity you get to exercise in layout and routing, this collaboration can be very meaningful, especially when a design comes off the assembly line.
These edge cards have successfully passed through fabrication and assembly, and they are ready to be shipped to the customer.