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Publication Date: 05/1/2010
Archive >  May 2010 Issue >  Electronic Mfg. Services > 

At Sunstone: Making Designs Foolproof & Mistake-Proof
Mulino, OR — Sunstone has developed an expanded design and build system based on a number of key partnerships, calling it "ECOsystem{SM}". This collaboration of industry experts focuses on providing design engineers a process that will shorten the design engineer's time-to-market, increase efficiencies, while delivering a better quality product at reduced project costs.

According to the IPC, "Experts have estimated that board designers dictate 75 percent of the cost of final printed boards, solely based on design choices made before the designs leave the CAD stations. Given today's business climate where work projects grow in complexity, the role of the designer has become more crucial in helping his or her company out-perform the competition."

vendors may be reduced. Increasingly, there are more parts that require machine assembly, and design teams are asked to do more with less. It's important to achieve better cost containment, while reaching for the same or greater level of innovation.

Today, there are smaller design teams and fewer resources, and this leads to embracing open source software.

Traditional Product Design
During traditional product development, the task is made more difficult by "brick walls" that impede productivity. Different companies do not communicate with one another, and time is lost in unnecessary complexity. Lost time equals lost money.

Many of these roadblocks can be overcome by collaboration with suppliers during product design. It thus becomes possible to leverage the expertise of leading EDA companies to tear down those brick walls, and this collaboration makes it easier for any engineer to design the product.

An important part of the engineers dilemma — according to the Aberdeen Group — is the fact that 45 to 64 percent of products miss their cost targets, and a part of this problem is that 21 to 39 percent of designs require as many as 3 respins — changes before the product is released to the marketplace. There remains opportunity to improve the design flow based on missed cost targets and respins; the key is simplifying and streamlining the design flow.

Companies partnering with Sunstone in making the design and fabrication process flow so easily include Screaming Circuits, Digi-Key, NXP Semiconductors, and National Instruments.

National Instruments, for example, maintains a large library of resources, white papers, example files and content for domain experts to reference. It thus provides a quick, simple and online method to fabricate prototypes with Sunstone's easy-to-use, flexible and cost-effective platform for prototyping with NI Multisim, NI Ultiboard and NI LabVIEWPCB Matrix, IPC Standard land patterns. Digi-Key is a value aggregator of current and evolving informational needs and remains an industry standard for available components that engineers want to design with. Integrating and providing instant access to PCB CAD parts with NXP allows Digi-Key to continue full functionality support while minimizing the design process. According to Screaming Circuits, the people involved with components, design, fabrication and assembly all need to talk to each other. Most defects found at the assembly stage are essentially the result of communications issues. Small problems have a disproportionately large impact on cost and scheduling.

Looking Ahead
The expanded parts library in Sunstone's PCB123 software delivers an overwhelming amount of certified parts into the PCB123 design suite. This brings the most accurate library information from the manufacturer, distributor, and the design tool into one unified access point.

The benefits of the Circuit Design ECOsystem{SM} collaboration include Parts Definition Hosting & Digi-Key BOM Manager. This support technology behind making parts information available for design comes from Digi-Key innovating the role as parts information repository.

Looking ahead to grow the ECOsystem, potential new partners will be reviewed and analyzed to determine which companies may be invited to join in this collaboration.

Contact: Sunstone Circuits, 13626 S. Freeman Road, Mulino, OR 97042 800-228-8198 or 503-829-9109 fax: 503-829-6657 E-mail: Web:

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