It Ain’t Over ’til The Paper Work is Done

A couple of months ago I saw a demo of BluePrint-PCB, a product from DownStream Technologies that is intended to address the documentation phase of pcb design and production. It took me back to days of trying to make a layout tool do everything and how we had to kludge stuff together to produce our documentation package. Before CAD we had to splice a copy of a drill plot into a drawing format. Even after CAD we were still asking the layout tool to do things it was not intended to do. Some folks used dxf and AutoCad, (some still do) but it was still not an automated process.
So after seeing a demo of BluePrint, I came away asking myself why people are still using tools intended to do layout and routing, to put together a complete documentation package. After all, it’s not just about a BOM and a drill drawing. It’s a stage of the process that often gets short shrift, but without proper documentation, done right, the job just isn’t complete, and the folks in fab, assembly and test are left to play a guessing game. And we all know that trying to figure out what is going on in a designer’s mind can be scary. So I decided to do an article for the February issue of PCD&F on engineering documentation.
This issue gets more and more complicated with the addition of enterprise systems such as MRP, ERP and PLC and I plan to address some of these issues in the article. If you have some input for the article or just want to comment to this blog, please do not hesitate to feed me your success or horror stories.
Until then, have a great holiday. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Festivus or the Solstice, have a safe and happy time.