At 01:09 AM 5/26/2004, Mira wrote:
If your boss cares
about saving some money from shorting the time for
finishing the job and doesn't care about the PCB cost,
then you must be working for a design bureau.
You design the board once but it will be manufactured
many times.

Ouch. That's not necessarily true. One of the factors in a decision to autoroute would be anticipated production volume. We do boards from time to time where it is quite likely that there will be a few boards made and that is it. We do others where there will be thousands cranked out, or more.

Early in the design process, it is reasonably likely that design will change. The version that is first produced is quite likely to be succeeded by subsequent versions, the first version might only see a couple of prototypes.

It doesn't make sense to put in a lot of work to minimize the via count, for example, when vias are *almost* free at the prototype level, and remain pretty cheap in production.

The point I keep underscoring is that autorouting is appropriate for some jobs, and not for others. Autorouting can save substantial design labor, and in an ethical service bureau, that will be reflected in lower cost to the customer, so Mira's comment about "you must be working for a design bureau," as if the design bureau is going to greedily cut corners to fatten profits, is simply unworthy of her.

Much of our own work is done on an hour basis, and so if we use an autorouter to save time, it automatically benefits the customer. Our responsibility to the customer is to choose the appropriate techniques for the job, balancing cost and quality.

So if you give us a PCB design to do and we ask you "how many of these do you plan to make," now you know why we might be interested....

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax LOMAX DESIGN ASSOCIATES PCB design, consulting, and training Protel EDA license resales Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA (413) 527-3881, efax (419) 730-4777 [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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