The Rise of Mechatronics – SOLIDWORKS PCB – SOLIDWORKS

thank you very much for joining me for this third part of our Roadshow presentation the rise of mechatronics in this presentation we're not going to show what's exactly going on as we speak but rather what we're trying to do is to facilitate some thought as to where mechatronics design can go because at this point in time we can talk about how we can do collaboration of tools and that's what you'd call the first and second generation of mechatronics software however the third generation of mechatronics software is really going to require us to do simultaneous electrical and mechanical drawing we have to have the right manufacturing tools in order to facilitate this type of design so let's take a look at a couple of things here what's interesting about this slide over here is that if you look on the left side you're going to see what I'd consider be some of the major feats of mechanical engineering we can take a proton or a atom and we can smash it we can take equipment that's built here on earth and put it into the sky we can also put it on the moon we've put it into orbits of other planets we've even sent things on to Mars as well when it comes to our design of buildings our skyscrapers especially in this newer cities like Dubai and in Shanghai they practically defy gravity and lastly if you look at our transportation it's really amazing what we have done since the last 100 years especially with the automobile we can now get across the United States and five to six hours with an airplane well if you don't have an airplane ticket you can drive it in three to five days now if you had asked me to go from one side of the country to the other side of the country and this was 150 years ago I would really be risking life and limb to make that journey on the right side here we have what I'll call some of the feats of electrical engineering on the very top there you see an example of an MRI and the neat part of an MRI is that it's non-invasive meaning we don't have to cut the body open in order to see inside of it if we look at all the devices right next to it look at all the things that we use in order to look at things or to see things or to hear things and what's also amazing about that picture there is that really with the exception of the headphone all of those things that you see I can do on my smartphone so in a sense we've not only had a revolution in electronics we've also had another revolution in which all of those things that we have done can be done in something that fits in our pocket if we look at the bottom picture we also have power so most of us aren't necessarily walking around our houses with candles unless you've been involved in a major storm or are you're just really trying to save a dollar or two on your power but really if you think about it candles have now been reserved to either emergency use or for decor use they are not the primary source of light when the evening comes and lastly we just look at our computing power if we need to figure out what the tangent of something is well we need to figure out what the square root of 37 is it's really just a matter of us typing it in and getting the answer instantaneously but long ago that was not an easy answer to obtain and we would have to gone to books that have tables of this information in it and how do those tables come about well somebody actually sat down probably by candlelight and actually derived those numbers by trial and error now we not to worry about that it's really just the press of a button so there's some really great accomplishments both on the mechanical side and on the electrical side but the big question is where's Rosie because when you really look at what we've accomplished they've either been mechanically centric with electrical assistance or they have been electrically centric with mechanical assistance but in order for us to get a I or in order of us to really get what I'll call mechatronics design we're gonna have to have a 50/50 blending of both mechanical and electrical first and foremost how do we electrically connect anyway well we can do it one of three ways we can do it through radiofrequency we can do it through cables and harnesses and I would include in this fiber optics as well and then secondly I would also say that there are printed circuit boards because in the end what are we put in our parent circuit boards besides components we also put connectivity so understanding this here very simply let's take a look at a couple of examples so here's a robotic arm and as a matter of fact this robotic arm was made with a 3d printer and when you look at it which you can probably tell from is that first they printed out the arm and then they put an actuator in there and bolted it in and then they added in the harnessing afterwards what mechatronics manufacturing is calling out for is there a way for us to make each one of those parts of the arm so the electronics is already in it so as we are snapping together or bolting together this part the electronics are already there so we don't have to worry about the harnessing it's just a matter that hey we put this together and now it's electrically active just as much as it can be mechanically active here's another example will give you so this is the myoma project a very cool project it is a real product out there and it helps a lot of people with neurological disorders and we see in this example that there is a printed circuit board so obviously there was a mechanical side and there was an electrical side and more importantly probably what this product is doing for that printed circuit board is protecting it so again mechatronics manufacturing is asking one of two things is there a way for that printed circuit board actually be a part of the structure meaning that instead of trying to protect it could it have been some way some shape or form added in so that it actually provided some strength or assistance in the mechanical structure and then lastly and maybe we're just looking a little too far ahead but it's the question we have to ask is did we even need to have a printed circuit board to begin with could the circuitry of this be placed in the plastic itself rather than having to have a separate printed circuit board so again these are the things that mechatronics is asking what's interesting about the electrical folks is that we're very 2d in nature the progress that we have made in design has really been in the 3d space for example if you look at something like AutoCAD which used to be really the king of mechanical design well how did they get kind of thrown off their throne they got thrown off because SolidWorks came in and said look you can design this in 3d and let's face it when work in 3d we're working in a real space that we understand because we live in a 3d world look at out him in 2008 in 2008 Altium realized that in order for them to have any type of bridge between the chasm of the mcat world in the ecad world in order to even bridge that chasm they are the ones who come up with a streety rendering within the 2d so in logical progression we've already gone 3d and the mechanical we're already using 3d in order to bridge electrical mechanical doesn't it make sense that maybe we ought to be designing electrical in 3d as well and that's what we're calling out over here because right now we draw in 2d we fabricate in 2d and I'll talk a little bit about that in a moment and if you think about it one of the biggest problems we have with printed circuit boards is that our z-axis is limited in terms of vias we don't normally think in the z-axis when we're designing boards like the one that you see here in this particular picture now it's kind of important for us to take a step back and I don't want to go too deep into this if you're really interested in it take a look at our PCB fundamentals class because we go into a lot more detail about it it's something that everybody who's designing printed circuit boards ought to know because it's the current process that we use in order to create a printed circuit board so the current method is basically you take what is called a core material and if you take a look at my cursor here in the top right corner what the core material is is basically a dielectric with copper on the top and on the bottom and what we do in this process is we chemically etch it out that's how we do it we basically do a lithography type process and we etch out those areas that we don't want and what's remaining is our circuit so it's a very chemical process secondly we build inside and out so if we were going to do a four layer board we would actually start with layer two and three and then we would add in layer 1 and layer four and lastly again we're limited to vias in the Z direction so if I want communication to exist between layers one and two and three and four I got to have some type of via in order to do that so the bigger question is can this whole concept be avoided let's talk about some of the limitations that we're coming against when it comes to fabricating printed circuit boards so by the way if you're not familiar with it in manufacturing of printed circuit boards we have the fabrication process and we have the assembly process as well the fabrication process is the making of the board if you think about it what we're doing is we're actually building a custom component and then afterwards we're populating that custom component with all of the components that we want on so that's the assembly process one of the biggest problems that we have in the electrical side is this control of the z-axis and why is that well here's one of the issues that we come across right now one of them happens to do with the what we'll call the registration issues since we were building inside and out we can have these situations where not all of the layers line up so you can see a really great example of this here on the bottom right-hand side of the screen even though the center's are matched up if there's a little bit of a registration issue or what they call a delta issue as the board goes out we may not be lining things up from one another and that can cause yield issues yield losses that's why if you try to build something is really small for example they may charge you a lot of money for it because you may ask for ten boards but they may have to actually make 50 60 boards to get the yields necessary because there might be some registration issues as they're doing this now on boards that only have two or four even six layers not a big issue but as we mentioned earlier on when you're dealing with something that's got an FPGA on it and it's got hundreds of pins on it though you've got a fan-out and you've got a large board you're gonna have registration issues because now you've got dozens of layers and now you've got a board that's probably a couple of inches long and a couple inches wide and those registration effects are really going to become profound as you go out so what this is really going to impact are the vias and if you take a look down here at the bottom right you're gonna see what is really an ideal via now ideal in the sense that we probably wouldn't do this type of thing because there are other ways of distributing a signal but what you see over here is really a perfect hole with perfect annular rings connected to perfect traces well remember this is an etching process and etching processes are not exactly certainly won't be smooth but nevertheless this is what they consider to be ideal we have to also remember that again now we have registration issues so maybe these annular rings which are really nothing more than targets are the things that we're trying to line up and hit so these may already be off a little bit just because of registration issues that we talked about in the last slide now what we're gonna do is we're gonna actually take a drill and we're gonna send a drill through here now in the perfect world these rings are not only lined up the drill is gonna hit dead center and it's gonna go all the way down and it's going to end dead center but if you ever done this for example with a self-tapping screw on a really shiny piece of metal maybe you wanted to put in a certain location but if it didn't grab it may have slid a little bit and then started to drill in and so we may not get it necessarily in the middle but if you look at the middle example of this bad via and depends on the class by the way of the vias but you may not even start in the middle to begin with and more importantly again because the drill may not be going straight down it may actually be going off in an angle so what you see in the third picture there of what they call the bad via it may not even be within the target it may actually punch through the annular ring over here so in short we could have a slip and not hit the center we could be drilling out an angle we could have both of the above and then we can have registration issues so you can see that we have a lot of difficulty dealing with the z-axis we're very limited with our ability to work in the z-axis when it comes to electrical design so in addition to the manufacturing issues of it we also have to understand that there are things called layer pairs and if people are not knowledgeable about this they can create and route a board that the software tools will certainly allow but manufacturing won't be very happy with it or it may not even be manufacturable for example at the bottom right corner look at what I've got there four layers one two three and four now imagine for a moment that a engineer or a designer who's new to the process decides that they're gonna route this and they're gonna say well I'm gonna put routes wherever I need to I'm gonna have a route between 1 and 2 and we're out between 2 and 3 and I'm gonna be allowed to do a route between 3 and 4 and they're not just using through-hole vias they're using whatever this start and stop layers that they can set up and those are called drill layer pairs well they sent it off to the folks who are gonna fabricate this and they look at and say well I can do a via between 2 & 3 once I fabricated layers 2 & 3 I can stop the process I can drill the hole and I can plate it so that's not a problem but now you're asking me to also have a via between 3 & 4 and that's very problematic and yes I could do it through something called the microvia which is a relatively new type of via but microvias weren't not intended to do that type of work so you know what I can do a microvia or you can go back and reroute this and it will cost you a lot less money the big question is and the reason we bring this up is that can 3d printing make all of this nonsense that we have to go through with the vias a moot point one of the things that's interesting about 3d printing is that number one is primarily additive there are subtractive printers and what's also interesting about is that if you go on to the internet and you look at 3d design you just see thousands of pictures out there but one of the things that we at 9.10 X believes is that some of the printer companies that will arise out of all the companies that are out there and experimenting and selling their product are going to be the ones that can actually dispense both conductive and non conductive ink because what's interesting is that right now ok this is October of 2017 if you were to search out 3d designs that have both electrical and non electrical inks in them you're not going to find a lot out there if you look at the few examples we could find is the number one people are doing this stuff and number two is gonna really force us to rethink the way we create electrical products if we look at this example up here and may look a little crude but this is going to change the way we manufacture why is that because as I mentioned earlier on we are fabricating boards and then we assemble so what we're doing is we're creating these boards and then we take our components we put something called solder paste on them stick them on to our boards during the assembly process and then we send them through a reflow oven so that they will become permanently bonded what you see up here is very different what we're doing here is we're starting with a non conductive ink we're stopping the process we're putting the component in and then we're building the circuitry around the component that's very different from what we do right now that allows us to do some interesting things like if you look at these examples over here we may actually even be able to do things in a 3d space where we just stop our process after we've done so much non conductive ink we put stop the process we put in our chips and then we continue along by in the conductive ink and trade-off between the conductive and non conductive inks and it looks like they've already or some people have already been successful in doing these type of things the big thing that this is really going to buy us is better control of the z-axis one thing I like about this one product that they did down here is that you can see that the traces are the same no matter which direction you're going in because one of the things that we have an issue with and I'm gonna jump back over here a little bit back to this picture here is that in high speed design vias are a bit of a bane and the reason that they're a bane is because one of the rules of thumb when you are doing high-speed design is that you always want to keep the width of your trace the same and the minute you change it you've changed the impedance so follow along with me now for those people are from the north high speed design we'd have something here that's called as a stub and we don't want stubs because they act as accidental antennas but what we want to do is let's just take for a moment that we have this trace coming in here and we have the signal going out over here forget about the rest of the top or the bottom the fact that matter is is that if we have a trace coming in we have a certain width which gives us a certain impedance it hits this round thing called an annular ring and now we've got a different impedance now we hits this cylinder here right this is our barrel that's gonna go down and it's now got another impedance it hits the next annular ring has got yet another impedance and then it goes back into a trace which has yet another impedance so we have four impedances that are going on here and that's not good for high-speed design and one of the things that we think is going to happen here is that with 3d design we don't have to worry about vias anymore this primitive that we've been so reliant on for the z-axis would actually go away and that a trace is a trace regardless of the angle or direction it's being placed in the 3d space and of course the second thing that will be really great about this is that we no longer have to put components on the top or just the bottom we've got cube and a cube is six sided or if even if it's a cylinder right and if maybe the concept is is going to be a cylinder shape and I can see marriage to this you know now you have the whole side to work with over there and at any angle not just the the four sides of it so some neat things that are coming up obviously people have been successful with it we're starting to see some prototypes of it but this is something to consider in the next couple years as this whole printer industry is rising and people are vying and jockeying for position within this budding industry so what's the take away from all of this there's a couple of things that you can think about first and foremost if you are an electrical engineer look at SolidWorks CAD and if you are a mechanical engineer look at SolidWorks PCB look in short look at the other person's tools what are they doing in it because you'd be really surprised at how different they are and I'll give you a really great example when I took the class a couple of months ago for SolidWorks CAD the one thing that became very obvious to me is that there's no grid now that's very different coming from the electrical side where everything's on a grid and when I used to do Altium support a lot of questions that came in or a lot of the problems that we had to solve had to do with not being on the grid now all of a sudden we go on the mechanical tool we're not dealing with grids anymore we're dealing with relations a very very different way of looking at how these lines and these extrusions work together with each other so there's a really great example there of how we have to start thinking in a very different way the second part is collaborate on libraries now during the roadshow we asked everybody at the end saying ok who's got a really cool library that they would be happy to present and on the electrical side nobody raised their hands everybody has problems with their libraries especially on the electrical side of things and what one thing I have found is that the mechanical folks tend to have a better grasp and they do a better job with maintaining their components and so one of the things that's going to have to happen in mechatronics design is there's gonna have to be a collaboration on libraries cuz you want to pull from one unified library the electrical folks shouldn't be pulling from one thing and then telling the mechanical folks to do something and vice versa then mechanical folks shouldn't be doing something in telling the electrical folks to develop it it has to be one unified library spend some time in 3d printing and you'll see that in 3d printing there's a lot of cool things that you can do with it but the reason I'd recommend that is again in electrical design we design inside and out we're in 3d printing we are going to do an additive process of building from the ground up and we have to have in sight in order to understand how we're gonna put our circuit together because I can think of a lot of cool 3d mechatronic type of designs that have electronics in it half the battle is understand how can we do this what are going to be the steps necessary for us to do this both electrically and mechanically if you're not familiar with it take a little brush-up on circuit theory because that's always a good thing to understand you don't have to get super deep into it but just understanding where you have your your complete circuit your loops and your grounds and those types of things one of the things that we've done here at nine connects is we developed an in-house project called a rangefinder so one of the things we're going to do now that we've developed this is that we will be putting out a blog in the near future and with this blog we're going to try to break down all the elements of the electrical side what did it take to come up with the libraries what does it take to do the schematics what did it take to get it into a layout what did it take to get into manufacturing so we want to break that down so that you can see the entire process and yes by the way we have built a rangefinder in fact we've built two generations of it we're already looking at the third generation and again the whole purpose of it was really for show-and-tell if you're looking for PCB design practices and process take a look at our website under our knowledge category we designed our website so that it can really be a beacon of light in a world that has PCB information scattered all about it and lastly what I want to talk about is a course that we offer here at 9:00 dot connects called PCB fundamentals and we put this together because we realized that there really is no source out there to introduce and teach someone the entire PCB process you can find a lot of great articles out there you can even take a 88 type of tool class that can show you at least the schematic and the layout side of things but we have not found anything out there for the individual coming in to printed circuit boards or those who are somewhat familiar with print circuit boards but don't have the whole story so what is the purpose of this we're not trying to teach design what we're trying to teach is the process and we've designed it so that anybody can really be involved in this and it's not just for the designers or for the engineers though they're probably the ones who make most use of this it was also written for technicians it was written for program managers it was even written for the purchasing folks have a role in this as well so if you understand what the PCB process is then you understand what the needs of manufacturing are and you can design accordingly because if one of the things we forget when we design printed circuit boards so we're not designing circuits we're designing for manufacturing and when we don't design for manufacturing and we forget those little things that really are easy to forget when we're looking at a computer screen they really cause a nightmare down the road when we're trying to get this through the fabrication and assembly process the other reason I make this known to you and you're saying why is he talking about PCB when this is a mechatronics thing in order for me to even have an intelligent conversation about how a mechatronics design is going to look I got to understand the PCB manufacturing process and if I understand the differences between the two then I can have an intelligent conversation about ok this is the conventional process and this is where mechatronics must be going in order for it to become a 3d design I hope you enjoyed this series of presentations that we gave if you came to our roadshow thank you very much if you missed it well hopefully this makes up for it and we look forward to having you at our webinars in the future thanks for your time and you take care

One Comment

  1. tigeruby said:

    thanks for uploading these industry presentations — they are a valuable resource for the community.

    May 22, 2019

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