Communicating With Your Electronic and Mechanical Engineers

July 20, 2020 Cadence PCB Solutions

Key Takeaways

  • Learn why communicating with your electronic and mechanical engineers is important. 

  • Find out what common data is shared between engineers.

  • Explore better ways to communicate with electronic and mechanical engineers.

Engineer working on a 3D product rendering in CAD program

Electronic and mechanical engineers can no longer afford to work in isolation.

Running a product design company isn’t easy. You’ve got to deal with issues that can delay production like finding out the PCB that was just designed won’t fit in the enclosure. That’s the harsh truth of working with electronic and mechanical engineers if they’re not communicating right. 

As the business stakeholder, or a team leader, you know that part of the blame may lie with you if you’ve overlooked the importance of communication between electronic and mechanical engineers. But it’s never too late to get your engineers unified and on the same page working towards a shared goal

Why Communicating With Your Electronic and Mechanical Engineers Is Important 

There used to be a time when electronic and mechanical engineers could work in isolation and still deliver products that were fit for production. Such days are over as products have evolved to have sleeker designs with tighter tolerances that require closer integration between electronic and mechanical engineers. Coupled with the fact that product development has become an insane race to market, you can no longer allow your electronic and mechanical engineers to work independently.

For example, the electronics circuit of a smartphone has little to no room for structural errors within the slim-designed enclosure. Additionally, the growing demand for flexible electronics like smart wearables and medical devices requires electronic and mechanical engineers to work together seamlessly.

Common Data Matters for Electronic and Mechanical Engineers

Communicating with your electronic and mechanical engineers doesn’t mean engaging in idle conversation. What matters is ensuring that both parties are working with the same set of data. To be specific, both types of engineers need to get the mechanical properties right for their respective designs.

Your electronic designer needs to have the mindset that PCB design is no longer a 2-dimensional approach. They need to start thinking about what the design will look like on the z-axis. A shift in the placement of an electrolytic capacitor or moving a mounting hole a couple of mm are things that need to be conveyed to the mechanical engineer.

 

Black laptop computer showing a 3D rendering of product enclosure in CAD program

Both engineers need to work with a unified component model with trackable revision updates. 

Both electronic and mechanical engineers need to share the same set of component models to ensure that they’re aligned in terms of the mechanical properties of the design. You’ll want to be sure that revisions made on the mechanical enclosure are shared with the electronic engineer and vice versa. 

The timeline of the changes and where the changes are made is crucial information that ensures both engineers are working with the latest information. 

How to Improve Communication Between Your Electronic and Mechanical Engineers

ECAD/MCAD integration ensures accurate and efficient communication between your electronic and mechanical engineers.

Your role in leading the design team is crucial, but having constant meetings on design changes can be unproductive. Dumping the changelogs into a shared chat space isn’t a good idea for improving communication between your electronic and mechanical engineers either.

The key point in collaboration between electronic and mechanical engineers is to be able to create accurate 3D renderings on the software that they are using. Both ends of the software must render from a common set of component models to ensure the designs are accurately matched. 

Revisions must also be conveyed efficiently in an ongoing process and that communication should happen within the software itself. These changes are sent to the other party before they are approved, rejected, or a meeting is conducted for further discussions. 

It’s important to stay connected with your electronic and mechanical engineers, but constantly emailing for revision updates isn’t a solution. Instead, you’ll want to ensure that the software that they are using supports ECAD/MCAD integration. Such integration enables point-to-point communication in the event of changes and ensures both engineers are sharing the same component models.

You can start by getting a PCB design software that has ECAD/MCAD support, such as Allegro by Cadence. It allows 3D rendering and connects to popular mechanical design software using an industry-standard design file. Furthermore, you can trust the seamless team collaboration opportunities presented in Allegro Symphony

If you’re looking to learn more about how Cadence has the solution for you, talk to us and our team of experts

About the Author

Cadence PCB solutions is a complete front to back design tool to enable fast and efficient product creation. Cadence enables users accurately shorten design cycles to hand off to manufacturing through modern, IPC-2581 industry standard.

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