14 June 2011

As analogue design gets more complex, what support is available to engineers?

Analogue electronics design is, by common consent, a difficult task. A number of factors conspire to make things more difficult, including time to market, but analogue design is getting harder simply because the components themselves are getting more complex.

Then there's the skills issues. It's generally agreed that analogue designers are a declining breed; their specialist role is being assumed by generalists, compounding the problems.

New Electronics recently convened a roundtable of analogue companies to discuss the issues. The debate – encapsulated on p20 of this issue – was wide ranging, as you might expect.

Our survey before the event found that more than half of respondents select parts primarily on device performance. So how can manufacturers help them pick the right part? A whole raft of things, as it turns out – everything from more definitive datasheets to sophisticated online selection tools.
Manufacturers are also developing more modular components – black boxes, if you like – that ease the design task.

You also said support from distribution is as important as support from the manufacturer. When design engineers need assistance, they can call on help from field application engineers, or FAEs. But the decline in the size of the UK's electronics industry means FAE support isn't as widely available as it used to be. And there is a hint from the survey that FAEs themselves are not getting better at supporting analogue design.

But a telling statistic from our survey is that 45% of respondents believe their analogue design skills are not as good as they could be. It's obviously good to be able to call on FAEs for support or to go to a website, but engineers can also help themselves by keeping more up to date with developments.

Author
Graham Pitcher

Supporting Information

This material is protected by Findlay Media copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.

Do you have any comments about this article?


Add your comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Surplus to requirements

Embedded computing, you might have thought, would be a good business sector to ...

Renesas to build ecosystem

The news that Renesas is to outsource 40nm mcu manufacture to TSMC is not ...

ARM’s M0+ core

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the 'internet of things'; a ...