I always prefer to maintain a logical flow of signals and functionality in my PCB layouts. I think that this approach results in an easier design process and a better board. The AWG layout progresses from left to right: from power input and communication input/output, to the power supply circuitry, to the processor, to the DAC (which is controlled by the processor and constitutes the board’s transition from digital to analog), to the analog signal-conditioning circuitry, and finally to the output connector. Parts that don’t have a specific position in the functional flow—such as the oscillator (U4), the DAC’s passives (C16, R5, etc.), and the voltage reference (U3)—are arranged near the components that they support.
Manufacturers can use fixtures or panels to secure or frame fragile, thin, or oddly shaped PCBs. This allows them to easily fit the boards in the standard assembly, reflow, or automatic inspection machines. In addition to handling the irregular boards, the technologies enable the simultaneous processing of multiple boards as opposed to working on each board individually, hence reducing the production time and costs.
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