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FAQ

What is the deadline for entry?

June 30, 2017

When will I be notified if I won?

The awards webinar will be on September 19, 2017.

How will I be notified?

You will receive an email to the address you provide on the submission form.

What is the entry process?

Simply create a profile, then select ‘Submit’ from the Home page to start entering your design. We recommend that you send us your design database to extract critical parameters and artwork for the entry (under existing Mentor NDA). You can then review/update your entry online.

Do I have to complete the form at one time or can I finish later?

You may complete the form in stages. Information you enter will be securely stored for your next visit.

What happens if I recognize a mistake after I submit my entry? 

You can change your data even after submitting the entry. If there are major issues, contact us for assistance.

Who will review my submissions? 

There will be a panel of independent judges who will review and rank all entries. The company name, designer name and contact information is not visible during the judging process to prevent any bias. The judging panel is comprised of industry thought leaders, publication editors and some of your peers.

Who are the judges this year?

Michael Creeden, San Diego PCB CEO and founder; Gary Ferrari, FTG Circuits technical support director; Rick Hartley, RHartley Enterprises principal engineer; Steve Herbstman, SHLC PCB design consultant and owner; Happy Holden, Gentex Corporation (retired); Andy Kowalewski, Metamelko LP senior interconnect designer; Pete Waddell, President of UP Media and publisher of Printed Circuit Design & Fab/Circuits Assembly Magazine; and Susy Webb, Fairfield Nodal senior PCB designer.

What are the judging criteria?

The judges typically look at the complexity of the design stats (pad density, fabrication complexity, design constraints such as high speed, …) but will also pay a lot of attention to your write-ups as to the challenges your team faced during the design process, and how you overcame those challenges using your design experience and the tools available. So just submitting a design with impressive stats does not assure a win. Good write-ups at the end of the submission form really help the judges. Good design images are also critical. Review the TLA Entry Tips for more ideas for winning entries.

Can I submit more than one entry?

Yes. You can submit as many entries as you like. Create one profile, then start adding entries.

What will I receive if I win?

Global recognition of the company and design team through a press release and presentations / webinars. You may also be featured in industry publications. You will receive a TLA plaque featuring your design for the company office. In addition, winning design teams in each category will be awarded Ring Video Doorbells (3 maximum per team), or a donation of equal value to a charity of their choice. The overall winner will receive Ring Video Doorbell Pros.

What design data is required for an entry?

The data includes parameters of your design (e.g. number of layers, components, nets, etc), a description of the challenges faced in the design process, and supporting documentation (e.g. design images, specs). Please review the TLA Entry Tips for details.

What design entry information is published?

See the webinar from last year for the best example of how design entry data is used (it’s typically one screenshot and a few small statistics of the winners). Board images are captured from the submitted files (data is not published in ODB++, CCZ, PDF or other electronic formats). Please review the disclaimer at the start of the entry process (available in the sample entry form).

Who has access to the submitted design information?

The full entry is only made available to the judges and Mentor employees. Because external judges are used, the existing Mentor NDA does not apply. The judges treat the information as confidential because they understand the importance of this to Mentor and our customers.

Why do I need to supply more than just screen shots of my design?

You can still supply screen shots. However, the judges have asked for more information to help them review the designs (beyond the usual few screenshots). Screenshots are typically low resolution, not permitting review of design details. ODB++, PDF or CCZ data do not have this limitation. Most people delete a layer from the output data if they are concerned about the security of the design.

Can I just enter my original design database?

No. The judges would have to install every EDA flow (and every version) to review the data. To maintain the security of your design, please send ODB++, CCZ or PDF outputs (or screenshots if these aren’t possible). As described above, we recommend you send us (Mentor) your database for prepping of the requisite files. You can review the information before submitting.

I am concerned about IP security – what is the minimum information required?

Please review the design entry guidelines for the required data. After review of this information, most agree that their security will not be compromised. The greatest concern is generally around design images. The minimum requirement is a few screen shots of the design, but to be competitive, design data in ODB++, PDF or CCZ formats are preferred. If only screen shots are supplied, please include as many individual layers as possible (one image with all layers turned on is very difficult to review). If you submit data in ODB++, PDF or CCZ, you can control which layers are included. See note above regarding published materials.

Why should I (and my company) participate?

Winning this competition provides good exposure for the company and their advanced electronics products. It also provides exposure for the design team within the company and the global design community.

Can I submit on behalf of the entire engineering organization?

You can recognize individuals or the whole team. If you want to submit as a team, just indicate “XYZ design team” under Additional Designer Names (in this case, the team contact’s name won’t be used).

How long has Mentor been conducting this competition?

This is the 27th annual competition.

What are the design categories?

The categories for this year’s competition are:

  • Computers, blade and servers, memory systems
  • Consumer electronics and handheld
  • Industrial control, instrumentation, security and medical
  • Military and aerospace
  • Semiconductor packaging
  • Telecom, network controllers, line cards
  • Transportation and automotive

Additional questions or comments about the PCB TLA Awards? 

Contact David Wiens, Mentor: pcb_tla@mentor.com