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    Agilent-Qianfeng Electronics Technologies selects Altium technology as most productive solution for their new R&D lab.

    The need

    As a key component of Agilent Technologies’ thrust into China’s rapidly-growing $200 billion electronics industry, Agilent’s joint venture with prominent Chinese company Chengdu Qianfeng Electronics – Agilent-Qianfeng Electronics Technologies – required highly-productive electronics design software for their Chengdu research and development (R&D) facilities in China’s Sichuan Province. Formed in January 2005, the Agilent-Qianfeng R&D lab needed to be producing strategically valuable test and measurement (T&M) instrument research in the shortest possible timeframe in order to capitalize on the burgeoning Chinese T&M market. The efficiency and quality of the electronics design software selected by the Agilent-Qianfeng lab was critical to this aim, along with primary considerations such as cost and customer support. Altium became Agilent-Qianfeng’s vendor of choice and a partner in their goal for long-term success.

    The challenge

    The task of spearheading product research and development for the Agilent brand in the Chinese region requires the Agilent-Qianfeng R&D lab to work to short development design cycles in line with the dynamic nature of the local market, which is reportedly growing at 20% annually (1). This, coupled with the iterative design approach used in product research means that lab staff needed to become highly proficient in the development software tools as quickly as possible. While the speed and  efficiency of product development is a fundamental objective for the lab, maintaining Agilent’s reputation for accuracy and high-reliability in their test instruments is also paramount, which in turn places high demands on the accuracy and performance of the software used during the R&D phase.

    The solution

    After considering a range of software solutions for their demanding set of design and board-level development needs, Agilent-Qianfeng selected Altium Designer’s Protel* licensing option as the superior design system for their R&D lab engineering staff. Based on Protel’s short learning curve, intuitive operation, high level of integration, powerful features and cost effectiveness, Agilent- Qianfeng independently decided against the Agilent convention of using a Mentor Graphics solution for board-level development.

    The Agilent-Qianfeng R&D lab is now equipped with a 20-user Altium Designer Protel network license plus four single-user Protel licenses, providing the lab with all the capabilities they need to take any board-level design project from concept to completion in the shortest possible time. For the lab engineers, Protel’s seamless tool integration, ease-of-learning and intuitive operation makes it the board-level design system of choice amongst the offerings from all other vendors – regardless of price.

    The results

    While the lab at Agilent-Qianfeng Electronics Technologies is a new R&D facility, its engineers have already begun to produce board designs with the aim to develop products for Agilent’s worldwide Technologies Test and Measurement product portfolio. The lab’s rapid path to a productive design environment was assisted by Altium’s local support teams and the Global Customer Care team, who worked with the lab to ensure a smooth adoption of the technology and have continued this partnership with ongoing engineering support and training. Along with appreciating the productivity and quality benefits of Altium Designer’s Protel license, Agilent-Qianfeng is also very impressed with the responsiveness and proactive attitude of Altium’s support and sales teams, and look forward to taking this partnership into the future.

    Product information

    Agilent-Qianfeng will provide test and measurement instruments to research institutions and electronic manufacturing customers who require reliable test solutions at a very reasonable cost-of-ownership. With China surpassing Japan to become Agilent’s second-largest market in 2004, the company sees a great opportunity in new technology such as China’s upcoming 3G (third generation) communications strategies. It is expected that 250 million mobile phone handsets a year will be manufactured in China by 2006, and Agilent is well placed to supply testing and measuring products for all the 3G standards including the Chinese TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) standards.

    Customer information

    Agilent-Qianfeng Electronics Technologies is a joint venture between Agilent Technologies’ test and measurement organization and Chengdu Qianfeng Electronics Ltd, and is responsible for the development and manufacturing of test equipment for the Chinese and world markets. Chengdu Qianfeng is a prominent, industryleading company in electronic equipment, household appliances and electronic machinery, and is recognized as a premium brand in China.

    Agilent Technologies Inc. was spun off from Hewlett Packard six years ago, and is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The Agilent-Qianfeng Electronics Technologies joint venture is part of Electronic Measurement Group (EMG).

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