AMS is a global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance standard and customised analogue integrated circuits (ICs). AMS uses Altium Designer for both schematic and PCB sides of the design and finds it intuitive, powerful, and more efficient than a tool chain approach.
austriamicrosystems stakes its reputation on delivering components that operate ‘right first time’ to its customers. Many of its customers are leading global OEMs and rely on austriamicrosystems as their sole supplier. Because its customers are under pressure to deliver more complex products in shorter time frames, austriamicrosystems provides them with reference designs and application samples to help them to reduce their component design-in times.
Austriamicrosystems had used a range of PCB design tool chains over the years and had experienced difficulties with conversions, where data from one tool was extracted and imported into another tool which is incompatible with the first. The company wanted an integrated printed circuit board (PCB) design tool that was reliable, accurate and easy to use.
One of the main requirements was that the tool chain would enable austriamicrosystems engineers to design and create PCB prototypes even more quickly than before.
Two years ago, austriamicrosystems began the migration to Altium Designer for all in-house system level and PCB design instead of using separate tools for schematic and system design.
Other design tools that the company’s engineers had used previously had resulted in corrupted databases being delivered to the PCB manufacturers. It took weeks to discover an array of failures, which delayed the process of verifying ICs and delivering reference boards to customers.
Altium Designer proved to be the ideal unified solution for the entire design process that austriamicrosystems was searching for. It provided engineers with an intuitive link between block diagrams and project hierarchy, so they could stay in the one tool chain from development of the design concept until they provided the Gerber data to the PCB manufacturer.
austriamicrosystems design engineers found Altium Designer intuitive to use, and they became familiar with the software’s features very quickly.
When austriamicrosystems does reference designs for its customers, it has to keep up to date with industry standard form factors for various consumer applications.
For example, samples of housings for mobile phones, MP3 players or active noise cancellation ear plugs need to resemble the final form factor as closely as possible. Discrete components such as coils are positioned close to the IC in a bid to minimise space, which means designers need to be careful to place components so that they will fit later into a housing or a shielding. Altium Designer’s 3D simulation capability helps austriamicrosystems engineers to optimise placement of discrete components on PCBs and enables them to keep product form factors as compact as possible.