Parent page: Capturing Your Design Idea as a Schematic
Good component selection underlies the success of every electronic product - so just how does the designer go about choosing the most appropriate component? Gone are the days of the design engineer thumbing through their dog-eared component data book, jotting down a part number on a paper parts list, and throwing that parts list over the wall to Purchasing for the first production run.
Not only are the components chosen to fulfill the necessary technical requirements, but the designer must also consider the price, availability and lead time, as well as the requirements of that component during the assembly and testing phases. Choosing the wrong component can be costly, not just in terms of the final unit price, it can also impact the product delivery schedule or even the ultimate success or failure of the product in the market.
While the highly compressed design/test/manufacture product development cycle means the designer has very little room for error as they select the components, the tightly enmeshed nature of the component information stream - from the manufacturer, to the supplier, to the search aggregation portal, means that accurate component-choice information can be placed right on the designer's screen, as she scrolls through a list of potential components. Altium recognizes the critical role that component selection plays in the design process and develops software technologies, products and teams that help deliver easy-to-use, detailed and accurate component data and component selection systems, directly into the designer's workspace.
In the design process, the project BOM is one of the first documents created, as the key components are costed for the initial project pricing estimate, and it is one of the last documents to be finalized as the project is handed over for fabrication, assembly and test. And that BOM is much more than a list of the electronic components fitted to the board - it must also detail every screw, standoff, sticker, heatsink, and tube of glue required to finish the sub-assembly that the PCB becomes a part of.
ActiveBOM is a powerful Bill of Materials management editor that combines comprehensive BOM management tools with Altium's powerful part-information aggregation technologies, helping you manage the component selection challenge.
Ultimately, every single part used in the design must have detailed supply chain information. In the past, designers had to add this information into each component during library creation or design capture or post-process their design BOM to add the supply chain details in later. ActiveBOM removes this constraint - the designer can now add supply chain information to the components at any time during the design cycle, entering it directly into the BOM instead of the schematic components, if they choose.
This ability to inject supply chain details directly into the BOM changes the role of the BOM document in the PCB project. No longer a simple output file, ActiveBOM raises the component management process to sit alongside the schematic capture and PCB design processes, where ActiveBOM's BomDoc becomes the source of all Bill Of Materials data for the PCB project, for all BOM-type outputs. ActiveBOM is now the recommended approach to BOM management.
As well as the components placed in the schematic, additional components and BOM-specific data can be added directly in ActiveBOM, for example; yet-to-be-detailed parts, fasteners, the blank board, or the mounting glue. Custom columns can also be added, including a specific Line number column, which supports both auto and manual numbering, with full copy/paste support.
Refer to the following pages to learn more about ActiveBOM: