• Altium Customer Success
  • Advancing Deep Sea Exploration With Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Newgrange Design

Customer Success Stories

Advancing Deep Sea Exploration With Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Newgrange Design

“Altium has provided this solid platform that is able to predictably and reliably produce the files that our customers need, and we have yet to encounter a board that we felt we couldn’t design.”

Matt Leary
President and Founder
Newgrange Design

  • Altium 365 has been proven to save 159 hours per engineer in year 1 of adoption (Learn More). This success story reveals some of the time-saving capabilities that Newgrange Design and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution benefitted from by using Altium 365. 

  • Newgrange Design struggled with time-consuming methods of onboarding clients’ design data and reviewing projects. Altium 365 helped this organization save time with flexible access to projects from a browser or Altium Designer, and commenting capabilities. 

  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution spent considerable time building and maintaining component libraries. Altium 365 helped this organization simplify their component creation process with a centralized cloud library and real-time supply chain data.

The ocean is a vast expanse, covering over 70% of the Earth's surface, and its health has a direct impact on global climates and the planet’s ecosystems. Yet the challenges of accessing and exploring this underwater frontier are immense. Recognizing the critical role of robotics in this area, two organizations teamed up with a shared vision of advancing oceanographic exploration–Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Newgrange Design. 

Newgrange Design is a PCB design service bureau with 25 years of experience designing electronics for a variety of fields. WHOI is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, technology, and education.

Bridging the Underwater Communication Divide

Under the surface of the ocean, traditional means of communication falter. The fundamental challenge faced by WHOI stemmed from a simple yet profound limitation: radio waves, the backbone of surface communication, cannot propagate through water. To address this, the team at WHOI was tasked with designing an underwater acoustic modem. This modem would utilize sound waves, rather than radio waves, to pinpoint the location of their robotic vehicles, while also facilitating the transmission of commands and statuses. 
To design their modem, WHOI partnered with Newgrange Design for their proven expertise in PCB design technologies. By using Altium Designer, the teams were able to collaborate on the design of a 16-layer PCB featuring blind and buried vias and densely packed components on the top and bottom layers of the board.

Streamlining Collaboration: The Altium 365 Transformation

For Newgrange Design, a company accustomed to working with a variety of clients, the process of onboarding new projects and accessing designs was inefficient. Their previous reliance on using email for design reviews and manually importing/exporting design files created a significant bottleneck and risk of miscommunication. Manual management of design files also required meticulous organization and storage—a challenge that was both time-consuming and error-prone. 
To address these challenges, Newgrange Design embraced Altium 365—a cloud platform that brings together all aspects of electronics development in one place. This strategic adoption marked a shift in how Newgrange engaged with its clients. By being invited to a client’s Altium 365 Workspace, Newgrange was afforded access to all necessary design files in one location and was able to leverage several capabilities, including: 

  • Browser-based Access and Sharing - project files could be interacted with directly from a web browser, enabling Newgrange to review, measure, and cross-probe designs from any device, at any time.
  • Contextual Comments - allowed for meaningful, project-specific conversations to be held within the context of the design itself. Comments and feedback were digitally anchored within relevant design assets, ensuring that no insight was ever lost or misplaced.
  • Project History - by committing project updates within a version-controlled space, Newgrange was able to access and review a complete history of changes introduced with each design iteration.

“[Altium 365] enables a lot faster communication and a lot faster file transfer. It also allows us access into [our client’s] Workspace so we can commit changes directly to them, we can pass comments back and forth, and really understand the details of what they’re trying to relay to us. Way easier than previously through email or other methods of file transfer.”

Lauren Waslick
Director of PCB Design
Newgrange Design

Easing the Burden of Library Management With Altium 365 

WHOI’s Senior Engineer, Jim Partan, faced a persistent challenge on every project–the organization and maintenance of the team's design data and libraries required a considerable amount of his time. This issue was further complicated by the lack of a unified approach to library management. As Jim states, “Even within our immediate group we all don’t use the same library method.” 

With the team’s productivity at stake, Newgrange Design introduced WHOI to Altium 365's library management capabilities, coupled with real-time supply chain data. Altium 365 can streamline WHOI’s library management process, ensuring that both teams are able to work from a single source of design data and libraries while using a consistent method for managing components. This will allow Jim Partan to simplify his previously time-consuming workflow with these Altium 365 capabilities:  

  • Cloud Libraries - WHOI engineers will be able to manage their components in one secure location and ensure that everyone working on a design is using the same set of validated components.
  • Managed Components - which standardized the team’s component creation process, ensuring that required parameters were populated. “Where-Used” functionally also allowed team members to quickly locate every design project where a particular component was used.
  • Up-to-date Supply Chain Data - leveraging data from Octopart and IHS Markit, Altium 365 offers data from 300+ distributors on over a billion parts. This allowed WHOI and Newgrange to make intelligent design decisions based on the latest price and availability data, manufacturer lifecycles, production risk alerts, and alternatives for the parts in their library.

“The Managed Libraries through Altium 365 have so many benefits. Components are up to date. There are no errors, they are in stock, and they can verify a lot of information. It can really pay off in the end when you can manage your components correctly from the development of the database all the way through purchasing.”

Lauren Waslick
Director of PCB Design
Newgrange Design

Charting New Depths in Collaboration and Efficiency

For Newgrange Design, the adoption of Altium 365 marked a significant leap forward in how the team onboards and collaborates on their client’s design data. Altium 365 enabled a level of efficiency and collaboration that was thought to be previously unattainable. As Matt Leary, President and Founder of Newgrange Design, puts it, “From experience, it is a game changer as an organization and to work with organizations that are taking advantage of [Altium 365].”

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