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    Omnisys harnesses the power of Altium Vault’s release management system... which has paved the way to adopting the Vault’s robust and life-cycled component management system.


    Omnisys Instruments specialises in the development and production of complex, high-performance hardware products for the space industry, and for other specialised scientific instrument applications including ground based antennas and radiometers.

    Since 1993, Omnisys has been engaged in the sequential development of several major projects for Europe’s scientific and space industry, ranging from ultra-reliable satellite power supply systems to autocorrelation spectrometers and most recently, water vapour radiometers for the ALMA telescope in Chile. These complex designs incorporate advanced analog, microwave and RF, as well as ASIC, embedded software and power electronics. This demands exceptional capabilities from Omnisys engineers and the design tools they use.

    In becoming an established Swedish space SME, and building a reputation for excellence in their field, Omnisys use a range of advanced tools, including Altium Designer and Altium Vault, for their electronic design needs.

    “The STEAMR back end is a four channel, wide band digital spectrometer designed for space applications. It processes 12GHz bandwidth ranging from 3,6-15,6GHz. The key component is the Omnisys full custom autocorrelator spectrometer chip. Each spectrometer channel utilizes two correlator chips, processing 6GHz bandwidth. Surrounding the chips is various support circuits for frequency down conversion, monitoring and biasing.”

    Omnisys & Altium

    Omnisys has had a long history using Altium products, starting back in 1993 with Protel, and upgrading all the way to today’s Altium Designer 2013. They were also early adopters of Altium’s Vault technology, seeing the great potential it offered.

    When designing for space, in particular, the normal constraints found in electronics design are amplified by the extreme conditions found beyond Earth’s atmosphere. This requires careful component selection and rigorous testing of designs to ensure high reliability after deployment. Critical to this, is a high level of accuracy between the design and the output files for production, and this is something the vault handles very well.

    Working with the Vault

    Item revisions for components in the Vault, ensure that every time a part is placed on a board it maintains its’ identity and origin. The mission critical nature of Omnisys product development meant that Altium Designer’s Vault based board release management system was a perfect fit.

    We spoke to Omnisys’ Mattias Ericson, on the successful deployment of Altium Vault as their component management system. Since adopting the Vault, they have enjoyed greater confidence in knowing their design models are life-cycled and using the ‘Where-used’ feature has allowed them to monitor the use of item revisions more easily. This in turn, has sped up the overall design process, and especially helps with making late changes more efficiently and with greater confidence. The pain of testing and deploying last minute design fixes is greatly alleviated.

    Another big advantage in switching to the Vault over their previous system, is in the management of the system itself. While Mattias was happy with earlier Altium component management solutions; SVN and DBLibs, the Vault has become an even smoother system to manage. With a team of 20+ engineers, the Vault can be managed as easily by one individual as it can with multiple members of the team.

    Lifecycle Management provides engineers at Omnisys with the freedom and flexibility they need to add parts directly to the Vault and once approved, use them knowing that they are designing right, the first time. This level of system-level control not only saves valuable design time but also directly contributes to the overall cost of the project.

    Looking Ahead

    With eager anticipation, Omnisys looks forward to the coming updates and improvements to Altium’s Vault technology, as they will form the final pieces to what will be a complete and robust data management system, a system that will empower their Altium Designer users with the most advanced feature set for managing design content - from concept to production. With tighter integration between component and release management, parametric search, supply chain intelligence and ActiveBOM. The stage is now set for the true realization of ‘smart’ data management.

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