Preparing Siemens NX for CoDesign

Created: March 8, 2022 | Updated: May 31, 2022

Parent page: Installing & Configuring Altium CoDesigner

  • Altium CoDesigner for Siemens® NX™ is only available for designers with an Altium NEXUS subscription.
  • Altium CoDesigner for Siemens NX is currently in Beta. Contact the Altium NEXUS team if you are interested in becoming a CoDesigner for Siemens NX Beta tester.
  • At this stage, the beta version does not support:
    • Change preview
    • MCAD component placement
    • Advanced copper geometry
    • Flex and rigid-flex PCBs
    • ECAD Origin representation in MCAD
    • The ability to create the Altium PCB on the MCAD side

Note that this version has not been tested with an MCAD PDM system (for example Siemens Teamcenter)

Altium CoDesigner is an interface for transferring printed circuit board designs between the ECAD and MCAD design domains. Once the CoDesigner add-in has been added to your MCAD software, CoDesigner can pass design changes back and forth. Design changes are passed through an Altium Workspace, which acts as a bridge between the ECAD and MCAD domains.

Check the version compatibility between your MCAD software and CoDesigner

To access the Altium CoDesigner panel in Siemens NX you must install an Add-In (Plugin), as detailed below. You can download the MCAD CoDesigner plugin from the Altium website download page.

Installing and Configuring CoDesigner in Siemens NX

To interface to and from Siemens® NX™, you need to install the Altium CoDesigner for Siemens NX Add-In. 

In Siemens NX, select the Altium CoDesigner Add-In to access the CoDesigner panel Install and enable the Add-In to access CoDesigner in your MCAD software.

To install the Add-In:

  1. Close Siemens NX before installing.
  2. Download and install the Siemens NX Add-In (AltiumCoDesignerSiemensNX_<VersionNo>.exe).
  3. Launch Siemens NX and confirm that the Add-In is installed and available in the Altium CoDesigner ribbon, as shown below.
  4. The CoDesigner Add-In adds the CoDesigner panel to Siemens NX. All collaboration activities are performed through this panel.

Displaying the CoDesigner Panel

The CoDesigner panel can be displayed/hidden using the button or menu entry CoDesigner is accessed through a Siemens NX panel.

In Siemens NX, the Altium CoDesigner panel can be enabled by clicking the CoDesigner button, as shown above.

Connecting to your NEXUS Workspace from Siemens NX

Siemens NX collaborates with your Altium design software through a Workspace, which you must sign in to the first time you use it.

When you are not signed in, the Altium CoDesigner Tab will include sign-in fields, as shown below. There are two sign-in modes, one for signing into an Altium 365 NEXUS Workspace, the other for signing in to an on-site NEXUS Server Workspace.

Connecting to an Altium 365 NEXUS Workspace

The first step is to sign in to your Workspace, using the sign in fields in the Altium CoDesigner panel Signing in to an Altium 365 Workspace.

  1. Select the Altium Account option in the Altium CoDesigner panel.
  2. Enter the email address you use to sign in to Altium Live as your Email, and your Altium Live Password.
  3. Enable the Remember Me option to retain the details (including the password) and automatically connect to your workspace (through the Altium 365 platform) each time Siemens NX is started.
  4. Click the Sign In button to connect.

Multiple Workspaces are supported - open the CoDesigner menu and select the required Workspace.

Menu used to select the active workspace, to change to a custom server, or sign out

Connecting to a NEXUS Server Workspace

The first step is to sign in to your Workspace, using the sign in fields in the Altium CoDesigner panel Signing in to a NEXUS Server Workspace.

  1. Select the Custom Server option in the Altium CoDesigner panel.
  2. The first time you sign in you must specify the Server address (URL) to connect to your NEXUS Server Workspace. The address will be provided by your NEXUS Server administrator.
  3. Enter your User Name and Password, these will also be provided by the Server administrator.
  4. Enable the Remember Me option to retain the details (including the password) and automatically connect to your NEXUS Server Workspace each time Siemens NX is started.

Once you have signed in, you are ready to start collaborating through Altium CoDesigner.

Once you have signed in to your managed content server you can open an existing board, or create a new board assembly CoDesigner has been installed and is ready to use.

Notes: At this stage, the beta version of CoDesigner for Siemens NX does not support:

  • Change preview
  • MCAD component placement
  • Advanced copper geometry
  • Flex and rigid-flex PCBs
  • ECAD Origin representation in MCAD
  • The ability to create the Altium PCB on the MCAD side

These limitations will be addressed in an upcoming release.

Configuring the Siemens NX Collaboration Settings

Once you have signed in, CoDesigner settings can be configured in the Altium CoDesigner Settings dialog, opened via the Settings menu entry in the CoDesigner menu (show image).

Use the Altium CoDesigner Settings dialog to configure the CoDesigner options. Use the Altium CoDesigner Settings dialog to configure the CoDesigner options.

  • Common folder for storing models that are coming from ECAD - All component models created by CoDesigner are stored in this location, regardless of the project they belong to (note that the board part and board assembly are created by CoDesigner in the project folder specified during the initial pull into Siemens NX). If no location is specified, all component models will be created in the project folder and will be unavailable for reuse in other projects.
  • Ignore components smaller than <Value><Units> in height - smaller components can be excluded from the synchronization process. Configure this option to exclude components less than <Value><Units> when a Pull is performed. Note that the component height is defined in ECAD as a property of the component (footprint), it is not the height of the 3D model placed on the footprint.
    Learn more about configuring Siemens NX to ignore smaller components
  • Units System - units to be used for the board being Pulled from ECAD. This setting overrides the units being used in ECAD when the board was Pushed.
  • Participate in the product improvement program - enable this option to automatically share technical information with Altium about your use of CoDesigner.
    Learn more about the product improvement program

Working with Teamcenter PLM

Siemens Teamcenter PLM brings mechanical engineers together, allowing them to share their parts and their designs across the globe. CoDesigner supports Teamcenter PLM when performing operations with the PCB Assembly, the PCB Part, and the Components, in Siemens NX. PCB assemblies can be saved and opened from the Teamcenter interface directly in Siemens NX, as shown below. 

Model Storage

CoDesigner stores the 3D component models from each PCB that it pulls from ECAD in a one of two locations. The default is to save the component models into the same folder as the MCAD PCB assembly. Alternatively, you can configure a common component folder that CoDesigner uses for all component models from all PCB's pulled from ECAD. The advantage of this approach is that CoDesigner can share component models that are common across different PCB assemblies.

When Teamcenter PLM is being used, if there is no common component folder configured in the Altium CoDesigner Settings dialog (shown above), CoDesigner will create an \Altium_Components folder in the root of the Teamcenter repository to store the 3D components from all pulled PCB projects. If a Common folder for storing models from ECAD has been configured in the dialog, that location will be used instead.

CoDesigner now supports Siemens Teamcenter PLM.CoDesigner now supports Siemens Teamcenter PLM.

Where to Next?

Now that CoDesigner is installed in your MCAD software and connected to your Workspace, the next step is to configure the relevant Workspace settings.

Learn more about Configuring your Workspace Settings

 

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