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Production, fabrication, and manufacturing can all be difficult constraints for any designer. With the right software guiding you along the way, though, you can rest assured your designs make it through to production with ease and security.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
Never letting a PCB fall through the cracks of laziness or lack of concern.
Consumer and Industry-driven change continuously ripples through PCB design. Wearable technologies that require rigid-flex PCBs have become part of the normal day-to-day conversation. New applications rely on high-density, multilayer designs that support multiple functions. In addition, the demand for smaller device footprints calls for improved power distribution for small, high-power PCBs. With change as a constant for PCB designs, EDA software manufacturers continue to seek methods for improving the design environment.
Altium Designer provides multiple high-performance tools within a unified design environment that can handle any new challenges for PDB layouts. The high-performance tools remove restrictions on pin-counts, nets, and functionality that can hold design teams back from expressing design creativity. In addition, Altium Designer offers a complete 3D design environment that merges ECAD and MCAD functionality. The unified design environment provides schematic editing, PCB layout, routing tools, design rule checking, circuit analysis, and output files under one software umbrella and supports design teams with training resources.
Altium Designer supports component selection with extensive libraries that include component specifications as well as layout information. With the Central Components Panel, members of your design team can perform rapid parts searches of all the components listed in your libraries. In addition, pre- and post-filtering allowing your team to filter the search results by type, packaging, and values.
While the optimized component panel and part search functionality found in Altium Designer 19 eases the process of locating the right parts either through library or supply chain information, other functions refine the process. As an example, the new Unified Component Editor allows your team to search and reuse symbols, footprints, and parameters from Octopart. Altium’s Symbol Wizard, IPC Compliant Footprint Wizard, and automatic part search improve your team’s search capabilities.
Enhanced PCB materials libraries build on this precise approach by allowing designers to use materials data when generating accurate impedance-controlled routing profiles and layer stack definitions. Having the capability to calculate single-ended and differential impedance profiles allows design teams to define trace widths and spacings for target impedances. With those definitions in place, you can use interactive routing to automatically select the correct widths and gaps during routing.
Each of these routing tools allows the faster setup of high-speed impedance controlled routing rules. In addition, Altium Designer utilizes Glossing, Coupling, and Pad Entry to improve the quality of routes and achieve clean results on the first pass. Auto-Re-route keeps pad entries and connections remain in place while dragging components to new locations.
Altium Designer 19 utilizes 3D multi-board technologies that combine the best features of a highly functional MCAD system with support for rigid-flex designs. Because Altium Designer includes Multi-Board MCAD Export tools, design teams can model and clearance check entire assemblies before exporting the design to the MCAD system. Rigid-Flex Multi-Board Modeling improves first-time fits and signal management for Flex and fully folded Rigid-Flex boards by displaying the interconnections of Flex and fully-folded Rigid-Flex boards.
The combination of MCAD and rigid-flex design tools renders the electrical and physical connections of multiple child PCB designs as geometric solids. With the use of Any-Angle Sectional Views, design teams can easily visualize folded multi-board and rigid-flex designs with cross-sectional views of the assemblies. Altium’s Object Smart Mates establish consistent links between objects in three dimensions and provide the rapid alignment of objects and boards to each other or other 3D models in the assembly.
Because all multi-board design processes occur in a unified environment, design teams can treat the entire system design as a multi-board project. Within the system design method, each child board associates with a module. Each module references a specific PCB project and the board within the project while connecting to other modules as part of a multi-board schematic. With the connectivity information in place, the software can import the child connectivity data into the overall system design.
Virtual wires establish connectivity between the child modules. Members of the design team can use the Active Bar in the editor to place the module in the workplace and use object placement commands to obtain the necessary functionality. As an example, a design team can populate modules using data from linked PCB project designs. Altium Designer also allows a design team to automate the placement of edge connectors, plugs, sockets, pins, and signal names for the multi-board design. While Altium Designer allows multiple signal names, it also provides design rule checks for verifying the operation of signal paths by checking assignment and interconnection errors.
Get your Gerber done right
Designing high-density stackups often depends on using Every Layer Interconnection (ELIC) to reduce or eliminate mechanical holes, maintaining uniform traces, minimizing line widths, and achieving the precise layout of components such as dense Ball Grid Arrays and fine-pitched BGAs. With the definition of HDI structures, microvias, SkipVias, and stacked microvias, Altium Designer can perform HDI layouts with microvias, via-in-pad, and laser drilled structures. As a result, the use of Altium Designer allows teams to to save space, accommodate higher input/output densities, and maintain signal and power integrity.
Altium Designer’s use of 2D and 3D visual representation of all via structures provides an efficient method for improving signal integrity. Design teams can apply the visual representations to move ground and power planes closer to surface parts and reducing plane perforations. In addition, teams can determine methods for reducing resistance in the circuit path and for using larger copper areas to feed AC and DC currents to circuit power pins. With the capability to visualize HDI designs, teams can accurately plan HDI boards to achieve Direct to Manufacturability. The visual feedback also gives teams the capability to precise control lamination, plating, and drilling cycle
Altium’s Draftsman® gives your team the capability to directly place all necessary assembly and manufacturing views with the actual source data. Having this advantage allows your team to generate fabrication and assembly drawings that easily update to match source data. Another key innovation—Unlimited Mechanical Layers—allows your design team to add any amount of drawings, documentation, tables, notes, and non-electrical design data on the mechanical layers.
Altium Designer offers the advantage of speed with Conductive Ink Technologies. With the use of additive printed conductive and insulating inks, Altium enables conductive ink printed circuits design and routing. Your design team can use Altium Designer to automatically generate multiple insulating and conductive ink layers to build your design prototype.
Don’t settle for libraries that don’t give you the information you need
Any board house PCB placement can be improved with the right PCB design software. Whether you’re still in the circuit board design stages, or you’re looking to make your printed circuit through board fabrication or beginning a PCB prototype, strong design rules will help. Trusting your fab house and their drill bits to solder correctly during PCB fabrication is one layer, but trusting your design software to get everything right is another.
You and your design team can seamlessly connect your PCB design with other designers, component distributors, the supply chain, manufacturers, and stakeholders through the cloud-based Altium 365. The integration of Altium 365 and Altium Designer 19 allows designers to share working schematics and 3D board designs with manufacturers. Establishing direct collaboration speeds the design to prototype to product process by allowing manufacturers to comment and markup designs in real-time. Your design partners and design teams can manage libraries, designs, and product licenses through any device.