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A circuit board template can be used throughout your design months and years in order to ensure consistency between designs.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
Guaranteed to ensure your circuit board arrives at production in tip-top shape.
Having the ability to reuse resources saves time and costs. Many design teams use project templates—previously created designs—to reduce the amount of work needed to design similar PCBs. Rather than generating a single-use design through PCB layout, sourcing parts, and establishing nets, teams can utilize all or part of a previous design to meet the specific requirements of a new design. Project templates allow your design team to store and reuse components, modules, and complete designs. The template includes detailed historical data and information and tracking and revision information.
Altium Designer supports project templates through its unified design environment. Design teams, engineers, or other teams—no matter the location—can view or download the project template and any associated files from a single location. In addition, any member of the team can access up-to-date revision information and check the accessibility status of the template.
Storing files as a project template provides easier access to designs and promotes design reuse. Single-use designs store all files in a project directory that allows access to all project files from a single location. Finding components or schematic sheets depends on knowing the project name. Altium Designer uses a template directory structure that displays all actual files while providing access control.
Altium Designer also applies automated naming to the documents contained within a project template. When a design team uses the template for a new project, the software creates a new name for project documents within the newly created project.
Altium Designer allows your team to create and manage Project Template Items directly within a locally managed content server. Managed Project Templates consist of the common document and files types, reference documentation, and configuration files used for the project. Creating the Project Template Item and designating the lifecycle state as ready for use at the design level allows other teams or organizations to reuse the template for future design projects.
When organizations use an Altium NEXUS Server as the managed content server, a design team has an additional option of using Environment Configurations to constrain the working environment. This capability becomes significant when limiting the template to company-ratified design elements.
Altium’s administrative structure sets up the directory structure for project templates that keep the templates and any history files, revisions, code, and other information organized. The system uses two methods to classify and store information. With one method, the templates store as individual components or sheets that include modules, schematics, or PCBs. The other method stores the templates as complete designs that encompass all the components, schematic, and the PCB. With this structure in place, design teams can view or download all the information by accessing the template.
The directory structure allows options for specifying the folder types and item names. Specific folder types provide a visual indicator of the content contained in the folder. Altium’s Item Naming Scheme defines a format of the unique ID for each item created in a particular older. With the selection of a default naming scheme, Altium Designer saves time by automatically assigning the next available unique ID for the created item.
Use Altium Designer to properly manage your output files
Altium Designer can store project templates in local libraries. However, storing the files in the cloud-based Altium Content Vault provides several advantages. Using the Vault establishes centralized storage accessible from any location at any time. The combination of Altium Designer and the Altium Content Vault also institutes the structured administrative control architecture that responds to security and access control requirements.
Storing Altium Designer project templates in the Vault also makes the templates available for reuse in other design projects. The templates store in the Altium Designer file format and include reference documentation and configuration files. A design team can release an existing Altium Designer project to the vault. All design documents and any objects or content contained within the design documents along with other files held in the host folder of the project become source files for the template.
Editing the template configuration and content at a later date refines the files, content, and settings for the desired template. With this approach, the desired template includes common project files, output documentation, design rules, parameters, unit settings, project options, document title blocks, grid settings, and other information. Altium’s approach to releasing and editing the Altium Designer project provides the level of detail needed to ensure productive reuse of the template by other teams.
Other options for releasing a project as a template to the vault include creating a dedicated project with the configuration and content arranged as a project template. Teams may also choose to create a Project Template Item in the Vault and then edit the Item in Altium Designer to add content and set the project configuration.
The Vault hosts project templates as lifecycle-managed revisions of a Project Template Item. Using the life-cycle management establishes administrative control for the availability of the template and access by users or design teams. Because the Vault uses its Environment Configuration service to manage the templates, it assigns specific project templates to defined user groups. As a result, the Vault constrains the Altium Designer work environment to approved templates. Members of a design team can apply Managed Project Templates by creating a new project in Altium Designer or by adding a new project through the Vault web interface.
Design teams can create an initial design item, save the item as a project template, and then release the template for use by other teams. Altium Designer facilitates this design reuse through releasing the project with no edits or through direct editing from Altium Designer. Editing the project template from Altium Designer requires the release of a revision that contains the changes. When working from a managed server, your team can edit the desired project item, use the software to rename the file, and release the item.
Teams can also choose to download a revision of the project template item from a managed server and add the files to a specific project. If edits occur, the team uploads the revised item to the library and releases the template for use. Altium Designer shows a history of each template component, sheet, or design for each project template.
Ensure that you can follow your circuit board no matter where production demands take it
With all the complexities of PCB Design, organizations continue to seek methods for improving productivity. While “design reuse” has become an industry catch-phrase, Altium demonstrates that design reuse is real through project templates. With Altium’s assistance, the development of project templates has become easier. Whether using managed servers or the Altium Content Vault, project templates have become more detailed and more secure. With Altium’s project template techniques, organizations gain the advantages of functionality and an advanced administrative structure. Altium’s unified environment allows team members working from any location to transfer reference and documentation from template to project.