How Integrated Design Tools Aid High-Density PCB Layout
With engineers packing more functionality and components onto PCBs, and with trace densities reaching record highs, designers need tools that help them keep up with this new way of looking at high-density PCB layout. The right design package that interfaces with a rules-driven design engine will help ensure that your PCB layout options will comply with the standard rules on high-density PCB layouts. With Altium Designer, you’ll have access to a PCB design suite that includes all the critical features you need in a single program with a unified rules-driven design engine.
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The only unified PCB design package with the industry’s best layout tools for multilayer HDI PCBs.
Everyday electronics are becoming faster, more capable, and include greater functionality than ever before. This trend can only be expected to continue, and shrinking the form factor of many devices even further or packing even more functionality on a single board requires new design techniques that are tailored to high-density PCB layout.
Enter high density interconnect (HDI) design techniques. This modern PCB design methodology is meant to allow designers to pack extremely dense trace and via routing into multilayer boards to support high data transfer rates in serial and parallel. HDI techniques are also meant to build connections between dense arrays of components on a single board, as well as components with high pin count and fine pitch.
Keeping up with new technology and design techniques means that designers need to rethink how they layout components, as well as design interconnects and vias in their boards. Thankfully, the right design software will contain tools that are adaptable to this design methodology, giving you the power to create ultra-modern HDI boards for any application.
When working with high pin count devices, such as modern FPGAs, trace routing into and out of these devices will start to decrease below the level allowed in normal PCBs. Not only must traces be packed at high density, but vias and other components must be made physically smaller to accommodate the high density of signal traces on a board.
HDI layout techniques aim to scale down the size of these critical routing features to accommodate small components and packages with high pin count. Traces are made physically smaller, they are routed closer together, and microvias are used to route signal nets through inner layers. This is where your design tools need to give you the freedom to define the right trace length, via type, and stackup for an HDI board.
High Density Routing and Your Layer Stack
Without the right stackup, your HDI board won’t go anywhere as you won’t have the freedom you need to route between signal layers. Whether you want to use a “1+N+1” or “i+N+i” stackup, you need design software that lets you manage your layer stack quickly and easily. HDI design design requires the geometry of traces and vias be extremely consistent throughout your board. Working with the right via design, stackup management, and interactive routing features will help you meet all of these demands in a single program.
- Creating the right layer stack will give you the flexibility you need to route dense signal nets around your board, access inner signal layers, and suppress EMI.Learn more about designing the right HDI stackup.
- Innovative via designs like ELIC, blind, and buried vias are critical for routing between layers in an HDI PCB.See how you can design blind and buried vias in Altium Designer.
- Any designer that wants to create a high density PCB layout should understand microvia manufacturing processes and their limitations.Learn more about microvia manufacturing processes.
Designing an HDI PCB stackup in Altium Designer
Highly regulated, mission critical industries require electronics that are designed for high reliability and even near perpetual uptime. These electronics have also advanced alongside consumer electronics, and they might require implementing HDI design techniques to accommodate the required functionality and components.
HDI design in these industries must comply with important standards on quality, manufacturability, and reliability. In addition to providing the right design features for high density PCB layout, your design tools must include tools that help ensure your boards will comply with important standards in these applications.
Rules-Driven Design for Your High Density PCB Layout
The trace spacing, via sizing, component placement, and other design standards that govern HDI boards can all be implemented within your design tools when your software is built on a single rules-driven design engine. This is the best way to ensure your board is optimized and that your layout meets important standards on mission critical equipment.
A PCB design software platform built on a rules-driven design engine integrates your design standards directly into your PCB design and layout tools. Your design tools will automatically check your layout as you build your board, allowing you to pinpoint errors before you send your board off for manufacturing. This type of design software naturally lends itself to design for manufacturing, which is one of many important standards for military and aerospace applications.
- With manufacturability being an important concern in military and aerospace applications, your design software should generate consistent documentation for your manufacturer and assembler.Learn more about generating manufacturing documentation for HDI PCBs.
- Component sourcing is another critical area that is highly regulated, and you’ll need supply chain visibility tools to help you overcome these challenges.
- Whether your high density PCB layout will support communications equipment or is part of a larger embedded system, you’ll need to ensure your board meets important EMC standards.
Defining impedance calculations for impedance controlled routing in Altium Designer
If you’re a designer or engineer, your electronics design tools should provide the highest level of productivity and consistency. You’ll need routing, via design, stackup, manufacturing documentation, and supply chain tools to take your next HDI board from idea to finished product. Instead of working with design programs that place these important design tools into different programs, you need a single design program that unifies these tools on top of a single design engine.
Altium Designer Offers the Only Rules-Driven PCB Design Environment
The new standard in the PCB design industry is integrated design. This design methodology uses software tools that are unified on top of a single, rules-driven design engine. This enhances your productivity and allows you to define important standards as design rules within your software. You’ll never have to manually check your design and adjust your tools to satisfy important standards. Your tools will automatically check your high density PCB layout against your design rules, ensuring your board will meet important reliability, manufacturability, and quality standards.
- Microvia design is an important aspect in any high density PCB layout. Altium Designer gives you the tools you need to design microvias for your next HDI PCB.Learn more about microvia design in Altium Designer.
- The HDI design tools in Altium Designer are also adaptable to rigid-flex boards.Learn more about defining rigid-flex layer stacks in Altium Designer.
- You can easily adapt the design tools in Altium Designer to HDI design thanks to the underlying rules-driven design engine. You’ll be able to design your next high density PCB layout to exacting industry standards.See how Altium Designer can be easily adapted to HDI design.
If you need to implement high density PCB design techniques in your PCB, you need a design platform that unifies all the features you need in a single platform. Enter Altium Designer: the only truly unified PCB design platform. Instead of using separate PCB programs with outdated workflows, you need to work in a single environment with all the tools you need.
Altium will be there with the resources you need to successfully design HDI boards for any application. You’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, feature tutorials, an extensive knowledge base, podcasts and webinars with PCB design experts. You’ll have the tools and resources you need to remain on the cutting edge of PCB design techniques and technology with Altium Designer.
When you work with Altium Designer, you’ll never have to switch between multiple design programs. Instead, you’ll have access to your important design, simulation, verification, and documentation tools within a unified design package. Watch as your HDI designs come to life with Altium Designer.