How to Reduce PCB Cost with Unified Design Software
Reducing design costs takes more than just reducing your upfront costs for design software. The old saying goes that you get what you pay for. Working with the best PCB design software package gives you the tools you need to maximize your design productivity and validate your designs. When it’s time to manufacture your boards, working with the best design software will help you generate all the information your manufacturer needs to source your components and prevent fabrication delays or re-runs.
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A PCB design software package that can help you maximize your design productivity.
Who hasn’t looked at their bank account and wondered where all the money went? Something as complex as printed circuit design and manufacturing is difficult to budget, but no one wants to see their time (and money) wasted on redesigns and failed manufacturing runs. If you want to ensure that your next design project will be a success, then there are several strategies and tools you can use to reduce your costs along the way.
People often talk about things like design rules, panelization, component management tools, and supplier information databases as ways to reduce design and fabrication costs. But without the right PCB design software that integrates these tools into a single interface, you’ll still lose productivity and put yourself at risk of a failed manufacturing run or an entire redesign. Using the right design strategy and the best design tools is the best way to reduce PCB costs.
While many PCB design software platforms have similar capabilities, they also have different effects on design productivity. Reducing your design time and preventing redesigns will account for the lion’s share of cost reduction. Implementing any cost reduction strategy requires the right design tools, and a great PCB design software package can help you reduce your costs as low as possible.
Once it comes time to manufacture your board, your design software should give you tools to implement the right component and supplier information management strategy to ensure you can source the parts you need without breaking the bank. Given the tradeoff that can occur between availability and cost, up-to-date supplier information can help you find the right components while helping you stick to your budget.
How Design Software Affects Costs
With so many costs to consider at every turn of the design process, designers need a powerful PCB design platform that helps them maximize productivity and optimize their designs for reduced costs. A great printed circuit board design software package can help you reduce design time and reducing manufacturing costs while still ensuring your PCB meets the quality and functional standards required for your application.
- Who wants to search the internet for component data sheets all day? Save yourself the headache with an integrated component library.
See how an integrated component library can improve productivity.
- When you have access to supply chain information, you can determine the best tradeoffs between immediate sourcing and minimized costs.
See how access to supply chain information can help you design to cost.
- Although component placement may seem elementary, proper component arrangement in your PCB layout can affect manufacturing and assembly costs.
Learn how component placement can help you reduce manufacturing costs.
PCB layout interface in Altium Designer
One of the quickest cost-additions for your circuit board comes when things - components, copper, a layer, or the even entire manufacturing process - don’t work as they should. Take vias, for example, with poor design software your circuit could end up having blind vias and buried vias ignored or improperly placed. PCB assembly is a tenuous process that ought have the care invested into it as any product.
If you’re looking to reduce the cost of your PCBs, the best place to start is during the design phase. Working with an excellent PCB design software package gives you the ability to add features to your layout that obey pre-defined or customized design rules. Once you have finished laying out your PCB, you’ll need to check your layout against your design rules. Simulation and analysis tools can also help you diagnose critical problems that affect the functionality of your PCB.
Prevent Redesigns and Increased Costs With Design Rule Checking
Working with PCB design software that includes design rule checking features is a great way to ensure you won’t lose productivity while designing. Rules checking features also help you prevent costly redesigns. Your PCB designer software should show you any design errors in an intuitive dialog, and you need to capabilities to check against rules individually or in batches.
- Your design rules are key to helping you avoid catastrophe. With industry standard and customizable design rules, you can be sure that your PCB will as designed.
Learn more about defining design rules and error checking.
- If you need to cut design costs, then you need to implement design practices that improve your team’s productivity.
Learn more about reducing costs by improving productivity.
- In addition to improving design productivity, designing to cost is an important technique if you are working under tight budget constraints.
Learn more about Design to Cost techniques.
The ActiveBOM module in Altium Designer
You might design your PCB so that it perfectly conforms with the design rules required for your application, but you should also make sure that your board is manufacturable. No one wants to send an order to a fabricator, just to be told that your design cannot be manufacturable. Obviously, you should consult your manufacturer regarding their fabrication capabilities, but there are a number of ways your design software can prevent cost overruns.
Using design software with the best component management tools will help you identify the best components to use in your boards, as well as suitable replacement components. Your design software should give you access to component supplier information, ensuring that your boards can be fabricated and delivered on time and on budget.
Generate Your Manufacturer Deliverables in Altium Designer
Your manufacturer needs the right information when they receive your fabrication order. Only Altium Designer integrates supplier sourcing information, bill of materials generation, and Gerber file generation tools in a single unified interface. You can rest assured that your manufacturer will have thorough, up to date, and accurate information that will help them fabricate your board correctly.
- Altium Designer makes it easy to build your bill of materials. This is a sure fire way to reduce fabrication delays and ensure your fabricator has the information they need to manufacture your board correctly.
Learn more about the ActiveBOM tool in Altium Designer.
- Altium Designer links you directly to component sourcing information. You can include alternative parts and supplier information in your bill of materials.
Learn more about sourcing supplier information in Altium Designer.
- When you move to fabrication, you’ll need to generate Gerber files for your PCB. Altium Designer includes a Gerber file generation tool that is IPC 2581 compliant.
Learn more about building your Gerber files in Altium Designer.
If your PCB design process is being hampered by lost productivity, cost overruns, and failed fabrication runs, you need to work with the best PCB design software platform. Only Altium Designer contains all the tools you need in a single package. You’ll be able to move from conception to fabrication with unparalleled accuracy when you work with Altium Designer.
Altium Designer is more than just a design and fabrication tools. It also includes important analysis and simulation features that will help you ensure that your PCB fabrication will meet your technical requirements. You’ll have full customization capabilities that allow you to fine-tune every aspect of your printed circuit board. You’ll have access to the best design, routing, rules checking, simulation tools, and fabrication tools, and all within a single design environment.