Building the Best PCBs With Unified PCB Design Software
With so many options for electronics design packages on the market, it can be difficult to weigh your options and choose the product that’s right for you. Many companies continue to use an outdated design model that separates critical features into different platforms and enforces inconsistent workflow. Instead, placing all of these tools in a single environment prevents data errors that plague other programs and allows you to access critical design, verification, and deliverable generation tools in a single interface. Altium Designer is the only design suite that gives you a single, unified design environment.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A fully unified PCB design package with the best design, simulation, and analysis tools.
Your next PCB could be used in anything from a fancy microwave to a portion of a complex industrial system. With so many different applications for PCBs, a great PCB design software package is the best tool you have to increase productivity and help you work within standard design guidelines. Your design software should be adaptable to any device for any application and help guide you through the design process.
Freemium and freeware PCB design software aren’t equipped to help you create modern PCBs. These programs might be just fine for a hobbyist, but they lack critical functionality and adaptability. You’ll soon find that you need to cobble together multiple design programs because no single freemium or freeware program offers you all of the functionality you need in a single package.
If you’re trying to take advantage of features that are separated into multiple programs, you’ll be disappointed when you find that data and file formats are incompatible, and you’ll most likely be unable to send data between programs. Instead, make the investment in a program that integrates all your important design features in a single interface.
Your PCB designing software should contain basic CAD, schematic capture, and library management tools. More advanced PCBs take more advanced features, like automated routing, simulation and analysis, and collaboration tools. If these tools are designed to work together, they shouldn’t be separated into different programs. Your features need to operate within a single interface on a single design engine.
The underlying design engine in your PCB design software makes all the difference when navigating multiple design features. Your software should include standard design rules for any PCB and allow you to customize new design rules for your particular application. A powerful design engine that links your tools together into a single platform and enforces consistent communication is key to improving your design productivity.
Your PCB Design Features Should Improve Productivity
Whether you’re a new PCB designer or you’ve been active in the industry for many years, your new PCB design software platform should place all of your design features in a single interface. You shouldn’t have to buy buying basic features as addons that are confined in separate programs. Instead, you can focus on designing to your exact technical specifications when all your design, analysis, and verification tools are integrated in a single platform.
The best PCB design software helps you build the latest and greatest PCBs for any application. When your critical design features are integrated into a single interface, you’ll save time and energy navigating between features. The best design software builds these features into a single interface with consistent workflow, making it easy for your tools to access design data and provide critical functionality.
- You need the latest and greatest CAD tools to build PCBs with the best functionality. Your PCB design tools should help improve your productivity and add powerful functionality to your PCBs.Learn more about the role of CAD software in modern PCB design.
- A low price tag for your software does not necessarily translate into high value. You’ll need to determine the tradeoff between cheap design software, access to features, and productivity.Learn more about the real cost of sub-standard design software.
- There may be times where you find that your board is unroutable, or your components do not fit neatly throughout your board. See how simple design choices can help you create a board that meets your design requirements.Learn how design choices can help you solve difficult layout challenges.
Defining routing rules and the 3D design view in Altium Designer
Designing modern PCBs requires completing a number of design tasks. Most newer PCBs are really multilayer boards that require vias to access the inner layers. If you’re working with components that have high pin count, you’ll need to route multiple signals within a net and maintain the proper clearance. If you’re working with differential signalling, you’ll need to ensure that traces in each pair and in your nets are length matched in order to prevent skew.
Your CAD software plays a major role in determining your productivity when working on these design tasks. If you’re working with large numbers of components, high trace density, and multilayer boards, you’ll need routing and layer stack management tools that interface with each other. Other CAD programs leave you to perform these functions manually, and these tools do not interface with each other. Design software that is built in a unified environment makes it easy to complete complex routing tasks without undue repetition.
Your Design Tools Are What Make You Productive
Given the complex tasks that are involved in building industry-standard PCBs, your design tools play a major role in improving your productivity. Other companies create advanced layout tools and separate them into different programs. Instead, working in an integrated design environment gives you access to the advanced design tools you need to build the best PCBs in a single program that runs on a single rules-driven design engine.
Advanced designs require advanced verification tools. You’ll want to do everything you can to verify signal integrity and ensure your design meets basic design rules before you send your design off for production. There are plenty of simulation programs out there, but software that integrates all these tools into a single, unified environment makes it easy to check your layout and signal integrity against important design rules. When your design software is built on a rules-driven design engine, you can rest assured that your device will meet standard operating requirements.
- Your routing tools should do more than just place traces on a board. Your routing tools should make it easy to work with advanced components with high trace and pin density.Learn more about pin, part, and pair swapping during PCB layout.
- Keeping track of each aspect of your design is easier when your design tools use net ties to help you manage your layout.
- PCBs are becoming more complex every day, and the device you bring to market will likely require a multilayer board. You’ll need the right management tools to create the best layer stack for your application.
Multiple schematic view and design in Altium Designer
Design software that integrates multiple design features into a single platform is the new paradigm in PCB design. Your design tools are included in a single program, and each design tool is built on top of a single rules-driven design engine. Critical PCB design processes can be accessed easily, and you can add-on additional features that are entirely accessible within one program.
When trying to get your circuit board through layout software at a professional level, you don’t want to be constantly double-checking circuit after circuit between windows. Engineers ought find a design rule check they can trust with their circuit design process, a rule check that incorporates circuit parts and PCB footprints with a learning curve that feels intuitive for your printed circuit needs.
Other PCB design packages cannot offer this level of adaptability, reliability, or accessibility. Other design software packages separate your design tools into different interfaces. This forces you to switch between design modules and is the leading cause of data format errors that plague other design platforms. Consistent communication between all design tools is only possible when your tools are placed in a single unified design environment.
The Unified Environment in Altium Designer
Only Altium Designer beautifully weaves all of these critical design and deliverable generation tools together into a single, intuitive software platform. Other tools force you to move between separate design tools, despite claims of unification. Instead of cobbling together multiple programs that claim to offer consistent workflow, try working with the only software that gives you access to all the design tools you need in a single design platform.
Once you’re ready to start planning for manufacturing, you’ll need to use your design data to generate specific deliverables for your manufacturer. The best PCB design software places these features in a single interface. Online and free design tools for bills of materials, Gerber files, and other deliverables require that you export and import your design between programs. This hampers your workflow and creates the potential for errors, and your tools may not even be able to share data.
- Working in a unified PCB design environment means that all of your tools are present in a single interface. You won’t need to use any external programs when building your next PCB.
- All of the features in Altium Designer are built on a single rules-driven design engine. This engine keeps your productivity high and helps you design while meeting standard design requirements.See how design rules improve your workflow in Altium Designer.
- There’s no reason to use external programs to generate deliverables for your manufacturer. Altium Designer includes the tools you need to compile a complete documentation package for your manufacturer.Learn more about generating deliverables in Altium Designer.
If you’re looking for design software with the best tools engineered for PCB design, then you need to use Altium Designer. Only Altium Designer gives you access to industry standard PCB design tools, and all within a single environment. Other design tools claim to offer unified design, but none of them integrate your design tools under one roof.
Altium has 30 years of experience dedicated to PCB design software and has set a new standard. Integrated design is a new paradigm that may seem unfamiliar. Luckily, Altium Designer gives you access to the resources you need to be successful. You’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, webinars and podcasts from industry experts,guidebooks, and a knowledge base with many useful examples.
The best PCB design software contains tools that are engineered to work together as a single, complete platform. Creating accurate schematics and layouts for your PCB takes the CAD tools found in a great PCB design software package like Altium Designer. All the design, verification, and analysis features in Altium Designer are built for compatibility and are integrated in a single design environment. It’s time to invest in the best PCB design software: try Altium Designer.