Product Lifecycle Management Software for PCB Designs
If a product is ever manufactured and taken to market, it will inevitably have a finite lifecycle. Products are eventually upgraded to new versions and capabilities are added, or they become obsolete and replaced with completely new technology. In other cases only a portion of your electronic product becomes obsolete and needs to be updated in order to keep pace with your competitors.
Managing these aspects of the product lifecycle for electronics and the printed circuit boards that support them requires a suite of design and management tools. Only one software package can be found on the market that integrates industry-standard design capabilities with management features into a single program: Altium Designer. The revolutionary interface and design engine in Altium Designer allows you to turn any idea into a finished product and manage its lifecycle along the way.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A unified PCB design package with the best tools for designing PCBs and managing all aspects of the product lifecycle.
Product lifecycle management: it’s one of those business processes that is thrown around by industry types, but designers may not understand how it affects product design and product development for new electronics and the circuit boards that support them. Managing product design, development, manufacturing, and distribution are just one aspect of taking a new product to market. Once a new product hits the market and remains in demand, the supply chain and future manufacturing runs need to be managed in order to satisfy demand.
Managing the product lifecycle provides other benefits beyond decreasing time to market and keeping up with customer demand. Incorporating product lifecycle management into the design process helps decrease prototyping production costs and errors, reduce time to market, and hasten redesigns through reuse of existing design data. These benefits can be realized in a number of industries, they are not just limited to circuit boards and electronics.
When it comes to printed circuit board design and production, product lifecycle management provides these same benefits, but it requires the right design and management software. With the right design platform, you can create new circuit boards, plan for production, manage design data, and release new versions of products in a single program. You can address and overcome common problems involved in product lifecycle management when your electronics design software integrates these important features into a single program with a unified workflow.
Some common problems in the lifecycle management process arise due to a lack of sourcing information throughout the design process, lack of access to component model updates and obsolescence information, and a scattered documentation repository. Problems that fall into these three categories can seriously hamper the design process for circuit boards, as well as planning for manufacturing and sourcing. Keeping documentation in a consistent format with a consistent file structure allows design teams to easily track product updates and new capabilities as products are continuously innovated and modernized.
Obsolescence management is a very important part of developing and manufacturing any new piece of technology. Your new product should compete with other products on every level as soon as it hits the market, meaning you need to include the most up-to-date components in your circuit boards. Having real-time access to supply chain information helps you identify which components in your design will become obsolete before you release your design to the market.
Solving Common Lifecycle Management Problems
These common problems in product lifecycle management for printed circuit boards can be overcome when your design, documentation, data management, and production planning tools have access to all your design data. Other ECAD programs have little to no data management capabilities, and you’ll be forced to bring together multiple programs while hoping your data formats are compatible. Working with this type of software and incorporating these capabilities into standard business processes requires rethinking the circuit board design process for new electronics.
New product development and printed circuit design for new electronics requires thorough documentation so that future updates can be applied quickly and easily. The number of boards required at different stages during a product’s lifecycle will vary, and designers need to be able to update their designs, sourcing information, and assembly instructions quickly and easily. Working with ECAD software that incorporates a unified data engine allows you to quickly apply the updates you need throughout the design and production process.
- The product lifecycle management process for printed circuits mimics that seen in other industries. Keeping meticulous documentation and organizing design data are the best ways to be responsive throughout the product lifecycle.Learn more about the product lifecycle for printed circuit boards.
- ECAD tools play an important role in lifecycle management for printed circuit boards and electronic products.
- When your design features are built to work together in a single environment, your design and data management processes become seamless and your data is easily passed between your design and documentation tools.Learn more about design tools that are built to work in harmony.
Defining a hierarchy for your schematics in Altium Designer
The entire lifecycle for a given product can require multiple updates and modifications to sourcing information. Your design software should help you keep track of new sourcing data as it becomes available as well as keep track of your design data, making it easy to reuse when redesigns become necessary. Having real-time access to supply chain information allows you to anticipate obsolescence before you move on to production, ensuring your devices remain competitive.
Design Features for Product Lifecycle Management
Managing the printed circuit board product lifecycle requires design tools that interface directly with ECAD data management features. Working with printed circuit design software that is built on a rules-driven design engine allows your ECAD data management features to access your design data without manually exporting data between programs.
By far, an ECAD system that interfaces with design data management tools allows you to organize multiple versions of your designs, as well as any supporting fabrication and assembly data required to produce your circuit boards. Your design software should take this data and generate consistent documentation, making it easy to track design revisions and begin new manufacturing runs for your product.
- Integration between design features and documentation generation tools ensure that the data you send to your manufacturer ensures they can adapt their process to your specifications. You can eliminate unnecessary redesigns and maximize yield with consistent documentation.
- Implementing library management into the design process also helps you organize your designs, proprietary component models, and documentation for your products.
- Everyone needs reliable library and component management tools that incorporate supply chain information in real time. This aids design updates and helps ensure your products enjoy a long and fruitful lifecycle.Learn more about working with sourcing information in your design software.
Creating project libraries in Altium Designer
With design and documentation being so critical throughout the product lifecycle management process, how can you properly keep track of your design data and ensure your design teams remain as productive as possible? Documentation generation is quickly and painless when your design software, documentation, and data management tools are accessible in a single interface with consistent workflow. You can easily track redesigns and create consistent documentation directly from your design data when you work in a unified environment.
Working with design software built on a single rules-driven design engine allows you to modify design rules so that your product complies with specific industry standards. Design features in this environment interface directly with your design rules, allowing you to check your design choices as you create your printed circuits. You can rest assured that your design will be compliant with important design standards, will be manufacturable, and have consistent documentation.
Unified Design and Management in Altium Designer
Altium Designer is the only printed circuit design software that places all your design, documentation, component sourcing, and data management features into a single program. Other PCB design packages separate these critical features into separate programs or don’t include them at all, making it impossible to properly manage your design and production data. Only Altium Designer integrates all of your design features on top of a single rules-driven design engine.
- Altium Designer’s unified environment places your important design and management tools into a single program. No other design program offers this level of accessibility and adaptability.Learn more about Altium Designer’s integrated design environment.
- With integrated sourcing and component management features, Altium Designer gives you real-time insight into your supply chain and helps you manage obsolescence at all points in the product lifecycle.Learn more about real-time bill of materials and sourcing updates in Altium Designer.
- Altium Designer makes it easy to reuse your design data and release outputs in batches. This critical portion of the product lifecycle management process is simple when your design data interfaces directly with your documentation and management features.Learn more about reusable batch outputs in Altium Designer.
Proper product lifecycle management for circuit boards and electronic systems requires synchronizing attention from multiple parties in your organization. This is much easier when you work with design software that incorporates product data management features in a single program with a consistent interface. If you are looking to streamline the design process and product data management, then you need to work with Altium Designer, the only PCB design platform that integrates these features into a single program.
Other design programs separate your important design tools into different programs, forcing you to implement an odd workflow with minimal support. Instead of leaving you to design an ad-hoc workflow, Altium gives you the resources you need to design and manage your product data successfully. You’ll have instant access to the AltiumLive forum, design tutorials, webinars and podcasts with industry experts, and an extensive knowledge base with plenty of design tips. No other PCB design software company give you this level of support.
Altium Designer continues to set the standard in the PCB design industry by integrating your design and data management features into a single platform. The unified design environment in Altium Designer offers all the tools you need to create printed circuits for electronics and manage your design and sourcing data throughout the product lifecycle. If you want to work with the best design features in a single platform, then it’s time to make the switch to Altium Designer.