Using Integrated PCB Libraries and Schematic Capture
Throughout a product’s lifecycle, it may need to be continuously updated as new technology becomes available and old parts become obsolete. With old design methodologies, the only tools available to share design data and reuse designs in a new product were unwieldy and did not provide the productivity boost they intended. Enter integrated libraries: this data structure allows you to pack design data into a single package and easily share it within your organization.
Once you have your schematic and Circuit Board data compiled into an integrated library, you can unpack this data in a new project and begin easily reusing this design data. You can then recreate your schematic and your layout using a schematic capture tool. Grouping all of your design data in a single location allows you to quickly import this data into a new project, share selected bits of data within your design team, and design new products with this data.
When combined with your PCB layout data and schematic data, you can quickly recreate projects without recreating the entire file tree that supports your projects. This is by far the fastest way to share data quickly and easily across your organization. When you combine your design software with a powerful data management system, you can also ensure that your PCB footprints and component models remain updated with the newest data. This helps you decrease development costs and design time.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
ALTIUM CONCORD PRO®
A unified data management platform that integrates with the electrical design tools and libraries in Altium Designer®, ultimately making your design teams more productive.
The process for creating a new electronic product is greatly aided by PCB design software and the right data management practices. In the old days, your design data was managed manually, using a central database, or a 3rd party application that could not integrate with your design software. Sharing data among designers was nearly impossible without a single, universally accessible file system. One small change to the file tree and a multitude of projects would suddenly contain missing data and design errors.
When it comes time to use existing design data to create a new project or redesign an old printed circuit board, there are plenty of changes that can occur since the project that was created that can force a designer to remake a project entirely from scratch. Software gets upgraded to new versions, file structures change, new databases are created, and new designers that are unfamiliar with the project join a team. Using integrated libraries help save significant amount of time and ensure that all the required data is accessible at any time in the future.
The challenge involved in design reuse and in redesigns revolves around ensuring your data is current. With a managed component data service, you can ensure your integrated libraries remain current and that your components are sourceable. Altium Concord Pro is the only managed data system that integrates directly with Altium Designer, making data management and design reuse much easier.
Any component and footprint data that is stored in an integrated library allows it to be accessed by anyone at a later date and used in a new design. Any component in a schematic or PCB layout can be accessed from the associated data in an integrated library rather than searching your file tree for the right component library. You can then modify your schematics with your schematic editor in your PCB design software. Any component that appears in an old design can be moved or swapped without trying to locate the original component library.
Integrated libraries have long been a great way to help reduce design time as they allow multiple schematics, component symbols, PCB footprints, and other documents to be bundled into individual packages and shared across your design team. You can pack up these different pieces of information in one design and quickly import them into another design. You can also quickly use a schematic capture tool to create a new layout from an old design, and this new PCB layout will contain the associated data held in your libraries.
Expediting Redesigns with Updated Data
Any integrated PCB library should include updated data if it is to remain continuously useful. New versions of old components are periodically released, some components can go obsolete, and brand new components become available on the market. This is where a system for ensuring data remains current over the long term becomes invaluable. Designers need to rest assured that their data is current and that any component they use is sourceable before starting a production run.
Instead of manually updating each component library, database, and component model, designers need a system that integrates with major component distributors and provides automatic data updates as needed. The best way to take advantage of these capabilities is directly within your PCB design software. This allows you to instantly apply an updated component model, schematic symbol, or PCB footprint directly within your schematic editor, PCB layout editor, or bill of materials.
- The best way to make sure your component data remains current is to work with a managed data service that automatically updates your component libraries.
- In addition to your component libraries, your managed data service should apply the same updates to your designs and project libraries.
- Data management and PCB design processes don’t need to be fragmented. Your design process will be much more productive when these processes are synchronized.
Updating data in a schematic with Altium Designer and Altium Concord Pro
Any schematic needs to access data from somewhere, whether it is an existing component library or a simple set of component models. The same applies to an actual PCB layout; PCB footprints associated with component models need to come from somewhere. During design reuse, it is possible that the original data contained in a design document has been moved or gone missing. Without access to the original data, you won’t be able to recreate your schematic and use a schematic capture tool to create a new PCB layout.
This is where integrated libraries allow you to compile design data into a single package that does not rely on the original file structure. Integrated libraries can then be moved to different locations on a computer or a network, and the data they contain can be used in PCB project documents. During design reuse, the data in your libraries will support an existing schematic, allowing you to start a new PCB layout with a schematic capture tool.
How Data Management Supports Design Reuse
Old data in your design documents and your libraries can go stale over time, and your data management tools needs allow you to quickly apply updates to your design data as they become available. Your data management tool should also allow you to quickly locate suitable replacement components in the event of obsolescence or changes in the PCB supply chain.
After you use your data management tools to update component data in your schematic, you’ll need to check that your design complies with basic design standards and your mechanical requirements. When your PCB design tools are built on top of a single rules-driven design engine, you can quickly check your schematic and layout before finalizing your design. This helps ensure that your printed circuit board will function as intended and will be manufacturable.
- Everyone from small service bureaus and huge corporations can all benefit from a PCB design data management solution.
- Data management processes are critical for decreasing time to market and facilitating effective collaboration across design teams.
- In the event of obsolescence, a data management tool and libraries with a search feature will help you quickly locate and place a suitable substitute component.
Sourcing and footprint information in Altium Concord Pro
Creating an integrated library in Altium Designer is extremely easy. Altium Designer already includes the features you need to place schematic, PCB layout, and component model data into a single integrated package. It all starts with creating schematic and footprint libraries from your design data. These can then be packaged into an integrated library. Think of an integrated library as a library that contains other libraries: these sub-libraries can then be unpacked, and the data they contain can be referenced in an existing schematic or PCB layout.
Similarly, this design data can be quickly added to a new schematic, and then this schematic can be captured as a new PCB layout. This ensures you are always using consistent data when designing a new product or redesigning an existing product. With Altium Designer, you can access all of these functions in a single program.
Keeping Your Libraries and Designs Updated with Altium Concord Pro
A managed data solution like Altium Concord Pro streamlines your data management process. You won’t have to browse distributor websites for component sourcing information, search online for component model updates, or manually apply data updates to your existing libraries. This solution allows you to quickly pass updates to an existing schematic, layout, or component library.
Altium Concord Pro is uniquely designed to integrate directly into Altium Designer and perfectly complements its existing data management features. Project data in your integrated libraries can be quickly updated with the management tools in Altium Concord Pro. You’ll also be able to implement extremely useful collaboration processes like version control, access control, and revision tracking directly within Altium Designer.
- The schematic design and schematic capture tools in Altium Designer are fully hierarchical, and you can easily reuse design data using multichannel design.
- The functionality in Altium Designer is integrated alongside Altium Concord Pro, giving you access to a complete data management tool.
- With Altium Concord Pro, you can instantly pass data updates directly to your design tools and your designs, providing unrivaled productivity.
Other ECAD platforms separate schematic capture, editing, layout, and production planning features into different programs. Furthermore, other design platforms offer little to no data management support, forcing you to locate data updates manually or with a 3rd party service. Altium Concord Pro takes unification to the next level. This is the only data management service that synchronizes your data across your schematics, layouts, libraries, and bills of materials.
Altium is the great radical innovator in the PCB design industry, and you’ll have the resources you need to keep up with advances in new design technology. When you use Altium Designer, you’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, webinars and podcasts with industry experts, an extensive knowledge base with plenty of design tips, and plenty of design tutorials. No other PCB design software company gives you this amount of support.
Altium Designer has already set the standard for unification in the PCB design software industry. Altium Concord Pro only enhances your capabilities by integrating data management and PCB design features into a single platform. This allows you to work at peak productivity and ensures your new products will remain competitive throughout the product lifecycle. Anyone that uses Altium Designer can benefit from adding Altium Concord Pro to their list of design tools.