What PCB Designers Need to Know About PLM Integration
Any product, whether its an electronic device or any other product, will become obsolete and must be replaced with a completely new version. Managing this finite lifecycle for any electronic product and the printed circuit boards that support them requires a full suite of management tools. These management tools should do more than keep track of part numbers; you’ll need to watch for obsolescence. With the supply chain visibility tools in Altium Concord Pro, you can ensure that your PCB libraries remain current, providing full PLM integration with your design and management tools.
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ALTIUM CONCORD PRO®
A unified data management and intellectual property management platform that integrates with Altium Designer® and other mechanical design tools.
Your PCB libraries play a special role in the design process. They do more than just hold a list of component information and part numbers. They contain PCB footprints, schematics, PCB layouts, and bills of materials, all organized into a specific structure. The level of integration required to provide full lifecycle management will ultimately make any PCB design software user more efficient and will extend the lifecycle of your products.
Ultimately, the right product lifecycle management software can help PCB designers and project managers properly source components for their designs and remain competitive in the marketplace. Integrated tools also help project managers ensure new products are manufacturable, ultimately decreasing time to market.
When it comes to printed circuit board design and production, PLM software that integrates with data libraries in your PCB design software ensures your data will not go stale. This ensures your new designs will be manufacturable and aids redesigns of old products with the newest technology. There are also benefits of using an integrated PCB library to prepare a bill of materials, namely that you can properly manage your supply chain to ensure production runs are completed on schedule and with the newest authentic components.
Product lifecycle management and PCB design may seem like separate concentrations, but the two are intimately related. Companies that implement continuous innovation must continuously improve their designs as new technology becomes available. Eventually, a product will become obsolete and will require major changes, or even entirely new architecture. PLM software can solve both of these problems at once by providing supply chain and obsolescence visibility. When this solution is integrated into your PCB design software, you can immediately identify soon-to-be obsolete technology in your printed circuit board and plan for redesigns or new products early.
How is a PCB Library Useful for PLM Integration?
Your PCB libraries are critical for keeping your design data organized as your product portfolio grows. These libraries help you keep track of schematic, layout, component, footprint, model, and sourcing data in one place. The problem with libraries is that they can go stale; parts become obsolete or unsourceable and eventually must be replaced with newer versions.
In order to keep up with change, your design software needs to help you identify obsolete components in your printed circuit board and your schematic so that you can immediately replace them. Replacements need to be chosen based on updated supply chain information. Finally, updates to component data need to pass directly to your PCB libraries. This prevents your data from going stale and allows your designs to keep up with changes in the manufacturing supply chain and technology in general.
- Any printed circuit board has a finite lifecycle, and keeping up with new versions and technology changes requires meticulous planning and visibility in order to be responsive throughout the product lifecycle.
- Library management in an important part of the design process. You can quickly compile and organize your design data, making it accessible to anyone on your design team.
- Integrated PLM software brings updated design data directly into your PCB design software. Your product lifecycle management and design processes become seamless when your data passes between design and documentation tools.
Updating data in your component libraries with Altium Concord Pro
PLM software also has a role to play in manufacturing. Part of lifecycle management for electronics involves keeping an eye on the supply chain to ensure components for your product remain sourceable. As components begin to become obsolete and new versions are planned for release, the product lifecycle resets as your product is updated to use these new components. Each new manufacturing run for your product will also require updated sourcing information for the components that appear in your design. In the event that critical components are unavailable or obsolete, they need to be quickly exchanged for suitable replacements.
Improving Profitability with PLM Integration
When product lifecycle management capabilities are integrated into your PCB design software, you can quickly exchange your obsolete or unavailable components with newer versions before you send off your design for manufacturing. This helps you stay competitive by reducing lead times and preventing unnecessary redesigns. Having access to cost data for multiple suitable components allows you to directly compare costs and plan your manufacturing budget accordingly.
- With technology continuing to advance at record speeds, product lifecycles are getting shorter, including in IoT devices.
- Access to sourcing and obsolescence information in your product lifecycle management tools helps you streamline your manufacturing process.
- Access to real-time supply chain information in your product lifecycle management tool helps you build complete, accurate documentation for your manufacturer.
You can instantly import updated components into your schematic with Altium Concord Pro
The right data management tools don’t have to impede design productivity. You also shouldn’t have to adapt a third-party tool into your PCB design software. Working with a managed solution that directly passes design data to your existing PCB libraries allows you to anticipate the end of the product lifecycle and plan accordingly. You can stay competitive in terms of technology and cost when you use Altium Concord Pro, the only tool that integrates the best data management and PCB design software features inside of Altium Designer.
Unify Design and Management with Altium Designer and Altium Concord Pro
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. Adding a powerful product lifecycle management solution like Altium Concord Pro to Altium Designer ensures that your design data is always current. It also helps you choose suitable replacement components when needed, which expedites redesigns and revisions of old products.
- Altium Designer’s unified environment allows you to quickly import your component and sourcing data into your bill of materials using Altium Concord Pro as an integrated product lifecycle management tool.
- Altium Concord Pro perfectly complements Altium Designer as a product lifecycle management tool. You can rest assured your PCB libraries and supply chain information will remain current with Altium Concord Pro.
- Altium Concord Pro is the only data management platform that integrates your component and design information directly into your PCB design software.
While other design programs are busy separating important design and management tools into different programs, Altium is creating a truly unified product lifecycle management and design solution. You won’t have to work with a 3rd party tool or adopt a convoluted workflow to ensure your designs and PCB libraries stay current. If you’re ready to take the guesswork out of product lifecycle management, then it’s time to work with Altium Concord Pro.