Creating the printed circuit board (PCB) that meets all design requirements can be a highly technical and time-consuming process-not to mention expensive. The task of the design engineer is to turn the concept into reality in the shortest possible time in order to accelerate the time to market through high-quality, reliable products.
Now it is possible to simplify the PCB design by using complex software, helping designers change their ideas and enter the work board with the highest confidence in the shortest time, and the design can be manufactured with the expected functions.
As electronic technology is incorporated into new models of existing products, such as PCBs, the technology continues to evolve smart phones, smart TVs, drones, and even refrigerators. These advances in electronic technology require increasingly complex circuits and smaller sizes, including high-density interconnect (HDI) and flexible circuit boards.
Design and Manufacturing (DFM) means that designers must design their PCB and ensure that the circuit board design can actually be manufactured. The design software meets the needs of DFM by detecting design issues that will bring red flags to manufacturing resources. This is a key feature that can reduce back-and-forth problems between manufacturers and designers, speed up manufacturing, and reduce overall project costs.
PCB design software advantages
Using design software to create a PCB provides engineers with many advantages:
Quick Start-The design software can store previous designs and frequently used templates for reuse. Choosing an existing design with proven reliability and functionality, and then adding or editing features is a quick way to move the project forward.
Component library-software vendors provide libraries containing thousands of known PCB components and materials that can be used for inclusion on the board. These contents can be edited to add available new materials or add custom components as needed. As manufacturers provide new components, the library will be updated accordingly.
Intuitive routing tool-Place and move routing easily and intuitively. Automatic routing is another important feature that can save development time.
Quality improvement-Design tools provide more reliable results and improve quality.
DRC-Design Rule Check is a powerful tool to check PCB design for integrity issues related to logical and physical characteristics. Using this feature alone can save a lot of time to eliminate rework and verify the board design.
File generation-Once the design is completed and verified by the software, the designer can use a simple automatic method to create the files needed by the manufacturer. product. Some systems also include a file checker function to verify all the files needed for the generation.
Save time-defective or problematic design elements can slow down the production process due to problems between the manufacturer and the designer. Each problem will increase the time of the manufacturing cycle and may lead to rework and higher costs.
Manufacturing design-DFM tools integrated into many design packages provide design analysis for manufacturing capabilities. This can save a lot of time to fine-tune the design before it enters the manufacturing process.
Engineering changes-When making modifications, the changes will be tracked and recorded for future reference.
Collaboration-Design software facilitates peer reviews and suggestions from other engineers by sharing designs throughout the development process.
Simplified design process-automatic placement and drag-and-drop functions enable designers to create and edit designs more efficiently and accurately.
Documents-The design software can generate hard copy documents such as PCB layouts, schematics, component lists, etc. Eliminates manual creation of these documents.
Integrity-PCB and schematic integrity checks can provide alerts for potential defects.
By applying software technology to the comprehensive advantages of PCB design, there is another important benefit: the management has more confidence in the established timetable and development project budget.
Problems that may be caused by not using PCB design software
Today, most PCB designers are using some degree of software to develop and analyze circuit board designs. Obviously, there are considerable shortcomings in the absence of computer-aided design (CAD) tools in PCB design:
Missing deadlines and shortening time to market-competition is using these tools as a competitive advantage. The management hopes that the product will be as planned and within the established budget.
Manual methods and back-and-forth communication with manufacturers can hinder the process and increase costs.
Quality-without analysis and error detection provided by automated tools, there is a greater possibility of reducing reliability and quality. In the worst case, after the final product falls into the hands of customers and consumers, defects may not be detected, resulting in lost sales or recalls.
Putting complex PCB design software into use when creating or updating a design will speed up the design process, speed up manufacturing and reduce costs.