Electronic Design Automation For Modern PCB Designers

October 4, 2019 Cadence PCB Solutions

Pills and supplements on wooden spoons

 

I have a dozen bottles of supplements that I’m taking daily, hoping to boost both health and performance as I juggle numerous tasks in a hectic lifestyle. But it’s often a mistake to assume that taking supplements is the alternative to workouts, sleep, and a healthy diet. When I start slacking off in the gym, my health naturally goes south regardless of how many nootropic capsules that I’m taking daily. 

Like supplements, electronic design automation software has evolved dramatically during the past decades. Has electronic design automation grown to the point that PCB designers can start doing less while expecting similar or better results? Let’s take a closer look at the topic at hand.

What Is Electronic Design Automation 

In simple words, electronic design automation (EDA) refers to software tools used to facilitate the process of electronic design. These tools are often used in integrated circuits (IC) and PCB design. Electronic design automation intends to make the design process more efficient and error-free.

Before electronic design automation existed, PCB design is executed manually. Components and traces are mechanically drawn and plotted. In the past decade, EDA has grown to be more than software that allows PCB designers to turn a schematic into a functional PCB. Modern EDA tools enable PCB designers to enhance manufacturability, serviceability, and reliability of the PCB by introducing advanced management and simulation features.

How Electronic Design Automation Is Addressing Modern PCB Designer’s Challenge

Circuit board with thousands of small components on it

Increased complexity in electronics demands better EDA software tools. 

 

Today’s PCB designer’s job is no longer about routing and perfecting a design. PCB designers, especially those working with small and medium companies, are tasked with various aspects revolving the design. They may need to take responsibility for value engineering and cost control by reusing similar components in multiple designs. 

As products are getting more competitive, PCB designers need to optimize the design for manufacturing and assembly, hoping to achieve notable cost reduction. PCB designers need to take into account on serviceability and reliability of the final product. This means working closely with the maintenance team and making an informed prediction on potential failure points on the PCB. 

Besides operational concerns, PCB designers are challenged by the need for electronics with smaller, faster components and increasingly lesser space to work on. In PCB design, being tight neighbors introduces a whole new set of problems. Words like Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), signal integrity, and thermal effects are being repeated more frequently in modern design. 

To remain competitive, PCB designers need to leverage on EDA software that is equipped with features and tools that help in mitigating these issues. EDA software has long grown beyond a simple program that enables designers to route the components on the PCB. Today, these features are mandatory for any notable EDA software.

PCB designers  look forward to an EDA tool that enables a holistic approach to component management. Such a feature helps to synchronize the components used amongst multiple projects and potentially save cost in inventory management.

Modern EDA software is also built with simulation and analysis tools that are integrated within  both schematic capture and PCB design phases. These tools help PCB designers to spot potential issues before the design is finalized and manufactured. Issues like EMI can be significantly reduced when PCB designers have tangible data to work on during the design stage. 

Things To Look For In An Electronic Design Automation Software

Puzzle pieces with segments of trace routing on them

An EDA software should minimize design errors with intelligent analysis and simulation tools.

 

When you’re choosing an EDA software, remember that it is not about taking over your job as a PCB designer. Instead, the right EDA software will make you a better PCB designer. Efficiency and precision are two important factors when considering an EDA software.

 

For PCB design, you’ll want to get an EDA software that comes with a comprehensive library, component management module, model libraries used for 3D modeling, and SI analysis. It saves you time from creating components from scratch and keeps an organized list of the components used in your projects.

 

As electronic design gets more complicated, you’ll want an EDA software that helps to keep things simple. Features like design reusability and flexible design constraints help to keep various factors in check while staying efficient. 

 

It’s also essential to consider an EDA software with rich analysis and simulation capabilities. Features like Allegro Sigrity provides an insight into potential power and signal integrity problems. 

 

If you’re looking to learn more about how Cadence has the solution for you, talk to us and our team of experts


 

About the Author

Cadence PCB solutions is a complete front to back design tool to enable fast and efficient product creation. Cadence enables users accurately shorten design cycles to hand off to manufacturing through modern, IPC-2581 industry standard.

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