• A Layout Time Estimating Tool

    Even with autorouters, accurate design schedulers need to consider soft issues.

  • Adiva Releases Design Analysis Tools v. 9.3

    Design Analysis Tools v. 9.3 includes a portal that reportedly provides easier and more comprehensive access to data input conversion tools.

  • Altium Debuts Altium Designer 18 PCB CAD

    Altium Designer 18 has a modernized user interface and features upgrade to 64-bit architecture, combined with multi-threaded task optimizations.

  • Ansys Updates Ansys 18.2 Software

    Ansys 18.2 includes a new visual ray tracing capability in the electromagnetics suite.  Is reportedly ideal for antenna placement studies and radar scattering simulations.

  • Assembly Data and Documentation Process Overview

    The key information to send down the line, and how to send it.

  • At Zuken Innovation World, It’s All Systems Go

    Holistic product development – physical and virtual – was the topic of the day.

  • Autodesk Posts Fiscal Q1 Revenue Down 5%

    SAN RAFAEL, CA – Computer-aided design software firm Autodesk reported fiscal first quarter revenue of $486 million, down 5% year-over-year.

  • CAD Software Firms Develop XNC Format for PCB Drill Data

    GENT, BELGIUM – Ucamco, KiCad and Pentalogix have developed the CAD/CAM Exchange NC format (XNC), a subset of IPC-NC-349 that transfers CAD/CAM drill information without the need for additional sidecar files.

  • CAD/CAM/PCB Software Providers

  • Cadence Upgrades OrCAD PCB CAD

    OrCAD PCB CAD software now includes five new products and three key features aimed at increasing productivity by reducing design cycle time and facilitating more advance designs via additional high-speed capabilities.

    OrCAD Component Information Portal provides users with CIS database management capabilities and integrated access to parametric component data through an interactive, web interface directly within the OrCAD Capture CIS product.

    OrCAD DFM Checker provides a comprehensive set of manufacturing/fabrication-centric checks for OrCAD PCB Editor. DfM fabrication checks can be run at any time during PCB place and route to help ensure that no fabrication-related issues are present, helping avoid fabrication-related delays, additional costs and re-work.

    OrCAD Panel Editor provides an intelligent panel documentation environment for OrCAD PCB Editor that significantly simplifies panel creation and documentation.

    OrCAD Sigrity ERC (Electrical Rules Check) provides a comprehensive set of electrical signal quality checks for OrCAD PCB Editor. ERCs are designed to be run by the PCB designer as a first-order electrical validation. This capability enables changes to be made within the design before more extensive and exhaustive analysis is performed.

    OrCAD Capture Constraint System enables a constraint-driven PCB design flow for OrCAD Capture and OrCAD PCB Editor. Compared to the existing methodology, the OrCAD Capture Constraint System substantially expands the constraint definition and management methodology in OrCAD Capture.

    New technologies include:

    OrCAD PCB Editor productivity improvements include Scribble Route, an auto/interactive routing feature, which allows the user to loosely sketch a path for a route as the system figures how to detail-route it, as well as group and contour routing updates and via arrays.

    OrCAD PCB Professional high-speed design features now offer enhanced differential pair constraints, propagation constraint support, delay tuning with heads-up display support, net scheduling and impedance constraint support.

    OrCAD Signal Explorer is being added to OrCAD Capture technology-based products, enabling front-end signal integrity/signal quality simulation as well as topology exploration and constraint definition. It can also be scaled for additional signal exploration and signal integrity capabilities through OrCAD PCB SI.

    Cadence Design Systems, 

  • Dassault Systèmes Updates Solidworks 2017 Software

    Solidworks 2017 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software has more than 520 new enhancements and features. Can be used to design PCBs. New chamfer, fillet, and hole-specification tools facilitate collaboration between various team members. Users can apply multiple variable chamfers in a single operation and directly change fillets into chamfers. Can access previous hole definitions, apply pre-saved specifications, and construct stepped holes faster than in previous versions. Can create 3D geometry and surface characteristics using new surfacing features, including wrap, drag and drop, emboss, deboss, and 3D curve. A magnetic mates feature organizes assemblies by setting up connection points for drag-and-drop mating and repositioning. Suggests alternate designs. Analysis and automatic design alterations are communicated in the RealView bar. Integrates Altium electronic design software.

    Dassault Systèmes,


  • Data-Driven Manufacturing

    Scott Fillebrown

    The right data package will speed assembly and test programming.

  • Design Practices for Panelization and Depanelization

    Assemblers demand a complete CAD data package for more effective manufacturing.

    Panelization, also known as the processing of boards in an array format, keeps small boards attached to each other within a single, larger substrate. Panelization is used to process multiple small boards through assembly, and is becoming more prevalent as board sizes shrink.

  • Digi-Key Releases Symbols, Footprints for Vishay Products

    THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN – Digi-Key Electronics added symbols, footprints, and 3D models for Vishay’s catalog of optoelectronics products.

  • Digi-Key, Aspen Labs Launch PCBWeb Designer CAD Tool

    PCBWeb Designer free schematic capture and layout EDA/CAD tool comes as a full-license application with no limitations on number of parts, size or layer count, supporting a standard Gerber output. Is linked to inventory of more than four million searchable electronic components, including 300,000 ready-to-place parts.  Includes built-in board and component ordering. Enables multi-sheet and multi-gate schematic capture, multilayer PCB layout with copper pour and a custom parts editor. Features integrated bill of materials (BoM) manager and optional web publishing feature.

    Digi-Key, Aspen Labs,


  • Digi-Key, Mentor Debut Designer Schematic, Designer Layout Tools

    Designer Schematic and Designer Layout EDA/CAD tools are for design starts, providing a foundation for long-term product design. Link affordable design software to an inventory of more than four million electronic components. Come with free access to PartQuest, a website that merges part numbers into symbols and footprints. Product licenses are sold as an annual subscription.

    Mentor Graphics,


  • DownStream Updates BluePrint-PCB 5.1 Documentation Software

    BluePrint-PCB 5.1 has a new graphic user interface that aligns with Microsoft Ribbons user interface scheme. Ribbons interface flattens menu hierarchy to make access to common functions faster. Has a new “world view” to give users quick reference to current screen location. An optional pan-and-zoom function aligns viewing functions with most printed circuit board CAD tools; uses middle mouse button to zoom in and out of sheet-sized documents. Panning function quickly pans across drawing sheet while viewing or executing other drawing commands. User interface enhancements borrow design cues from SoloPCB design tools. Modifications were made to assembly panel functions. When panel design is executed, document view is replaced by a design view that allows color-coding of different panel objects. Assembly panel toolkit now features smart callouts that automatically detect pinning holes and board chamfer; automatically calculates number of instances these features are used in the design to minimize PCB fabrication errors. New online mill checking features have been added. DFMStream has been updated to include new analysis checks to verify anti-pads to adjacent layers to validate 100% ground plane reference and same net minimal spacing. Negative planes were expanded to include minimal width and gap between copper elements and anti-pads. Analysis functions have been upgraded to provide more options to manage the user workspace.

    DownStream Technologies,  


  • Engineers: The ‘A’ in CAD stands for Aided

    Martin CottonApplying experience to design to build better boards.

    Some things change, some stay the same. The Pretenders were almost certainly not thinking about making PCBs, but it certainly applies to this industry.

    As my musical musing may suggest, I’ve been here a long time – just over 50 years, in fact. (Chrissie Hynde was still at art school when I started.) I’ve seen many changes. I even caused a few! (More on that later.) But some things stay the same, and one of these is the disconnect between PCB designers and the fabricators who do the making.


  • Ensuring Reliable Products with New Rigid-Flex Design Rules

    Advances in fabrication have translated into new design constraints and guidelines.

  • For PCB EDA, Is Past Prologue?

    Mike BuetowSince being named technical conference director for PCB West seven years ago, I have generally shied away from offering keynote addresses.

    There are many reasons for my hesitancy, but primarily it’s because they seemed so out of place for a conference like PCB West. Since UP Media president Pete Waddell founded the show in 1992, its focus has always been on training. That sets it apart from the traditional research-driven test-and-report style events that populate this industry. Both have their place, but PCB West always has been about helping those in the trenches.

    Keynotes, on the other hand, tend to fall in one of two categories. There are the rah-rah types, of course. These are the professional motivators: ex astronauts, generals, athletes. They tend to roll out the same old bromides, a takeoff on the theme of overcoming adversity. Audiences listen. They cheer. Their souls are saved. Then they go out and do the same things they’ve always done.