Considering today’s highly competitive global industry where things are changing on a daily basis, if designers don’t embrace changes like moving to a true 3D design tool, they risk being left behind.
Printed circuit board (PCB) design products need to be smaller, cheaper, built faster, and be functional the first time. Further adding to PCB design complexity is the increasing number of nets, stricter design constraints, and wiring density, oh and don’t forget the migration toward high-speed, high-density projects. Most conventional PCB design tools are at their limits under these conditions.
One key change—the introduction of 3D capabilities—promises to revolutionize the way designers not only create their designs, but compete in the global marketplace as well.
Designing in a 3D world
Traditionally, circuit-board designers have relied on 2D design, then mockups to check form, fit and function. It use to work because there was no other option, but let’s be honest, in today’s global digital business world, this practice is archaic. The time-consuming and costly nature of re-design and re-mocking up a prototype, (average cost is $8,929 per failed attempt) are why 2D designs and multiple mockups are no longer an option. These old school practices add extra time and expense which make that company less competitive, and less likely to acquire new business.
PCB designers like MCAD designers need to create products in 3D. To do this they need a design tool with advanced 3D capabilities. Having such capabilities eliminates the need for mockups, as well as board re-design prior to fabrication. It insures the PCB will fit the enclosure. This saves both time and money. Also 3D export capabilities allows for thermal and electromagnetic simulation in multi-physics tools. These are critical given that heat in the enclosure is dependent on the shape of the board. And these days, almost every new compact battery-operated device, will use wireless connectivity.
Full 3D capability
The value of 3D functionality in PCB design is undeniable and as a result, a number of companies now claim to offer them; however, all 3D-enabled design tools are not created equal. GoEngineer offers Altium Designer, so designers can reap the full benefits of full 3D PCB design, including:
- The ability to bring in all 3D modeled objects into a circuit board design. (Including the actual enclosure)
- 3D functionality that’s actually in the design rule checker; a very important feature since rules should serve as a real-time guide to the design process.
- The ability to model the copper layers within a laminated structure.
- The ability to create 3D animation/video of a design.
The fact is PCB designers need a better way to do it right the first time! Full 3D capabilities in PCB design tools are now absolutely essential for fast, accurate, and cost-effective PCB design. Today’s business demands that the actual printed circuit board will fit the actual enclosure, on the first prototype, and be tested for fit, form, and function.