­­CST Studio Suite for Electronic Design

Article by Jeff Lendermon on Jun 14, 2022

Electronic devices are integrated into many product designs. From household appliances, automobiles, and medical equipment to aircraft and mobile devices, electronic circuits are becoming very complex. 

These circuits must work in conjunction with other electronic devices while keeping signal integrity (SI) and power integrity (PI). There are also Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) standards that must be met. The PCB (printed circuit boards) within the electronic devices will create heat and need to be cooled. Simulation of these designs using CST Studio Suite (developed by SIMULIA) in the development stage will identify problems that can be corrected prior to the start of manufacture.  

CST PCB STUDIO

The CST PCB Studio is an electromagnetic simulation tool specifically for the simulation of PCBs. It has the capability to import PCB designs from the most popular EDA layout tools (Figure 1) and incorporates several solver techniques to account for the most important analysis types.  

Import Layout Tool in CST Studio for Electronic Design

Figure 1: EDA import

Supported import types are:  

  • ODB++
  • Altium
  • Cadence
  • Mentor Graphics
  • Zuken

Design Rule Check

Rule checking allows the user to check the layout for violations with respect to standard EMC (Electromagnetic compatibility) and SI (Signal Integrity) layout rules. This tool quickly identifies traces and layers that violate the rules prior to running simulation studies.  

CST Studio Suite Design Rule Check

Figure 2: Design Rule Check

Signal Integrity / Power Integrity

In high-speed devices, it is important to check the integrity of the signal paths. (Figure 3) The transmission lines, signal source, and load can be analyzed regarding delay, over and undershoots as well as crosstalk.  

CST Studio Suite Signal Integrity

Figure 3: Signal Integrity

The goal of a power integrity analysis is to show the impedance (Figure 4) of the power distribution network as seen from component pins. The results of the analysis are the self-impedances measured between pairs of power and ground pins.   

Power Integrity CST Studio Suite for Electronic Design

Figure 4: Power integrity Impedances

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)  

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) is the ability of an electronic device to operate as designed in its environment without interfering with other devices. Devices must comply with international EMC standards which regulate EM emissions of electrical and electronic systems in order to be sold. 

CST Studio Suite gives engineers simulation results relevant to all EMC aspects of a device such as the flow of currents across a circuit board(Figure 5)

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) CST Studio Suite

Figure 5: Electromagnetic Compatibility

Thermal Simulation on PCBs

Thermal simulations are run with CST Studio Suite with the CHT (Conjugate Heat Transfer) Solver. This analysis is run based on the IR drop analysis of the PCB layout. It is a coupled simulation where the energy loss is transformed into heat which increases the temperature of the board components. The CHT solver will then compute the temperature increase. The thermal analysis will incorporate the cooling effect of the surrounding air.  

PCB Thermal Analysis and Cooling CST Studio Suite

Figure 6: PCB Thermal analysis and Cooling

Want to Learn More? 

Register for our upcoming webinar series to learn how CST Studio Suite Electromagnetic simulation will help with electronic device designs by analyzing PCBs in a three-part webinar series.   

Part 1: Signal integrity (SI) and Power integrity (PI)

When: July 13, 2022 at 9 AM PDT

This discussion will include: 

  • In which cases do you need to simulate your PCB for SI/PI?
  • How can your PCB be bent and simulated for a wearable device?
  • How can a quick Design Rule Check help get rid of SI/EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) issues even without simulation?
  • Verify if you can achieve the required speed (Mbits/second) on your high-speed connection by checking the Eye diagram.
  • Discover how to optimize the number of decoupling capacitors on your PCB to enhance power integrity on your Power Distribution Network (PDN)

Part 2: PCB Thermal Cooling

When: July 20, 2022 at 9 AM PDT

This discussion will include: 

  • The importance of PCB thermal management
  • How heat is generated and travels through a PCB
  • Simulation helps to keep PCB cool
    • PCB and chips: simplify or not simplify
    • PCB as part of the system
  • Examples

Part 3Electromagnetic Compatibility

When: July 27, 2022 at 9 AM PDT

This discussion will include: 

  • Why is the simulation of your electronic device with PCB needed before the FCC EMC testing?
  • Understand how signal integrity (SI) / power integrity (PI) influences EMI and use a quick design rule check to get rid of SI/EMI issues without simulation.
  • A practical case: Conducted Emission of PCB having on board SMPS (switch-mode power supply)

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About Jeff Lendermon

Jeff Lendermon is an Applications Engineer for GoEngineer supporting the SOLIDWORKS Plastics simulation software. Jess has over 30 years of experience in the Plastic Injection molding industry, he applies his experience and knowledge of the industry to help customers see the benefits of utilizing the tools within SOLIDWORKS Plastics.

View all posts by Jeff Lendermon