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Syncron: Web-based solutions for PCB design

Posted: 04 Oct 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:eda? board design? eda&t 2002? universal design network? udn?

With the transition from mostly contract manufacturing to the design and production of their own brand products, Taiwan's electronics industry began purchasing a lot of EDA tools a decade ago. Today, Taiwan's electronics design industry is flourishing, with many engineers involved in designing high-end products. Numerous Taiwan companies now manufacture their products in China, where they also plan to move some of their design operations. However, as with other developed countries, the electronic industry in Taiwan is facing new challenges.

The existing design-to-manufacturing process for electronic products such as PCBs is sequential, with engineers within each design area using different software tools, all with their own independent databases. It is a very diverse process ? multiple engineering disciplines at multiple locations and many functions being outsourced. This diversity and fragmentation causes excessive, unnecessary design iterations and great difficulty in resolving design problems. Nearly 40 percent of designs do not go into full-scale production due to such factors as: being too late to market; not having a competitive product when entering the market; the lack of resolution of a design or manufacturing problem; or the inability of the product to generate a profit. The ever-increasing clock speeds and circuit densities are making this problem significantly worse while new-product life cycles are being significantly reduced.

The challenges, then, are to eliminate design iterations, reduce product costs, and get to market faster. These challenges can be met through real-time collaboration among engineering disciplines and employment of tightly integrated design/validation tools in the early stage of physical design to solve high-speed design problems. However, current EDA solutions are not well positioned to meet the challenges; they only address individual steps in the process, creating highly undesirable "islands of automation" that result in interoperability problems. The high-speed design problems are not properly addressed because the signal integrity validations are performed after final layout. With most of the nets considered critical these days, it is extremely difficult to correct signal integrity problems after physical layout is completed. This shortcoming frustrates engineering teams and has left many gaps to be filled through time-consuming phone calls, e-mail messages and face-to-face status meetings.

At Syncron, we're helping the industry meet these challenges by way of our new Universal Design Network (UDN), the first solution of its kind to address the entire PCB design-to-manufacturing process within a single integrated design environment. A Web-based software system, the UDN enables multiple engineering resources at remote locations to work on the same project. It allows engineers to collaborate on creating new product designs, intelligently select the proper parts, verify designs through simulated builds, and make design changes in real time.

The UDN is data-centric and process-oriented, combining all the data required by every member of the engineering project team throughout the design-to-manufacturing process into a single shared and reusable format. It is based on the unified design data architecture that contains the entire data related to a design, including materials, parts, logical design, design constraints, physical layout, simulation models, and simulation results. Various engineering disciplines working with tightly integrated EDA applications can access and collaborate on the common unified design data, thereby solving the interoperability problems.

The UDN's design/validation component is designed for common use by multiple engineering disciplines, which allows dynamic collaborations in making design decisions, defining design constraints, validating the design, and making changes to the design. The signal integrity and thermal analysis capabilities are embedded in the design system, and the simulations can be employed throughout the design process. This includes the pre-design, pre-layout, and post-layout stages for validating the designs and extracting routing constraints to resolve the high-speed design issues and eliminate costly design iterations.

Meeting Internet-era challenges demands Internet-era solutions. To meet the challenges facing the electronics design industry, Taiwan ? like other developed countries ? is poised to begin employing new design environments, like the UDN, and new sets of tightly integrated next-generation EDA tools.

- Myoung Jin

Chief Technical Officer

Syncron Technologies LLC

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