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Startup looks to fill Cadence CCT vacuum

Posted: 03 May 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:connecteda? cct? router? pc-board? eda?

ConnectEDA, a PCB tools startup, aims to fill a gap left when Cadence Design Systems Inc. stopped making its CCT autorouter available for sale by competing EDA vendors in the late 1990s.

The five-person startup has supplied its Electra Autorouter to half a dozen small European tool vendors and former CCT customers on an OEM basis and has begun worldwide sales via distributors and North American sales through direct channels.

"The router targets the mainstream user market," said ConnectEDA co-founder Ben Franklin, vice president of marketing. "It is much faster than any gridded router on the market and holds its own against existing shape-based routers."

As a salesman for Cooper & Chyan Technology (CCT) Inc. in the late 1990s, Franklin helped it enter OEM agreements with several large and small vendors that needed a router. He was hired by Cadence when it purchased CCT in 1997 and most recently worked at EDAConnect, the now defunct EDA Web-based licensing vendor.

Popular, then gone

Many considered the CCT router the PCB industry's premier router, and most board vendors offered it in some form on an OEM basis. But after acquiring CCT, Cadence stopped manufacturing the router to most EDA vendors. That briefly made Cadence the leading supplier of PCB tools, Franklin said, and severely affected smaller companies that lost the router.

That is where ConnectEDA is seeing its initial success, Franklin said.

Its Electra router uses a multipass cost-based conflict-reduction algorithm to find a routing solution adapted to the natural flow of a design's nets. Its adaptive routing algorithm is the only proven approach to reach high completion rates, the company said. Electra offers immediate feedback on routing progress and conflict-reduction rate.

The router is driven by layout rules. Each net can have its own minimum clearance and wiring constraints. Net class and nets can be constrained to be routed on specific layers and to use different rules for each layer. The tool was created as a direct replacement for Cadence's Specctra router.

Electra reads the Design File format, and its results can be saved into the standard RTE route file format or to SES session files. But the tool does not yet have the leading-edge features of established routers, he said.

A perpetual license starts at $600 for two-layer-board version and rises to about $3,500 for an unlimited-layer version.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

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