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PCB simulator offers virtual instruments

Posted: 02 Dec 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronics workbench? pcb? circuit design tool? pc-board simulation? pcb simulation?

Electronics Workbench, a provider of PC-based circuit design tools, is trying to make pc-board simulation look more like a traditional prototype testing environment with "virtual instruments" and "dynamic probes."

These new features are part of Multisim 8, the latest release of a schematic entry and simulation environment for which the company claims 150,000 seats. Based on spice simulation, Multisim also lets pc-board designers include C, VHDL and Verilog models.

It's all part of the Toronto-based company's mission to get pc-board designers to use simulation to check functionality prior to layout. When Multisim was launched in 1999, "it was clear that a vast minority of people simulated PCB designs," said Bill Wignall, president of Electronics Workbench. Early research suggested that 10 or 20 percent of board-level designers used simulation.

A more recent survey, conducted by an independent marketing company retained by Electronics Workbench, found that 60 percent of the 110 pc-board designers who responded use simulation. Among those, Electronics Workbench had a 50 percent market share, Wignall said.

Who's using the tools? While Electronics Workbench started in the educational market, about 50 percent of its sales are now to commercial electronics companies, Wignall said. "We are in almost every vertical market you can think of, and almost every major electronics company uses our product," he said.

Multisim's claim to fame is its close integration with schematics. It incorporates Multicap, the company's schematic entry program. Users can pause simulation, change the schematic and immediately see waveforms showing the updated results.

Multisim 8 will be available Dec. 1 starting at $1,995. The company also offers pc-board placement and routing tools.

- Richard Goering

EE Times




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