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Design suite links PCBs with mechanical CAD

Posted: 17 Nov 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Altium? PCB design tool? PCB tool? FPGA design suite? PCB tools?

Altium Ltd is promising to link PCB layout with mechanical CAD with the latest release of its Altium Designer FPGA and PCB design suite. Altium Designer 6.6 also promises improved links to manufacturing.

Altium Designer claims to bring together hardware, software and programmable hardware development within a unified environment, allowing all aspects of an electronic product to be designed and managed within a single system. In January 2006, a new release of the product strengthened support for FPGA/PCB co-design.

The new 6.6 release lets PCB designers directly import 3D component data through the ISO STEP standard (Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data). The 3D models can be brought into PCB library files and associated with components. This makes it possible to create representations of PCBs that can be easily transferred to mechanical CAD applications, according to the company.

The link also lets mechanical designers start their design work earlier, and proceed in parallel with electronic design, according to Altium.

Altium Designer 6.6 also strengthens ties between PCB design and manufacturing. The system's Assembly Variant Management tool has been upgraded to speed the design of PCBs used across multiple end products. The 6.6 version adds the ability to vary parameter values by updating from a library, and adds options for handling schematic and PCB variant printing.

Also new in 6.6 is the ability to "clone" variants, making the creation and management of variants easier. And a new IPC footprint wizard lets users create a range of IPC-compliant component footprints directly in the application.

Altium Designer 6.6 is available without charge for existing Altium Designer 6 license holders. Evaluation versions are available on line.

- Richard Goering
EE Times

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