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DesignSpark eases progress from concept, prototyping to production

Posted: 01 Sep 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronics? design? 3D CAD? components?

What we launched yesterday were DesignSpark and DesignSpark PCB. DesignSpark is a gateway for engineers to look at development kits�we've got 750 development kits online�One thing that we found is that design engineers, before they try and buy something, they do like to bounce it off with their peers who may have designed with the products before�Design engineers also like to show how clever they are. They like to share information and in electronics you have to be careful about quality issues...

Tell us more DesignSpark PCB.

Page: DesignSpark PCB is a professional tool for schematic capture and PCB layout. It's not really limited to the number of layers, which means the more complex the design, the more layers you have on the PCB. So it's not limited in size or layers or pins on the design, so it's a professional tool.

The other advantage is there's no limit on the number of times you can use the tool. You just have to register to have an account, and then you can download absolutely free, than you can actually use the tool and then you just have an activation code and that's free of charge too.

Is this is an online tool? How do you address security issues?

Page: No you download it straight unto your platform. Engineers won't be doing design on our website. It's automatically downloadable, and there are 20 different software packages that customers use out there. They just download the software into their system and off they go. All they have to do is go to the register and get the activation code but we have no idea on what they're doing with it, we cannot see it, in fact we don't want to look at it even. And what we do is we have a library of products that they design with, and we have the Manufacturers Part No. and the RS Part No. will be on there and with the online tools that we have once they have the BOM from your design, you can put it in our website and then you can purchase it for prototype or production volumes.

Engineers are asking, "How long it will remain free?" and there's no catch there, its free as long as you want it.

Did RS Components build DesignSpark in-house?

Page: No, we didn't build this at all. We partnered with a third party called the Number One Systems in the UK and we partnered with them�we didn't design this tool at all. They have more complex tools and if you want to migrate to that, you have to purchase it. But on the market, this is the most powerful professional tool there is free of charge.

We also talked to Mentor Graphics and I think you may find that we will have a link to those guys in the future. But they're not free tools.

This website gives you all sorts of information about current designs. What technology trends have you noticed from the projects being done by users?

Page: We have a broad portfolio we've been covering a huge number of different technologies, but there's no doubt that one of the things that's firmly on the agenda is energy consumption.

We're pursuing a focus group of customers on consumer products that will reduce energy�that includes lighting which is seeing big growth just at the moment.

There's also building technology. Buildings are getting smarter and we're seeing the design effort and also end-user purchasers are very much focused on those. What we're doing is we're growing our portfolio not only on the component level but also on a finished goods level to really capitalize on that environmental trend.

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