PCB design solutions

PCB design is an important part of the product development process, and it continues to evolve and change as electronics become more prevalent and more complex. On this page you can learn the ins and outs of PCB design directly from the experts at Siemens.

What is PCB design?

PCB design is the entire process of creating a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) through collaboration and integration between multiple disciplines and multiple domains which includes electrical, mechanical, software, system, test and manufacturing. It’s a team effort that requires constant bi-directional communication.

Why is PCB design important?

Device functionality

PCBs serve as the backbone of electronic devices, connecting & providing pathways for components like microprocessors, memory & sensors. PCB design ensures these components work together and that the device will work as intended.

Product size

PCB design plays a role in determining the size and form factor of electronic devices. Compact and efficient PCB layouts allow for smaller and more portable devices.

Signal Integrity

PCBs are responsible for routing signals between components. The right PCB design could minimize signal interference, ensuring data and power transmission is reliable and stable.

PCB design best practices

Today, PCB design teams must deliver more complex products on even more compressed schedules. Get ahead of these challenges by learning the best practices of modern PCB design, which we have broken down into the five pillars of digital transformation.

Digitally integrated and optimized

Establishing a digitally integrated solution across multiple domains reduces manual intervention, fosters collaboration and improves transparency across disciplines.

With a digitally integrated and optimized multi-domain environment, all engineering teams, including IC, IC packaging, FPGA, and PCB design within electronics, as well as mechanical and software, can optimize the costs associated with a project, accelerate design time, manage data integrity and improve the quality of results. The best practices that can enable a digitally integrated and optimized multi-domain environment include:

  • ECAD/MCAD collaboration
  • Design/Manufacturing
  • Library and data management

Engineering productivity and efficiency

In general, the PCB design process is the same no matter the tool, the team, the company or the culture. The differentiator is the manner of execution, where engineering productivity and efficiency play a significant role. This enables you to:

  • Predictably and reliably manage complex and high-capacity designs
  • Utilize advanced interactive and automated design support to accelerate routine tasks
  • Design correct-by-construction with a constraint-driven process
  • Implement concurrent team design-driven cycle-time reduction

The best practices that can enable engineering productivity and efficiency include:

  • Design automation
  • Analog/digital/RF
  • Concurrent design
  • Design reuse
  • Constraint driven design
  • Advanced design

Digital-prototype driven verification

While product and design complexity increases, associated tools and process complexity are also rising. By integrating verification throughout PCB design – starting very early, long before physical prototypes – engineering teams can smooth the entire electronic systems design process and increase design quality through digital-prototype driven, shift-left verification and cross-domain modeling.

Shift-left verification in the design flow eliminates the specialist bottleneck using automated, integrated tools. Cost and time are saved by finding problems early, during design, minimizing design iterations and manufacturing respins.

The best practices that can enable digital-prototype-driven verification include a shift-left approach to:

  • Schematic analysis
  • Thermal analysis
  • SI/PI
  • AMS
  • Manufacturability

Model-based systems engineering

From system requirements to implementation and manufacturing, a model-based systems engineering approach allows team members to view the entire system (electronic, electrical, mechanical and software) and model pieces, defining and optimizing interconnectivity and traceability from one domain to the other.

The best practices that can enable system-level model-based engineering include:

  • Multi-board
  • Electrical/electronic
  • FPGA/PCB optimization
  • IC/Package/PCB

Supply chain resilience

Electronic systems design companies have always depended on a value chain of suppliers and manufacturing services to bring successful products to market. Connecting the demand for a product with the supply of its necessary parts has never been more complex than it is today. The answer is to design for supply chain resilience.

The best practices that can enable supply chain resilience include:

  • BOM validation
  • Best-known part availability
  • Validation of alternates

PCB design resources

Explore PCB design related articles and podcasts.