Digital technologies are bringing together all aspects of product design, streamlining the entire PCB design process from product inception through manufacturing. Learn how Xpedition, part of the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio, can help your team address organizational, process, and product complexity.
In chapter 1, the engineering team embarks into the early stages of the PCB design flow. They begin with managed block creation, schematic capture, and early signal integrity optimization. You’ll see how they use constraint definition to inform the schematic design and check schematic verification.
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In chapter 2, layout designers, mechanical engineers, and thermal engineers collaborate on the PCB layout. See how they approach mechanical design, part placement, PCB routing, and FPGA optimization as a part of the PCB design flow.
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In chapter 3, you’ll see how the team approaches PCB routing and PCB verification. At this stage, layout designers route the board and optimize FPGA pin-out while a signal integrity engineer analyzes performance.
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Chapter 4 demonstrates how layout designers, signal integrity engineers, and thermal engineers work together to confirm the PCB design meets constraints and manufacturing requirements.
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Chapter 5 explains how the PCB layout designers create final manufacturing outputs. See how the team reviews the PCB design, completes PCB verification, and approves it for release to manufacturing to complete the PCB design flow.
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The PCB design flow refers to the sequential process and series of steps involved in developing a printed circuit board (PCB) from conceptualization to manufacturing. This methodical approach ensures the systematic creation of a PCB that meets specified requirements, functions correctly, and adheres to industry standards. The process typically starts with gathering project requirements and specifications, understanding the board's purpose, electrical characteristics, and physical constraints.
Once the initial requirements are gathered, the design flow progresses through schematic design, component placement and routing, verification and analysis (including Signal Integrity (SI), Power Integrity (PI), Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), and thermal analysis), and finally validation against industry standards, manufacturability checks, documentation preparation for manufacturing, prototyping, testing, and mass production. This comprehensive approach ensures that the PCB design is thoroughly evaluated, verified, and ready for production without errors or issues. The design flow's structured nature streamlines the process, allowing for efficient development while ensuring the resulting PCB meets quality, performance, and reliability standards.
To execute a complete PCB design flow, several software tools are typically used to cover various aspects of the design process. These tools cater to different stages of PCB design and facilitate tasks ranging from schematic capture to layout, simulation, analysis, and preparation for manufacturing.
It's important to note that while some EDA (Electronic Design Automation) tools encompass multiple functionalities within a single platform (like Xpedition or PADS Professional Premium), others may require the integration of different software for comprehensive coverage of the PCB design flow. Moreover, the choice of software often depends on factors such as the complexity of the design, budget, specific functionalities required, and personal or company preferences.
In a "best practice" PCB design flow, various stakeholders play essential roles in ensuring the success and quality of the design process. These key stakeholders typically include:
Collaboration and effective communication among these stakeholders are critical for a successful PCB design flow that meets functional, performance, quality, and regulatory requirements while being manufacturable and cost-effective.
A project kick-off meeting involving all key stakeholders in the PCB design flow is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it aligns everyone involved with the project's objectives, scope, and expectations, ensuring a unified approach. Clear communication channels are established, allowing stakeholders to voice concerns, share insights, and understand each other's contributions early on. This meeting also clarifies roles and responsibilities, preventing confusion and ensuring that everyone understands their part in the design process.
Moreover, the kick-off meeting identifies potential risks, allowing proactive planning to mitigate challenges. It sets realistic timelines, milestones, and review points, aiding in efficient resource management and deadline adherence. By bringing together diverse expertise, it fosters problem-solving discussions and informed decision-making when facing technical challenges or constraints. Ultimately, this meeting builds consensus on design methodologies, tools, and best practices, fostering team cohesion and laying the groundwork for a structured and successful PCB design process.
To initiate a PCB design process, several key data and requirements are essential:
Collecting and providing this comprehensive set of data and requirements at the beginning of the PCB design process ensures clarity, minimizes potential design revisions, and facilitates a smoother workflow throughout the project lifecycle.
Physical and electrical constraints (rules) in PCB design can be implemented at various stages of the design process, ensuring that both the physical layout and electrical performance of the board are optimized. These constraints are typically defined and enforced using design rule checks (DRCs) and constraint management tools available in PCB design software. The implementation of these constraints can occur at the following stages:
Implementing physical and electrical constraints throughout these stages ensures that the PCB design meets both the mechanical and electrical requirements, leading to a design that is manufacturable, reliable, and performs optimally in its intended application.
For performance, which includes signal integrity (SI), electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), power integrity (PI), thermal the optimal time to run analyses in a PCB design project typically varies based on the complexity of the design and the resources available. However, the following guidelines can be considered:
For manufacturability/producibility, the following guidelines can be considered:
Yes, Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools often offer compatibility and integration capabilities with other industry tools to facilitate a more comprehensive design process and workflow. Integration with other tools can enhance functionalities, improve design efficiency between multidisciplines and their respective domains, and enable seamless data exchange between different software applications.
These integrations are facilitated through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), standardized file formats for data interchange (such as ODB++, IPC-2581, etc.), and dedicated interfaces or connectors provided by EDA tool vendors. These integrations streamline workflows, improve design accuracy, and enhance collaboration among different stakeholders involved in the PCB design process.
A fully digitally integrated PCB design flow offers several advantages in modern electronic design. Firstly, it streamlines the entire design process by seamlessly integrating various design stages, from schematic capture and layout to simulation, analysis, and manufacturing preparation, within a unified digital environment. This integration ensures a smoother transition between design phases, reducing errors caused by manual data transfer and enhancing design consistency and accuracy. Design changes or iterations can be implemented more efficiently, as modifications made in one phase automatically propagate across the entire design, fostering quicker design optimization and shorter time-to-market.
Moreover, a digitally integrated PCB design flow enables real-time collaboration among cross-disciplinary teams, including electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, manufacturing experts, and others involved in the design process. This collaboration is facilitated by shared access to a centralized design platform, fostering improved communication and coordination between different stakeholders. By promoting collaboration and providing a cohesive environment for design, analysis, and validation, a fully digitally integrated PCB design flow enhances productivity, accelerates innovation, and ultimately leads to the development of more robust and high-performance electronic products.
Like any other “team” task, having full team buy-in regarding common project goals is key to achieving success. Implementing a best practice PCB design flow using Siemens EDA tools involves several steps that leverage the capabilities of their software suite. Siemens EDA (formerly Mentor Graphics) offers a range of tools like Xpedition Enterprise, PADS Professional, HyperLynx, and more, which collectively support an efficient and comprehensive PCB design flow. Here's a general guide on implementing best practices with Siemens EDA tools:
This outlines a generalized approach to utilizing Siemens EDA tools for a best practice PCB design flow. Detailed tool-specific training, tutorials, user guides, and support from Siemens EDA can further assist in leveraging the full potential of their tools for efficient and high-quality PCB designs.