Advantages of Modern PCB Software Packages

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

The days when you had to sit in with a drawing board to complete PCB designs are well gone. It is very interesting how this particular industry has changed at pace throughout recent years.  If you look carefully at simple things like circuit boards and what they resembled 5 years ago and how they look now, you will find that they have a lot more power and capacity and are half the size.  This type of innovation continues each year where the challenges to this industry are getting more difficult.  This then makes the challenges to the designers involved even greater.  They need to do so much more in a smaller space and not compromise on quality.  The software package they all use for this is the key to delivering this objective.  They don’t want a clunky software solution that involves multiple downloads, poor advanced tools or low storage space.  Basically, all they are looking for is simplicity with their PCB software.

Below are some things that they will be looking for.

Advanced Tools

This will include the ability for them to fully define the PCB board thickness by fully configuring the layer stack and calculating whatever the total thickness is. The designer is not really wanting to be sitting out with a calculator – they want the software package to do it all for them.

In addition to this, the designer will be looking for the ability to design and view their schematic PCB in different angles.  It is common for designers to do their initial designs in 2D and then move on to 3D when they are assembling and looking at the finished piece.  Not all modern software packages have this ability however it is becoming more common as the voice of the designers is being heard where this is an important aspect.

Simulations

Running simulations can greatly assist in preventing a problem prior to manufacturing it.  Think of the situation where there are thousands of PCBs manufactured to then find out there is a design issue affecting quality, reliability or safety. This would clearly be on the designer’s shoulders.  As a result, running a simulation to ensure that there are no design issues will clearly assist and being a bit more pro-active. These simulations themselves are not 100% error proof and you may find issues with your finished product with something like durability that would not be picked up in a simulation mode. Again, this is a feature only available on the best and modern software packages so be sure to check this out before purchase.

What Training is Provided?

Whether you consider yourself an expert in PCB design or are a beginner there is enough help around from different forums which include:

  • Virtual Training – Reputable suppliers may offer some virtual classes to support you with their software.
  • College – You will find that some colleges may even run night school classes or similar to teach face to face.
  • Internet Forums -Clearly a very quick and reliable way for you to get feedback and help from others with the same interest as you.
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