Advancing PCB design

28 October 2009

New 3D PCB design viewer provides an interactive view of an entire or selective section of design such as HDI via arrays
New 3D PCB design viewer provides an interactive view of an entire or selective section of design such as HDI via arrays

Allegro and OrCAD PCB software has been released by Cadence Design Systems. It boasts new features and functionality designed to boost productivity and performance for PCB engineers.

The Allegro and OrCAD PCB Design Release 16.3 brings PCB engineers significant new benefits, including the ability to miniaturise the footprint of their end product and reduce the number of physical prototype iterations, making the design cycle more predictable.

It addresses increased functional and interconnect density through improvements for rigid-flex routing, extended HDI rules, 3D viewing of PCBs, and asymmetrical clearance for RF circuits.

Extended micro via stacking rules allow users to create the most difficult HDI designs, and multi-line curved bus routing that hugs the flex outline accelerates the creation of rigid-flex designs.

Additionally, an integrated 3D PCB viewer gives designers visibility into components and HDI micro via breakouts, thus eliminating unnecessary iterations with mechanical design teams. The Allegro PCB RF Option also helps engineers speed the time to create accurate RF circuits through the use of asymmetrical clearances for one or more RF elements.

The Allegro and OrCAD release uses a multi-phase pre-release approach to help ensure that content and quality meet customers’ needs. More than 20 customers from North America, Europe, Asia and Japan participated in the multi-phase beta programme. Customers and Cadence partners that participated in the programme include NVIDIA, Emerson, Kaleidescape, Freedom CAD, Nordcad, FlowCAD, Graser and Tektronix.

Also featured in the 16.3 release are a number of productivity and usability improvements to the OrCAD family of products. OrCAD Capture CIS now offers autowire capability to quickly add connections, as well as new 3D footprint viewing. OrCAD PCB Editor provides 3D viewing and ‘flip-board’ design/editing and jumper support for single-sided PCB designs. OrCAD Signal Explorer has a revamped user interface, with drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste functionality, context-sensitive RMB functions and native IBIS model support.

Usability improvements are another focus of the latest Allegro PCB Signal and Power Integrity software, which offers a new user interface and adds stack-up-aware capabilities to the pre-route analysis environment. Buffer modelling standards are embraced through native IBIS and SPICE support, including Cadence Virtuoso Spectre Circuit Simulator models. Another improvement that boosts design cycle management is the ability to quickly scan a PCB with dozens of multi-gigabit signals and quickly determine where detailed analysis should be applied as signals are ranked according to their signal-to-noise ratio.

Other key issues addressed are associated with part data management. Integrated ECAD, MCAD part creation, generation and distribution reduce unnecessary physical prototype iterations. The new part introduction capability extends management, notification of pre-release and temporary parts to shrink the design cycle. In addition, engineers can implement part updates automatically based on approved, recommended replacements, ensuring quality of results through obsolete part tracking.

“We participated in the multiphase beta programme for release 16.3 and were very impressed,” said Vincent Di Lello, Senior PCB Designer at Kaleidescape Canada. “The improvements in this new version address our miniaturisation design challenges very well, and we look forward to adopting this new release into our design flow at the earliest opportunity after it is available.”

Scott Miller, Chief Operating Officer at Freedom CAD, added: “This latest Allegro release provides many improvements to address miniaturisation design challenges on a rigid or rigid-flex design. As a design services company, we are always interested in improving our designer productivity and design process predictability. We will be moving to 16.3 and also recommending our customers to migrate soon.”

The Allegro and OrCAD PCB Design Release 16.3 will be available for download by customers in early December 2009.

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