Design Automation


Altium Designer updated to version 15

19 November 2014 Design Automation

The improvements over the previous version reflect the feedback and technical advice on high-speed PCB design garnered from beta users of the software over the last 12 months.

According to Altium, one of the issues the PCB industry has made clear is that fabricators need to move beyond ancient file formats. As a computer aided manufacturing format, traditional Gerber has its origins in standard RS-274D published almost 35 years ago; many consider ‘standard Gerber’ to be out of date.

Ucamco recently updated RS-274X to Gerber X2 to incorporate critical fabrication data previously missing, and the International Printed Circuit Association has developed an entirely new standard, IPC-2581. Both resolve issues of ambiguous or missing data encountered when using older formats such as Gerber RS-274X to hand off design to fabrication, completely describing a PCB according to its design.

Altium Designer 15 introduces support for both IPC-2581 and Gerber X2, keeping designers up to date while giving them a choice that broadens their selection of PCB fabrication partners.

Modern designs require signal propagation at rates up to 100 Gbps. Designing to these specifications in previous-generation design software is challenging. This process traditionally required manual rework and careful signal planning outside of the design tool, typically in a spreadsheet program – causing additional steps and introducing opportunities for errors.

With Altium Designer 15 a new Pin Pairs feature has been added to enable accurate length and phase tuning across termination components, and enable length, phase and delay tuning traversing an entire signal path. Designers will no longer require external software or have to maintain complex lists of signals and nets, but instead will be able to plan and route groups of high-speed nets with much greater efficiency and accuracy.

The new software release will be available to Altium subscription customers before the end of this year at no additional cost.



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