Design Automation


New edition of Altium Designer announced

23 October 2019 Design Automation

Altium recently announced the newest version of Altium Designer, a complete software environment for the design and realisation of printed circuit boards (PCB). The latest release, Altium Designer 20, features major upgrades to the software’s unified design environment, user experience, and PCB design capabilities.

New ‘push and shove’ capabilities enable routing of complex HDI boards and can speed up design times by over 20%, even for simple printed circuit boards, according to Altium. More advanced routing enables users to efficiently design high-density and high-speed boards using modern SerDes like PCIe 4.0/5.0, USB 3.2, 100 G Ethernet and parallel buses like DDR3/4/5.

The latest release leverages ‘ActiveBOM’ capabilities, including supplier search, BOM (bill of materials) rule checking, and live part choices, for multi-board assemblies. Users can also export 3D PDF files of the multi-board assembly, allowing collaborators to view and manipulate 3D assemblies.

For applications where high-voltage design is critical (e.g. spacecraft, high-altitude aircraft, and high-tech lasers), Altium Designer 20 provides new creepage rules that help maintain high-voltage clearances across the PCB surfaces for prevention of electrical arcing hazards for power supply and mixed-signal device designs.

User productivity is improved with new dynamic compilation capability, providing quick access to data across schematic, layout, BOM generation, design documentation, and other elements of Altium Designer’s unified design environment.

Cloud-based ECAD component management

Altium also unveiled Concord Pro, a cloud-based application for ECAD (electronic computer-aided design) component management.

Electronic components play a central role in the design and realisation of PCBs, and the effective creation and reuse of component data in the PCB design process is key, including footprints, schematic symbols, and 3D models. Until now, most PCB designers have created and stored component data in private file systems rather than in a shared, managed, and maintained library. Others have tried to use shared spreadsheets or proprietary databases.

These outdated approaches led to multiple redesign cycles due to redundant, inaccurate or outdated component data that is often discovered only late in the product development process, when board designs are sent to manufacturers.

Altium Concord Pro helps ensure that all of an organisation’s designers, buyers, and manufacturing partners have access to the same set of component data by simplifying the setup, configuration, use, and maintenance of managed component libraries. The system also ensures that component information is reliable and up to date through its built-in connectivity to Octopart supply chain information.

Users can try using Concord Pro in the cloud, powered by Altium 365, Altium’s newly launched collaborative platform. Concord Pro is also available on-premise, accessible through Altium Designer 19 and Altium Designer 20.


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