Altium has introduced technology that allows electronic designers to fit their printed circuit boards for enclosures in realtime and in three dimensions. This can eliminate costly, trial-and-error ECAD-MCAD iterations that can delay bringing a product to market. This MCAD enhancement builds on the company’s unified approach to electronics design.
It is now possible to link to external STEP models from within Altium Designer to bring, for example, the model of the casing into the PCB design environment. By using the non-proprietary STEP 3D file format as a mechanism, Altium allows ECAD-MCAD collaboration without forcing organisations to purchase integration add-ons or use a specific mechanical CAD package.
Altium Designer now lets designers create the board shape directly from the case model, conduct full mechanical fit and clearance checking, and update their board design or component choice and placement to ensure a perfect fit and conformance to physical design constraints. If the mechanical designer changes the case design, this is updated within the software. The complete board design can also be output by Altium Designer as a STEP model for use by the mechanical designer.
Electronics designers can interactively adjust board layout, component placement and even component package choice to suit the proposed enclosure design. They can ensure that the PCB complies with mechanical clearance constraints – tested directly against the real enclosure design – before the board is sent for prototyping or manufacture.
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