PCB design software has changed pretty significantly recently and all to the benefit if the end user. With different versions of PCB layout software on the market, you want to make sure that you are getting the latest and greatest one with all the up to date advanced tools and features. This may not be cheap therefore it is important that you shop around in specialist areas to get the correct one for you.
Integration is the Key
One of the biggest frustrations from designers is the fact that PCB layout software doesn’t integrate with one other. This can be a complete pain when a designer must try to integrate designs or partial designers from other areas that the software may struggle to be compatible with. As you will find there are lots of different software packages around, not everyone is on the same one as you. This then makes a very difficult design supply chain if you are looking to interact and share with this. Unless you demand that the supply chain is standardised in terms of the type of software package they use then you could come across these integration issues. As such, the modern software packages allow integration with various different types of software, therefore, check out what they can and cannot integrate with before purchase.
There are advanced tools in modern packages that are really key to simplicity and efficiency. These include:
- Views – Most people like to design between both 2D and 3D. Modern PCB software packages have the option for you to switch between both. The general consensus is that people do the standard design in 2D as it is easier to see the detail however when they are assembling products together then they move to 3D mode in order to see the overall package as an assembly item.
- Simulation – When you have made your design (or assembly), running a trial simulation is a great way to proactively assess whether or not the finished piece will operate correctly. Here you can run simulations on single piece products or on the overall assembly. Not all PCB software packages have this added feature, however, we class this as an invaluable source in order to ensure that pro-actively there is minimum risk to reliability, safety or durability when you go to produce the product. It would be a nightmare if you go to mass manufacture the product to only find out afterwards that there is a design flaw affecting the component. The simulation will clearly try to prevent this.
What is Coming Next?
It is hard to tell what is coming next in this specialist field, however, we know that there is a lot of money being spent by software companies to try and be more innovative and ensure that they have the simplest, efficient and effective product. Whether you are an individual doing things on a small scale or a mass business, the end goal is the same – simplicity!