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PCB Tech

PCB Tech

How to achieve low-cost PCB design and layout?
2021-09-26
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Author:Frank

How to achieve low-cost PCB design and layout?
A major trend of pcb design is to gradually lean towards open source hardware models and control systems. Another major trend is the explosive growth of development boards. PCB design tools are being used in more and more development board designs. This article will tell you how the industry has achieved low-cost PCB design and layout in the past 25 years.

As PCB design is more and more commonly used with existing development boards, and daughter boards are used to drive hydraulic devices and servo motors or perform tasks based on light, motion, and sound, the trend of PCB design gradually tends to open source hardware models and Control System.

Another major trend in PCB design is the explosive growth of development boards. In October 2013, a survey was conducted for PCB designers around the world. The subjects of the survey included professional engineers from 42 different countries.


The survey results show that nearly two-thirds of the respondents (64%) believe that development boards have reduced their demand for custom PCB designs to a certain extent. On the surface, this result threatens the development of PCB design, but the reality is that PCB design tools are being used in more and more development board designs.


Nevertheless, since its inception, PCB design has not undergone fundamental changes. Innovative technologies in the PCB design field have been focused on reducing the cost of development boards and shortening development time, but the PCB layout has always been basically the same, and only the components used and product performance are constantly changing-this is also the root of most design complexity reason.


In the face of fierce competition, shortening the product design cycle is crucial for engineers and managers. One of the most concerned issues of many companies is: How can engineers obtain development tools that can shorten the time to market and reduce design costs, so as to cope with increasingly complex PCB designs. The design cycle has a great decisive effect on the time when the product is put on the market, and the PCB layout is often used to compensate for the delay in the early stage of the design process. In addition, because manufacturers' work locations and design teams are distributed all over the world, it is not difficult to imagine how difficult it is to obtain the best development tools, which makes multiple design teams and product time-to-market challenges.


To meet these challenges, manufacturers urgently need development tools that can utilize existing resources, including manual and computer tools that allow interoperability. These development tools are easy to use, have scalability, and can connect other time-consuming design phases in the design process. The performance of PCB design tools often mentioned by engineers includes:


"Provide a gradual learning curve undefined> "Without sacrificing productivity, it can support multiple designers to lay out on the same project


"Provide an ideal plug-and-play mode for performing intensive tasks to increase productivity


"Support real-time collaboration among users all over the world


"At all stages of the design process, multi-disciplinary technical experts can be mobilized for development and design without sacrificing production capacity


Some items available in the high-end market of the electronics industry can be used to analyze the designer's actual design, how the chip performs internal work, and how the chip responds to its peripheral products. For engineers, the question is how can they get there with the least effort and the least mistakes...without a little luck.


Although there are a large number of commercial products on the market (most of them are expensive and very expensive), only a few products are reasonably priced... They not only integrate powerful functions and provide very low start-up license costs. Features such as product ease of use are becoming more and more important, which can effectively accelerate complex designs while reducing the initial cost of design.

The survey also investigated the factors that engineers prioritized when choosing PCB design software, such as price, functionality, ease of use, service support, etc. The survey results clearly show that most design engineers value functionality rather than price when purchasing design tools, and 60% of survey respondents believe that functionality is an "extremely important" factor. It has been providing users with super-functional products, but it is becoming more and more challenging for each generation of software products to meet the needs of users. What engineers need is a software product that can optimize design time while creating more time for them to innovate and test.

pcb board

EAGLE is loved by engineers around the world and is widely used in the development of various collaborative engineering projects from open source hardware, including electric vehicles, formula racing cars, ultra-micro satellites, commercial moonwalks and other projects. The secret of EAGLE's success is that it is not only suitable for beginners, but also meets the needs of advanced users. It can provide them with a variety of options to greatly shorten the design and inspection process time.


The market provides a large number of completely free development tools for Linux, Mac and Windows systems. In the case of cost savings, which product features will become the basis for engineers to purchase development tools?


Support function expansion

To be precise, simulation, data input and output, and custom commands are executed through a user language program (ULP). EAGLE users have been working hard to achieve breakthrough innovations and improve the versatility of the software through the use of hundreds of ULPs. For example, the newly launched EagleUp3D design converter enables engineers to export 2D layout drawings from EAGLE and import them into GoogleSketchUp with one click to create Accurate 3D prototype simulation diagram. This allows users to integrate multiple circuit boards into the same model, allowing them to detect misaligned connectors and "collision" between high-size components, and also allows them to determine the airflow around the device and test And the availability of installation points. These are particularly useful for design sharing and development, and for reassessing system-level issues. EAGLE may also import mechanical format data from other manufacturers and provide all source codes. ULP structure enables users to further build customized designs that meet specific design requirements on the basis of existing designs.


Speed up the design cycle


Engineers usually place components on the circuit board, then load the schematic and place it on the PCB to simulate its behavior. CadSoftEAGLE6.4 version recently adopted a series of functional improvements so that engineers can easily use Linear Technology's high-performance SPICE simulator-LT-Spice, schematic input tool and waveform display. Users can now simulate existing EAGLE schematics and start automatic conversion from EAGLE.

Although engineers have formulated the cost of materials (BOM) that meets the project budget and schedule and are ready to start making PCBs, they often need to send the cost of materials first and wait for a decision. Therefore, engineers urgently need to obtain a special tool from a reliable high-quality service partner in order to quickly obtain a quotation for small-batch PCB production and obtain rapid prototyping services.
Large component library
This is critical to productivity, because users cannot "design custom components" for every component they plan to add to the circuit. EAGLE itself has created a wide variety of component libraries, and users can also obtain component libraries directly provided by manufacturers or shared by users through the e-college community. Since it takes 20 minutes to create a small customized database for each component from scratch, if the component library can provide engineers with a rich information resource center that can be trusted and verified by active community members, it will provide an excellent design for engineers. Great help.
In order to simplify and speed up the design process, electronic design engineers can also use DesignLink, a special tool, to specify their required components. By setting parameters, they can quickly search for suitable components from the e-college online product database. In addition, engineers can also obtain a large amount of technical information about components and products, including technical manuals, links to specific application solution guides, pricing and time to market, etc., which can be obtained in the EAGLE design environment without jumping to multiple web pages .