The Power of PDN Analysis Automation

June 9, 2016 David Marrakchi

 

Relying on a prototype for analysis into your PDN network costs time and money. Leveraging automation tools like the PDN analyzer can reduce costs and allow the engineer to optimize designs without relying on a prototype. Read on for more information.

“There’s nothing worse than an engineer dropping a via stitch array late in the RF design process and leaving barely any power plane copper left to carry current on a board. PDN Analyzer makes it painfully obvious when this happens.”

Mark Wyman - Senior Design Engineer - Vanteon, Inc.
 

As an engineer, implementing changes to your design late in the development process is practically inevitable, regardless of your industry. But what costs do those last-minute changes come with? Missed deadlines? Wasted money on prototypes? The list can go on.

Our traditional design-to-prototype workflow not only overextends our development process, it’s also incredibly expensive. And in today’s market, launching products before your competitors at the lowest possible cost can be the difference between success and failure. So how do you reduce the risks to ensure your design projects will meet their budget, deadline and quality targets all at the same time? By leveraging the power of design automation.

Life is Easier When You Leverage Automation

Engineers can make their lives easier by leveraging the power of automation in their design process. Integrating automation tools within your design platform can save you a tremendous amount of time and a ton of headaches. Here’s just a few of the ways the EDA industry has embraced the power of automation: 

  • Nurturing effective communication between ECAD and MCAD by linking design data and sharing critical components.

  • Ensuring design intent is accurately documented with direct integration with your design layout.

  • Providing insight into the health of our Power Distribution Network (PDN) with rich analysis data.

Of these three automation tactics, PDN analysis is probably the most foreign to the designer and is typically reserved for a simulation specialist after the initial design has been completed. But what if we could make PDN analysis available at design time? Well, now you can.

The True Costs of Post-Design Analysis

Contrary to popular belief, PDN issues can occur in any circuit, whether the design is simple or complex. And how quickly you can identify these issues determines how much it will cost you in the long run. PDN analysis is of particular importance these days as our designs have grown more complex, but is it worth the cost? Let’s take a look at the numbers. A study by Aberdeen Group found the following statistics on average ECO costs¹: 

  • The average ECO cost is about $2,000 during development.

  • That number skyrockets to $10,625 once the design has been released to manufacturing.

  • Design spins range from $4,000 to $12,000 depending on complexity, with an average number of 15 spins required to release your design.

Being able to prevent just a single design spin could save your project upwards of $12,000. At that expense, the cost of an integrated PDN analysis tool like the PDN Analyzer powered by CST® would have paid for itself three times. On top of that, consider the time it normally takes to redesign a board that had a fatal flaw. Isn’t that worth the cost of PDN analysis alone? Of course, there’s also intangible benefits of PDN analysis that won’t fit on a spreadsheet, including: 

  • Peace of mind knowing your PDN is optimized without relying on a prototype.

  • Having the skills as an engineer to independently optimize your PDN without requiring a specialist.

  • Minimizing the downtime associated with learning a new analysis tool by having an integrated solution in your current design platform.

The Unequivocal Value of Automated PDN Analysis

It’s clear that the ROI for PDN analysis automation is a no brainer. Catching PDN issues at design time has obvious financial benefits while giving the engineer peace of mind that their design is optimized. And at the end of the day, it all translates into added value for you and your company.

Interested in introducing PDN analysis into your existing design process? PDN Analyzer powered by CST® provides intuitive PDN analysis data at design time that makes complicated power distribution issues easy to understand and solve without relying on prototypes. And with access to PDN analysis in the design tool you use every day, designers can dramatically reduce design spins while building even better products.

Want to try it for yourself? Register now for a 30-day free trial for PDN Analyzer.


 (1) Boucher, Michelle. "Why Printed Circuit Design Matters to the Executive." Aberdeen Group (2010).

About the Author

David Marrakchi

David currently serves as a Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer at Altium and is responsible for managing the development of technical marketing materials for all Altium products. He also works closely with our marketing, sales, and customer support teams to define product strategies including branding, positioning, and messaging. David brings over 15 years of experience in the EDA industry to our team, and he holds an MBA from Colorado State University and a B.S. in Electronics Engineering from Devry Technical Institute.

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