Altium VP, Lawrence Romine on Altium Designer 20

October 16, 2019 Judy Warner

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Lawrence Romine, VP of Corporate Marketing for Altium discusses what new features you can expect from Altium Designer® 20, which will be available later this year.

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Show Highlights:

  • Lawrence has been with Altium for almost 15 years. At the time, the move to offshore manufacturing was prevalent and his previous experience with semi-conductors and FPGAs fit in well with Altium’s FPGA strategy. Since then, he has been involved in almost every facet of the business.
  • What are the trends in the industry and why is Altium making some of the decisions we are with our product?  Mainly the extreme pressure of speed and meeting intense release dates. More than half of our customers are doing 10 new designs a year and 40% of them are doing more than 25 PCB designs each year.
  • This trend brings the rise of the ‘all-purpose engineer’, however, the majority of our customers are Electrical Engineers and due to the complexities and data rates of design, engineers and PCB designers must absorb more of the technical aspects and procurement responsibilities.
  • What is Altium doing to absorb these trends and enhance the user experience? Altium is clearly the number one professionally-used PCB design tool. We are now in the space where the user-imperative is paramount, meaning, we must engage with users and are in the process of aligning the entire company with that strategy. 
  • We are diligent not to leave our existing customers behind. Some of our power users advised that they aren’t keen on some prior changes, so in Altium Designer 20 you’ll have, for example, a re-factored properties panel.
  • The unified design model is coming back and being enhanced in Altium Designer 20, for example, dynamic, automatic compilation.
  • The 3-release arc between Altium Designer 18 and Altium Designer 20 includes changing to 64-bit, changing the user interface, the new layer stack manager, and specifically, the materials library and the field solver technology. 
  • The star of Altium Designer 20 is undoubtedly interactive routing–and is already being received exceedingly well. What we have now is peerless. 
  • The new differential pair capability with its elegance of operation is exceptional, as well as the angle routing which can route any angle.  
  • Other aspects of Altium Designer 20 set us up for future development work: the first thing you’ll notice on a very large, dense schematic, is that it will be smoother and panning and zooming are enhanced. 
  • The new SPICE simulator was added by user request; all the models you can throw at it should work, but more development is underway.
  • We added more advancements to multi-board design, such as ACTIVEBOM®, which now supports all the boards in a multi-board project. 
  • 3D PDF support has been enhanced, we added some library migration capability to ease the transition into Concord Pro™. 
  • We also added the ability to place components on the mechanical CAD side. 
  • If you’re doing high-voltage design, we’ve added some new creepage rules, crossover- and return path rules.
  • Where are we with bug fixing? We’ve never neglected it, but perception is a reality for the person who is experiencing an issue, so an area where you will begin to see a significant enhancement is direct engagement in our forums, on the BugCrunch itself, on the ideas forum; as a mandate from the CEO directly.
  • Altium Designer 20 is addressing twice as many bugs as the previous version, which amounts to +-120 bugs being crunched, based on votes collected on Altium BugCrunch.   


Graph of Unique users impacted by bug fixes


See What's New. Altium Designer 20, A Computer Aided PCB design Software.

About the Author

Judy Warner

Judy Warner has held a unique variety of roles in the electronics industry since 1984. She has a deep background in PCB Manufacturing, RF and Microwave PCBs and Contract Manufacturing with a focus on Mil/Aero applications in technical sales and marketing.

She has been a writer, contributor and journalist for several industry publications such as Microwave Journal, The PCB Magazine, The PCB Design Magazine, PDCF&A and IEEE Microwave Magazine and is an active member of multiple IPC Designers Council chapters.

In March 2017, Warner became the Director of Community Engagement for Altium and immediately launched Altium’s OnTrack Newsletter.
She led the launch of AltiumLive: Annual PCB Design Summit, a new and annual Altium User Conference.

Judy's passion is to provide resources, support and to advocate for PCB Designers around the world.

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