Am I Big Enough for Data Management?

February 19, 2019 Judy Warner

In this episode of the OnTrack Podcast we echo the style of “Ask me Anything” and feature Ben Jordan and Judy Warner who will mine the AltiumLive forum for questions. Ben will answer your questions about Engineering and PCB Design and Judy will respond to topics related to manufacturing and supply chain. Join us today as we tackle the question: If we have only one or two EEs, do we really need data management?

For future episodes, you can submit your questions on the AltiumLive forum, and sign up to be part of the community. Or email your questions directly to us.

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Show Highlights:

  • The Lounge is where the community talks about interesting topics related to PCB Design and Electronics Engineering, not necessarily only Altium products.
  • Today’s question from the lounge is: “Is the Altium really worthwhile in a company with just two EEs??” Perhaps another way to pose this question is: is it worth having a formal data management system for your electronics design, if you’re only a small business? We could even ask, is it worthwhile for an individual design contractor? The short answer is: Absolutely!
  • Statistics and analytics from webinars, show that 80% of designers do not even use a formal version control system.
  • A version control system allows you to have a central location for storing data, and as you work and make edits, and save files; it must be committed to the system as a revision.
  • Version control allows you to go back to any point in time and restore it. Also, it allows comparison changes, in context, in a team or if you’re an individual designer.
  • A normal backup system does not give you associativity between that moment in time and what you were doing, or the engineering intent.
  • A version control system is not a formal data management system: it doesn’t give lifecycle management or links to supply chain data.
  • A true data management system would not permit release unless everything is saved, committed to version control and contains the latest revision. Including in the component .
  • Provides accountability in the way you use and store your data.
  • What are some problems with footprints in manufacturing?
  • Panelization, v-cut, scoring for breakaway tabs etcetera, not following procedure.
  • Slow down to hurry up - spend time upfront to set up the system, then you can move faster.
  • Documentation is essential in the industry for re-use and provides a lifecycle.
  • Data management keeps you accountable.

Links and Resources:

Join AltiumLive forum, and check out The Lounge

OP’s original question and related question

Email new questions to: OnTrack@altium.com

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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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