One task that has always proven difficult is moving electronic product designs from one printed circuit board design software environment to another. Whether you’ve changed PCB design tools or acquired designs from another company, there are a number of challenges involved in moving a project from one PCB software platform to another, while maintaining design consistency. It’s a difficult and time-consuming process, but it has to be done.
Say a PCB designer has an electronic design in one particular PCB design tool format, but in order to implement circuit design or PCB layout changes, they need to use a different CAD tool moving forward. What do they do? Do they re-enter the design from scratch into the new layout tool?
Hurdles When Changing Design Tools
There are plenty of reasons why a designer would need to transfer a project from one PCB software platform to another. And each of these reasons comes with its own potential problems and compatibility issues, which can lead to design inconsistencies, costing both time and money. Let’s look at two of the most common reasons a designer would need to transfer a project:
The main reason a PCB designer would need to switch designs from one tool to another is because the company or organization they work for has made the business decision to change PCB design tools, while the designer is in the middle of a project. When this happens, users then face not only the challenge of having to learn a new design tool but the arduous task of replicating all of their designs from the old PCB design software, into the new software.
This procedure is time-consuming and introduces the possibility of inconsistency in the design. In particular, inexperience with the new circuit design software environment can lead to schematics being redrawn incorrectly. This can, in turn, lead to errors in a previously-functioning design.
Similar issues can also arise when a designer works on a project that originated in another company. Say a former customer of one of your competitors was unhappy with the work they did, and now wants your team to complete it. They give you the schematics, but they were created in a different schematic design tool. The document file is difficult even to open, much less edit. If you’re not careful, this could end up delaying the project and costing a lot of extra money.
Making Design Importing Easy
Fortunately there’s a solution to many of the problems encountered when transferring a project from PCB design platform to another. With Altium Designer, it’s easy for a designer to import schematics and PCB layouts quickly and easily from other sources without the usual errors and discrepancies. This is accomplished through the Altium Designer Import Wizard.
Want to see how easy it can be to import your schematic and PCB design into Altium Designer? Download a free Import Wizard white paper now to learn more.
About the Author
Steve currently serves as an Application Engineer for Altium and is responsible for post sales support, customer training, and technical writing. He holds a B.S. in Engineering with an emphasis in Computer Engineering from Wentworth Institute of Technology.More Content by Steve Tran