Data Management in Four Steps

David Haboud
|  Created: May 24, 2017  |  Updated: November 11, 2020

When it comes to electronics design, data management is at the bottom of most engineers’ priority list. When you first enter the engineering field, you don’t learn about all the tiny details you need to keep track of during the design process. These minute details build up into the mountain that is data management. Something as simple as finding a previously used part can mean spending your day fumbling between spreadsheets, approved lists, and old designs. 

That’s time spent outside of your design environment and away from your design. Data management is supposed to aid your design, not pull you away from it. Why spend your days dealing with non-design data management tasks when you can minimize the process and get better results?

Altium: Four Pillars of Understanding

Altium Vault® is an ECAD data management system that eliminates the manual tracking of design data. Engineer-focused architecture addresses and design management challenges by facilitating design reuse, data checking, centralization, and collaboration. Altium enables the communication and organization necessary for data management directly in your design environment so you don’t have to spend time away from your design. From solo engineers to global engineering teams, Altium can satisfy all data management needs. 

Even non-engineering team members can access the design data they need with the browser interface. If you have to deal with departments like sourcing and procurement, you can all reference and utilize the same design data without stepping on each other’s toes. Regardless of the size of your organization, Altium can be easily configured to your unique data management needs to ensure data integrity without causing administrative overhead. Altium enables you to fulfill all your data management requirements with the four pillars: find, apply, release, and correct.

Find the You Want

Finding to use in your design can be a lengthy process. Once you find a part, you have to worry about availability, price, supplier information, and getting the component into your design environment. Altium allows you to search for the you need with any defined parameter, including manufacturing part number, footprint, packaging information, and more. You can even save your searches for easy reference. Best of all, you can search for components directly within your design environment, so they are immediately ready for use. 

Apply the You Need

Once a part is in the Altium system, all you have to do is click, drag, and place. are already in your design environment, so you never have to leave your design. Never struggle with a last minute supplier change or alternate part selection with direct access to dynamic supplier information and the ability to apply part changes in seconds. Placed are linked for reference so you can see where everything has been used previously. 

Release Your ECAD Data

When you are done with your design, you can confidently release your project knowing that all information is linked to the latest component and document revisions. You never have to experience a faulty prototype coming back to you due to using the wrong file revisions. Plus, you can keep track of revision changes and spot pinpoint changes with visual comparisons of design differences.

Correct Your Design Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is how we recover from these mistakes. It is a hassle to track down everywhere a part has been used in each design to identify where changes need to be made. With Altium, all placed have links to the location where they are used so you can leverage the information for future designs and immediately identify where updates are required.


The Journey of a Thousand Miles

Data management is a journey, not a destination. In the words of Lao Tzu, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You don’t need switching between programs and miscommunication slowing down your journey. Knowing that everyone involved with your design is working with a single approved source for all your ECAD data ensures all the cogs in your design process work fluidly with effective communication across your entire team. 

Altium bridges the gap between departments by standardizing all the little details that often go unnoticed. That way, you can focus on your designs and not get bogged down by details. To take the first step on your data management journey, request your free demo of Altium today.

About Author

About Author

David Haboud is a Product Marketing Engineer at Altium. He studied electrical engineering with an emphasis in computer architecture and hardware/software design at the University of Southern California. David began his career as an embedded software engineer in the aerospace industry and has always strived to make it easier for hardware and software engineers to communicate. During his tenure as an embedded software engineer, he focused on firmware development and data acquisition for auxiliary power units. In his spare time, David hosts and performs in improvisational and stand-up comedy nights in San Diego, California.

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