PCB Design Software for Placement and Security of DIP Component

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: January 31, 2019  |  Updated: March 13, 2019
PCB Design Software for Placement and Security of DIP Component

Don’t settle for sub-par PCB design software and CAD tools that cannot handle placing and progressing with dual in-line package components.


Component libraries and library management systems are at the core of your designing process.

Selecting the appropriate components for your PCB has many implications. As your design moves from concept to schematic to layout and to production, component selection has a direct impact on functionality. Establishing your schematic and the correct PCB layout depends on the location, fit, and connection of components. In addition, component selection impacts the form factor of the finished product. For example, a decision to use embedded components rather than through-hole components may make a significant difference for the entire manufacturing process that –in turn—impacts the size and appearance of the finished product.

Many factors complicate component selection. Some designs require components that have specific tolerances. Even with these known tolerances established, the introduction of counterfeit components into the marketplace makes component selection even more difficult. Limited availability of some components may prompt design teams to choose another option. In either of these cases, the need for a component may introduce delays in the production process. Altium Designer removes the complicating factors through tools that provide real-time management of component data and information.

Active BOM Supports Design for Manufacturability

When design teams follow Design for Manufacturability (DFM) processes, they save time and money through a critical balancing act and required optimization. Ensuring that quality, reliability, safety, and regulatory compliance balance with best cost and time-to-market builds customer satisfaction. Within this first DFM path, optimal part selection and the appropriate integration of parts into a design allow superior product quality to emerge.

ActiveBOM functions as a Bill of Materials editor and offers real-time information component specifications, availability, costs, and suppliers for design teams. In addition to showing components placed in the schematic, ActiveBOM displays fasteners, the blank PCB, and mounting glues as well as automatic and manual numbering. With these capabilities, teams can avoid the redesign of a PCB that can occur because of supply chain problems. Using Active BOM also allows teams to eliminate human error caused by the manual compilation of stocked components. All this lessens the opportunities for design cycle delays.

Using Bill of Materials for Better Cost Management

From a budget perspective, creating a design consumes a small part of the allocated project costs. However, the design establishes the components—and the first decisions that a design team makes about the project. Those decisions lead to the design rules, layout, testing, documentation, and packaging that use the remaining budget. Successful decisions depend on accessing real-time, accurate information about components.

Combining ActiveBOM with Altium Cloud Services cuts the time needed for the initial work of selecting parts and achieving the best layout that—in turn—offers the ideal target of manufacturability. One feature of the Altium Cloud Services—the Altium Parts Provider—combines live parts information from a list of approved external suppliers. The Parts Provider continuously pushes information about costs, stock levels, and minimum order quantities into the ActiveBOM. Design teams can use the current lifecycle status for each component to show parts that may present supply chain problems.

Conserving Resources with Altium Designer’s ActiveBOM

Having this commonality establishes the groundwork for excellent design rules and builds on the experience of design teams. In addition, standard design processes built on best practices ensure that design teams understand the requirements and design products based on those requirements. Having this understanding assists teams in avoiding past problems that harm manufacturability and quality. Within the unified environment of Altium Designer, ActiveBOM allows multi-functional teams—separated by distance and purpose—to work together to achieve the DFM balance.

Optimizing fabrication, assembly, test, procurement, and supply chain shortens manufacturing time serves as one path. Along with following DFM processes, design teams often shorten production times by employing concurrent engineering or the simultaneous development of products and manufacturing processes. Successful implementation of DFM and concurrent engineering processes shorten time-to-market but require earlier attention to all manufacturing issues.

Achieving this higher standard for quality becomes a matter of having the facts at hand. Altium Designer’s ActiveBOM provides advanced features that assist design teams with finding parts that match arrangement and interconnection needs. As a result, design teams may attain the best results with higher quality—and sometimes fewer—parts in less time.

Ensure DFM is Achieved Responsibly and Efficiently

ActiveBOM responds to DFM requirements by applying best practices for selecting parts that not only simplify fabrication but also provide commonality with other designs.

As an example, design teams can add custom Bill-of-Material items or parameters that support the PCB design project to ActiveBOM. With these options, teams can manage electronic components and mechanical parts beyond the components initially specified within Altium Designer’s Schematic Editor. Design teams can generate the Bill-of-Materials directly from the ActiveBOM editor.

With production times becoming shorter, designers need to avoid interruptions caused by component shortages. Having access to real-time supplier data and information about components allows teams to determine whether trusted suppliers have the correct number and type of parts in stock. Accurate information ensures that the manufacturing processes match assembly line programming and hardware to the components.

Active BOM and its capabilities with DFM

Optimize your bill of materials to make it work with your designs

Ensure Design for Manufacturing Quality with Altium Designer

Finding and solving a defect adds costs exponentially to each stage of the production process. Design teams using ActiveBOM confirm that components arrive from reliable sources, comply with design specifications, and have consistent quality. With the flexibility given by ActiveBOM, design teams can add supply chain information during any juncture of the design cycle.

With every update, ActiveBOM automatically checks each Bill-of-Material item for violations. Each check verifies that items match library parameters and that the item features accurate cost and supplier information. The software tool then displays the status of the item with icons that represent “clear,” “warning,” “error,” and “fatal error.”

The Unified Design Environment and Your Manufacturing Process

Another best practice for achieving manufacturability involves having the correct number of constraints. Too many constraints increase electrical and mechanical tolerance demands. Having less than the minimum number of constraints affects quality.

The unified environment found within Altium Designer combines design rule checks, electrical rule checks, and simulations to ensure design and product quality. Correctly defining constraints through Altium Designer’s Design Rule Checker (DRC) establishes specific design guidelines for the PCB components, schematic, and layout and provides the optimal tolerances that lead to a robust design.

Project template options within Altium Designer

Utilize all tools available to make your designs efficient and productive

No matter the DIP component or DIP switches, find the software you can trust to get horizontal component placement accurate as well as confident solder and soldering. Find a PCB design software that helps instruct your designs on component leads, capabilities, and potential flaws with anything from power integrity to magnetic force.

Best practices in product development yield a higher competitive advantage in terms of cost and introduction to the marketplace. With manufacturability in mind, design teams can use the design process to ease manufacturing and introduce improvements when needed. The suite of tools found in Altium Designer supports the design process from concept through production and establishes the quality benchmarks needed for Design for Manufacturability processes.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 1000+ technical blogs on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, American Physical Society, and Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), and he currently serves on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee.

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