Seamless ECAD/MCAD PCB Data Integration

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: February 24, 2020
Design Tools to Take You from ECAD to MCAD Seamlessly

Step up to the unified environment of Altium Designer and leave behind the problems of trying to force different ECAD and MCAD tools to work together.


The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use.

Are you tired of the problems of maintaining separate ECAD and MCAD CAD environments? Have you had your fill in trying to get your ECAD and MCAD systems and software tools to transfer accurate design data back and forth to each other? Are you done spending time on translations, verification, and involved data exchange processes and wasting hours with free CAD tools and hard to use CAD programs? We understand the struggles that you are going through and have created Altium Designer to take this burden off of your shoulders when it comes to electronic design. Altium Designer is a powerful design platform featuring PCB design tools synchronized together through a unified data model to enable electronic design automation. This will give you the ability to intelligently link 3D component bodies together on a printed circuit schematic design with your electrical component data creating a unified component model that works in both design domains when it comes to the creation of printed circuit boards. From Schematic, through board layout, and to design analysis and verification, Altium Designer will keep everyone on the same page for a controlled and managed ECAD to MCAD design process.

ECAD Software Built on a Foundation of Power and Unity

Altium Designer starts with a foundation of power with its 64-bit multithreading architecture to give you all the horsepower that you will need no matter how complex your designs are. Building up from that is Altium Designer’s unified data model. You no longer have to worry about how or even if the data in your schematic will match up with the data in your layout. Each aspect of the overall PCB design data has all been crafted to work together through the unified data model.

As the design world changes and grows you won’t need to worry about your design tools. The engineers at Altium are using their 30 years of research and development history to constantly update and enhance Altium Designer to have the most current PCB design tools on the market. Through up-to-date electrical components information or computer-aided design with a strong, integrated interface you are guaranteed to have the tools needed for production.

One Single Powerful Platform of Tools Tied Together in a Unified Environment

Altium Designer’s powerful platform of tools tied together through its unified design environment will enable you to create world-class designs.

ECAD PCB screenshot of AD18 showing multiple tools

Altium Designer’s powerful unified data environment allows multiple tools to work together

ECAD Design Software for Schematics and Libraries

Altium Designer features one of the most robust hierarchical schematic capture applications that you can you find. Whether it’s a single sheet schematic or a multiple sheet design with layers of hierarchy, Altium Designer will do the job. To populate your schematic with parts you need the latest component data from your part vendors. Altium Designer’s Active BOM utility will not only give you another portal into your design data for component information, but it will also allow you to connect with your part vendors through a cloud connection.

And when it comes time to create your library, Altium Designer is prepared with an IPC compliant 3D footprint creation wizard. Everything you need to create the schematic and prepare your design for layout is contained within Altium Designer. You’ll be sure to leave any member of your team, from electrical engineers to purchasing, happy with easy-to-read files and well-organized libraries within your computer-aided design software.

Create Your Design with Confidence Using the Best Schematic and Library Tools

Altium Designer provides you with the tools you need to create your circuit designs.

ECAD PCB screenshot of AD18 3D layout

Altium Designer’s native 3D engine allows full placement to mechanical DRCs

ECAD PCB Software to Take You from Start to Finish

With the 3D models you’ve worked with in your design process and incorporated into the unified data environment, you have the ability to use Altium Designer’s native 3D engine to check for placement errors. Then with the ability to import mechanical design data, you can check your board placement to the mechanical features and enclosures of the final system. You can also import other designs into a multi-board assembly in your Altium Designer layout session to check all of your system PCBs for form, fit and connectivity along with mechanical constraints.

And with the other verification utilities available to you in Altium Designer, such as the power delivery network analysis (PDNA) tool, you will have complete confidence that the design that you are working on will be created the way that you intend it to be. ECAD / MCAD integration has never been easier with a PCB design software which fully prepares your circuit boards for production.

Design Tools to Take You from ECAD to MCAD Seamlessly

Altium Designer is the complete system answer for your ECAD to MCAD design process.

If you’ve been struggling with making your different ECAD and MCAD systems work together, take a look at Altium Designer to see how this process can be done well.

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 the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), and he previously served on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee.

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