Free Trials

Download a free trial to find out which Altium software best suits your needs

How to Buy

Contact your local sales office to get started on improving your design environment


Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool


    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • Altium 365 Viewer

    View & Share electronic designs in your browser

  • Altium Designer 20

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


    Annual PCB Design Summit

    • Forum

      Where Altium users and enthusiasts can interact with each other

    • Blog

      Our blog about things that interest us and hopefully you too

    • Ideas

      Submit ideas and vote for new features you want in Altium tools

    • Bug Crunch

      Help make the software better by submitting bugs and voting on what's important

    • Wall

      A stream of events on AltiumLive you follow by participating in or subscribing to

    • Beta Program

      Information about participating in our Beta program and getting early access to Altium tools

    All Resources

    Explore the latest content from blog posts to social media and technical white papers gathered together for your convenience


    Take a look at what download options are available to best suit your needs

    How to Buy

    Contact your local sales office to get started improving your design environment

    • Documentation

      The documentation area is where you can find extensive, versioned information about our software online, for free.

    • Training & Events

      View the schedule and register for training events all around the world and online

    • Design Content

      Browse our vast library of free design content including components, templates and reference designs

    • Webinars

      Attend a live webinar online or get instant access to our on demand series of webinars

    • Support

      Get your questions answered with our variety of direct support and self-service options

    • Technical Papers

      Stay up to date with the latest technology and industry trends with our complete collection of technical white papers.

    • Video Library

      Quick and to-the-point video tutorials to get you started with Altium Designer

    Planning for the Future with Cirris Systems and Altium

    Masha Petrova
    |  July 23, 2020
    Planning for the Future with Cirris Systems and Altium

    Technological advancements have been a hallmark of the past few decades, from the widespread adoption of internet technology to the smartphones and wireless devices we rely on every day to stay connected. While few could have predicted the speed at which technology has grown since 1984, back when Salt Lake City’s Cirris Systems was a startup company, designing products by hand on a humble kitchen table. Since then, they’ve become a major leader in the cable testing sphere, placing thousands of cable testers in the hands of customers on every continent.

    Internet and computer technologies require the use of extensive cabling systems that have to be tested for quality and functionality. Cirris Systems sought to bridge the gap between small shops and local vendors and the huge government, and defense and aerospace firms that require rigorous cable testing. Little did they know that someday, everyone from regional cable companies to public and private aerospace companies would rely on their testing products and adapters.

    Orlan Thatcher, Board Layout Specialist at Cirris Systems, could never have predicted the demand their services would generate. Thatcher has worked for the company since 1995, so he’s witnessed their success firsthand. As he reports, “I couldn’t imagine that cable-testing products would be a big business back then.” While keeping ahead of technology has been central to the company’s success, finding the right eCAD software tools has been a major challenge at Cirris Systems. The company struggled with six different software platforms before switching to Altium Designer. “As a dedicated PCB layout specialist who currently supports five electrical engineers, I needed a tool that would support my team as well as my eventual replacement.”

    Passing the Technology Torch

    Thatcher was already familiar with Altium Designer, because of its wide use by engineering peers, most notably VPI Technology Group’s Kelly Wigington, founder of the largest Altium User group in North America. Altium User groups are one of the ways the PCB design community interact directly with Altium, and few are more passionate about user groups than Wigington. Through his efforts, Altium Designer became more than a PCB tool in Northern Utah. It became almost a prerequisite to getting hired by the region’s many engineering firms.

    Cirris System's IT Department using Altium 365

    Wigington’s overwhelming enthusiasm and widespread adoption of Altium Designer helped seal the deal for Cirris Systems. As Thatcher elaborates, “Altium has become the primary tool for active electronic design in our area. While I intend to continue working for several more years, it made sense to increase the pool of available talent to choose from, once it is time to hire my replacement. That made Altium a logical choice.”

    During the adoption process of Altium Designer, Altium’s library and component management tool, Concord Pro, was released via Altium 365, a cloud-based platform. This gave Thatcher and his team the ability to harness the power of both tools in one easy solution. The addition of Concord Pro and Altium 365 helped solve multiple challenges Cirris Systems faced, including component data management and revision control.

    “We market our product to many industries, and some of those require certifications that mandate tight revision control and process tracking, so there was a real urgent need to consolidate and manage the data associated with our hardware development. Concord Pro hosted on Altium 365 is a good fit to meet these needs,” Thatcher explains.

    As Thatcher and everyone else at Cirris Systems soon learned, there was another good reason to have Altium 365 on hand.

    Orlan Thatcher Quote

    Coming Through In a Crisis

    Cirris Systems, like nearly all businesses in the United States, were caught off guard by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020. The company went from working onsite to working remotely almost overnight to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.

    Before the implementation of Altium 365, this transition would have all but crippled production. As Thatcher elaborates, “Before COVID-19, we were developing the next generation of cable testing units internally. There was also an ongoing push, which was in place well before the current lockdown occurred, to make secure access to our work files and tools available wherever our people happen to be.”

    The need for remote work options would have been overwhelming for Cirris System’s IT department, but with Altium 365, Thatcher and his team were able to transition to remote work without the need for new servers, VPNs or any downtime.

    “Our electrical engineers and myself have been using Altium 365 every day from our homes to do everything from sharing designs to preserving tight revision and process controls that our bigger aerospace and aviation clients now expect,” Thatcher explains, “And once we’re ready to return to the office, we’ll always be able to work from anywhere, whether it’s at home, at all the tradeshows we normally attend or onsite with a client.”

    As the team continues to explore all of the different ways Altium Designer, Concord Pro and Altium 365 can make their lives easier, Thatcher is confident that he’s found the right system to pass onto his replacement and future designers for years to come. “I expect to be using Altium when I retire,” he concludes with a chuckle.

    About Author

    About Author

    Masha Petrova is a VP of Brand Marketing at Altium.  She has a passion for bridging the communication gap between business leaders, developers and customers. After receiving her PhD in aerospace engineering from UC San Diego, she spent 15+ years in hi tech and engineering software industries.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home