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

Downloads

Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • PCB DESIGN SOFTWARE
  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool

  • NEXUS

    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • CLOUD PLATFORM
  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • COMPONENT MANAGEMENT
  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PRODUCT EXTENSIONS
  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions
  • EMBEDDED
  • TASKING

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • TRAININGS
  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • ONLINE VIEWER
  • 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

    ALTIUMLIVE

    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

    Downloads

    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

    Start Your Schematic Right with the Best Electronics Parts Management

    Altium Designer
    |  August 3, 2018

    Picture of a model airplane built from a kit

    I loved building models when I was a kid. Whether it was airplanes, cars, ships, or tanks, it didn’t matter as long as I was gluing pieces together. You can imagine my disappointment then when none of my sons shared the same interest. In fact we just discovered a couple of old models tossed in a box that they had started and then given up on. The really sad thing is that the instructions for these kits are missing, and I have no idea now what belong to which models making them useless.

    Throwing away old model kits because of questionable pieces is one thing, but it’s quite another to figure out how to work through questionable on your schematic. Yet problems like this seem to happen over and over again because engineers do not have the best electronics management for their designs. The good news though is that there are some helpful tools out there that can help you to organize your management. The even better news is that these tools are available to work alongside your PCB design software. Let me tell you more.

    Connect Your PCB Design with Your Component Vendors

    Unlike a model airplane, whose will remain unchanged in the box until you put it together, the in your schematic are always changing. Their prices and availability information will change on a regular basis, and their functional data may be updated as well. It is easy to get out of synch with any or all of this information and isn’t surprising when a schematic ends up with problems due to out of date component information.

    The best way to keep this problem under control is to use bill of materials tools that have a connection to your preferred vendors. With this connection, you will always have the most current component information and data available to you. This way your budget won’t get destroyed by unexpected changes in pricing, and your manufacturers won’t be surprised by that are unexpectedly out of stock. Your designers will also appreciate having that direct connection to the vendor for the latest component data and specifications.

    Organizing electronic components can be a difficult inventory to manage. Between manufacturers, suppliers, materials and suppliers, an updated electronic catalog might seem daunting without the right tools to help. Even when pursuing production with contract manufacturers, the electronics industry is not without its obsolescence. Maintain your components and component information effectively to avoid component obsolescence and obtain supply chain management.

    Screenshot of AD18 Active  in best electronics  management

    Having current component information and data at your fingertips is a real benefit

    The Best Electronics Management Software Will Work with Your PCB Design Data

    Another benefit you will realize with modern bill of materials tools is that the electronics management software can work directly with your PCB design data. Usually, design engineers have to assemble a list from their schematic, or the layout designers have to generate a bill of materials from their PCB. Although these systems are tried and true, they are reminiscent of the “tail wagging the dog” instead of the other way around.

    You will have much more control over your components with management software that interacts with your design data. This system will give you a wealth of new functionality that you didn’t have before. To start with you can open up your electronics database in the tools, and use that list to select specific in the design. This in turn will highlight or select those same in the schematic or the layout. You can also query the tools for specific part information or specifications making design reviews easy. And let’s not forget that tools still have all the functionality to create a standard bill of materials report just as you have always done.

    Screenshot of AD18 unified design environment in best electronics  management

    Having your tools work together with your PCB design tools is another critical benefit

    Bill of Materials Management Tools Embedded in Your Design Software is the Ultimate Solution

    What really makes all of this work together in the best way possible is when the electronics bill of materials management tools are embedded within the PCB design software itself. You don’t have to worry about interfaces or translators or whether or not the different data structures will even support each other. Instead, you will have another tool that provides a portal into your electronics part database available as part of your overall PCB design system.

    The bill of materials tool that we use for our electronics part management software is Active from Altium. As part of the overall Altium system and thanks to Altium’s signature unified design environment, Active has been designed to work seamlessly with all of the other tools within the Altium PCB tool set. This gives you all the functionality that we’ve been talking about so far; the cloud connection with your preferred vendors, the ability to query and select specific part and highlight them in the other tools, and of course the ability to generate a bill of materials report in any style or format that you need.

    Does the ease of working with integrated electronics management software within your PCB design software sound like a helpful solution for you? If so then Altium ’s bill of materials software; Active , might be the answer that you are looking for. You can find out more information by talking to an expert at Altium.

    About Author

    About Author

    PCB Design Tools for Electronics Design and DFM. Information for EDA Leaders.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home