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Take Charge of Your PCB Design with This Bill of Material Software Free Trial

Created: January 28, 2019
Updated: December 31, 2020

Picture of New Year celebration in bill of material software free trial

New Year’s resolutions are often the focus of humor as people admit that they are difficult to keep. The old joke is; “last year I resolved to lose 15 pounds, only 20 more to go.” The important thing about resolutions though is that they show that you are taking charge of something in your life. Diet, exercise, learning, or whatever, the point is that you have seen something that needs to change and you are committing yourself to make it happen.

In today’s world of PCB design, we are seeing a significant problem with component shortages and supply chain issues. It is such a big problem that it can be tempting to stick our heads in the sand and hope that it just goes away. Or, we could look for ways to take charge of the problem and try to make it better. One thing that can help is by using design tools that have the capabilities in them to better organize and manage our components. These tools are already available in a PCB design system, and you can find out for yourself with a bill of material software free trial.


The Problem and How it Relates to You

The electronic component shortage crisis is big news these days, and a lot of people are talking about it. Even more people, such as PCB designers like you, are suffering because of it. To put it simply, the supply of components is much lower these days while their demand has gone through the roof. Lead times for some components have exploded and prices have as well. What this means for PCB designers is that the that they are used to having at their fingertips may no longer be readily available and they may cost a lot more than they used to.

This crisis is being driven by several factors including the exploding demand for new technology as well as manufacturers trying to conform to the demand by changing their production lines. Some of them that you are used to using may now be produced in lower quantities than you’ve grown accustomed to. This will drive PCB designers to re-evaluate their designs for different components, and redesign boards to switch to components that are available.

Picture of SMT component reels in bill of material software free trial

Reels of components in a chip shooter machine on an SMT assembly line


If It Were a Perfect World…

Face it; this is the new normal now, and it isn’t going to do any good to hide from the problem. In a perfect world, we would be conducting business as usual, but now we need to find ways to combat the component shortage problem. The best way is to be on top of our PCB before it impacts our projects.

Traditionally sourcing has been the domain of the procurement department. PCB designers would send their part requests and someone else would do the research and find the source. This process isn’t going to work in the current crisis though, PCB needs immediate accessibility to part stocks and resources so that they can design knowing what’s available. In a perfect world, you could just query part availability and price directly from your PCB design tools. The good news though is that these tools are already available for you to use.

Screenshot of AD18 Active  in bill of material software free trial Active will give you the component information that you need


How You Can Get a Bill of Material Software Free Trial

Altium comes with “Active,” a bill of materials management software free tool that opens up another portal into your design data. Instead of querying part information from the schematic or the layout, you can use Active to easily search, select, and report on any part of your design. With cross-select functionality, you can also use it to highlight either the schematic or the layout making design reviews much easier.

The feature that makes Active ideal for PCB designers in today’s component shortage crisis though is its ability to connect through the cloud with your part vendors. You no longer have to wait for someone else to do part research for you, you have that ability in your design tools. Whether you are searching for to use in a new design, or verifying design before your board goes to production, Active is the tool you need now.

PCB design software, like Altium, has online part search and verification tools that can help you through this current component shortage crisis. Active is more than a simple document generation tool, it is part of the entire unified design platform giving you the ability to take charge of your design. Find out more information about getting a free trial by talking to an expert at Altium.

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