Unifying a Comprehensive Collection: PCB Library Management

Created: March 20, 2018
Updated: September 25, 2020

Kitchen graphic

Remodeling my kitchen was a project long overdue. I made a mental list of the materials I would need, such as appliances, cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and paint. Eagerly I drove to the local discount warehouse to peruse the materials. I sat with the store clerk making plans and quickly realized I’d need more than a few mental notes to stay organized.

Keeping track of individual tasks within any big project is a chore if you don’t have a process for integrating the pieces cohesively. Disorganization can add time and cost to your project. Being able to unify tasks by connecting information needs powerful, uncomplicated tools that can help with things like PCB library management.

Collecting information into one place and making it available globally enables efficient design and development. The following is a look at a few of the pieces that define the PCB Library Management system for integrating component information in one place. With this system, you may powerfully enable parallel use across the enterprise.

Each Component Model Contains Comprehensive Information

Instead of keeping component information in differing locations, the PCB Library Management system allows collection of part parameters into one location. The information needed for PCB layout, such as landing pattern and courtyard, is available in the library, along with part symbol, and variant information.

Dimensional information to allow 3D representation of the part assists your mechanical team to visualize within the assembly envelope. Additionally, added information for your supply chain, listing vendors who make the part and suppliers who carry the part are logged in the tool.

Microcontrollers on a circuit board
Implement Unified Design Tools and Enjoy the Design Process

By logging all information about a part in one location, the part and its symbols are reusable across multiple designs. Engineers are assured that their intent with choosing the part will be maintained with integrity throughout the organization. Any changes to the model are propagated through to all other departments, eliminating errors, saving money, and preventing manufacturing iterations.

Wizards Create Components for the Library

Some wizards, like PCB Component Wizard and IPC Compliant Footprint Wizard, are visual and intuitive, anticipating your next move while you are creating. Working directly from the vendor datasheet, dimensions are easily logged and soon both a 2D and a 3D representation of the part is before you. It is now ready for placement onto your, and others, design layout!

Both IBIS and SPICE simulation is Integrated Into the Models

Powerful simulation tools are available, such as IBIS and SPICE, to get you away from the guesswork in idealized models and into more accurate representations of the designed circuit block real-time behaviors. Using these simulators provides an early look at the circuit’s behavior and can help troubleshoot problems before the hardware is built. This can prevent board rolls and get products to market faster.

PCB Library is Directly Linked to ActiveBOM

With library management unified, all information for the part is located in the same element that is used for both layout and for BoM management. Sourcing of parts with updated pricing and availability provides elegant planning for your Purchasing Department, including user-configurable supplier choices.

With direct links to your company’s part inventory, Supply Chain is able to source the parts in parallel with the development process, so the fabbed PCBs and parts kit arrive at the assemblers house at the same time.

PCB component pieces and microprocessors
Using Unified Tools Will Have Your Talking to Your Bill of Materials Automatically

Using parts information originated in the same framework that Altium 18 provides in its PCB Library Management system prevents discontinuities throughout your design, development, and build process, getting consistent information to all your partners at the same time. Engineers are assured that selection and placement of a component for the design are available throughout the enterprise in one framework.

Should any updates be made to a component, the change will propagate through all locations where information about the components is located, ensuring the integrity of designs over time. Engineers have access to costing and can thoughtfully choose components for both design and cost.

Using strong PCB design software can not only meet but exceed your organizational and communication needs. Altium’s ActiveBOM is here for your development needs. If you’d like to find out more contact an expert at Altium today.

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