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

    Using Configuration Management to Reduce Design Errors and Promote Re-use: Part 1

    Max Clemons
    |  February 21, 2017

    A Configuration Management system can be used, along with an existing Design Data Management system, to further promote good data integrity. So just what is Configuration Management, and how can the general principles be applied to an electronic design environment? This blog series aims to answer some of the questions surrounding this topic, as well as provide a basic framework for easily integrating a useful Configuration Management system.

    A[a] well-structured Design Data Management system can go a long way to ensure data integrity throughout a design. By strictly controlling each document during the design process, and keeping a comprehensive record of changes and approvals over that design’s lifetime, the chance of a costly failure can be reduced significantly.

    A Configuration Management system can be used, along with an existing Design Data Management system, to further promote good data integrity. So just what is Configuration Management, and how can the general principles be applied to an electronic design environment? This blog series aims to answer some of the questions surrounding this topic, as well as provide a basic framework for easily integrating a useful Configuration Management system.

    What is Configuration Management?

    Configuration Management (CM) has been developed and standardized across several industries. Most notably, applications where high-reliability is critical, such as military/defense, aerospace, and medical technologies, have fully utilized and benefitted from the adoption of CM. The idea behind the system is simple: by controlling who can make changes, and what changes they can make, a strict organizational structure with checks on critical design elements is established.

    This may sound strikingly similar to the concept of Design Data Management (DDM), and in fact, the two are complimentary. The difference lies in which types of data items are managed. As shown in Figure 1, DDM is applied to documents directly used to develop a product, which for an electronic design, would include such items as Schematic and PCB documents, components, and generated outputs. CM, on the other hand, affects items one level removed. Specifically, this refers to the tools directly used to create those Design Documents, i.e. software and environment configurations.

    Figure 1: Managed Configuration Items are applied during the creation of Managed Design Documents. Both are vital aspects of a product’s lifecycle.

    How Does Configuration Management Save Cost?

    There are a few key ways a CM system can help save cost, after the initial setup. It’s important to understand that implementing a CM system will help streamline any design process, ultimately saving time and money in the long run, but this is not its primary benefit. CM’s true value lies in its ability to significantly reduce the chance of a product’s failure after development.

    Document Templates

    Standardized documentation is the first step in creating a useful CM system. If a consistent set of templates are provided and enforced, it is virtually guaranteed that each design will meet your organization’s pre-configured set of standards.

    Output Options

    Like templates, pre-configured and standardized output options will help ensure consistent documentation. Properly setting up a generic set of output options, applicable to every design, means that a redundant task can be eliminated from each design cycle.

    Software Preferences

    Controlling each user’s environment, by restricting and managing their preferences, promotes consistency during a design.

    Simply being consistent with these settings and configurations is a good way to improve design cycle operations, but it does not create a true enterprise-level CM system. A proper CM system adheres to the same guidelines as DDM, which includes dividing users into roles based on their function, and granting access controls for each user role. Furthermore, Configuration Items, like Design Documents, must follow a consistent revision and lifecycle scheme, with a system of checks and approvals in place for promoting data from design to production. These topics will be covered in more detail later in this blog series.

    Configuration Management with Altium

    technology is Altium’s system for DDM, and the the Team Configuration Center (TC2) introduces an enterprise-level toolset for Configuration Management. TC2 (shown in Figure 2) allows specific Configuration Data (Preferences, Schematic Templates, and Output Jobs) to be controlled and managed for users in the same way as other items. When users working in an Enterprise Environment open Altium Designer®, they will be required to log in, and their configuration will be accessed immediately.

    Figure 2: TC2 interface showing environment configuration data, including Preferences, Schematic Templates, and Output Jobs

    At this point, users will no longer be able to freely modify their Preferences, nor will they be able to access Schematic Templates and Output Jobs other than those allowed by their Environment Configuration. This ensures that the Altium environment, like the documents created in AD, will meet a certain standard and level of data integrity.

    Later in this blog series, I’ll discuss how to organize users into useful roles, the criteria for determining access controls, and some basic suggestions for setting up and formatting configuration documents.

    [a]Title ideas:

    1. "How to reduce Design Respins through Configuration Management"
    2. "Using Configuration Management to eliminate design errors and promote re-use"
    3. "Reduce Design Spins and Promote Re-Use with Holistic Configuration Management"
    4. "Introduction to Configuration Management and TC2"

    Check out Altium in action...

    Powerful PCB Design

    About Author

    About Author

    Biography

    most recent articles

    Back to Home