Far field EM tool can model an entire car

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Cadence Design Systems has launched an EM far field analysis tool that, with enough cloud processing power, can model entire systems without having to use EMC test chambers.

The Clarity 3D Transient Solver is a system-level simulation solution that solves far field electromagnetic interference (EMI) system design issues up to 10x faster than legacy 3D field solvers and offers unbounded capacity.

The tool is built on Cadence’s massively parallel matrix solver technology simulate large designs that until now have been impractical or unable to be solved, reducing re-spins of prototypes. The key has been the use of the tool on the Cadence CloudBurst cloud infrastructure to scale the performance of the simulation software.

“Why this is the right time is the fact that Cloudburst which really is the answer for EMI testing without spending the money on a chamber with a 500 core simulator,” said Brad Griffin, Product Management Group Director, Multi-Physics System Analysis, Custom IC & PCB Group. “We can set all the software up running in an environment where everything is running properly and customers can log in and use the cloud for how many cores to use to get the simulation results back. This gives the same results as if you bult a prototype and put it in a test chamber,” he said.

“The issue has been the time to get the results, but this works with GPUs or CPUs to speed up the analysis so 32 cores can simulate a system. Finite Element Analysis is used at the package or PCB level and provides the near field stimulus to the transient solver. This is what’s really helping us determine the standard’s bodies compliance requirements,” he said.

“You can then feed that information back to the package level to see if there’s any noise that would disturb the signals on the board and you can validate the EM susceptibility [for EMI testing],” he said.

Next: Parallelisation for far field modelling coupled with board analysis

“Parallelisation is key to this and the fact that Clarity is architected from the ground up to support multiple cores is really the key.”

Entire systems, up to a car, can be simulated with enough cores, says Griffin. “This is full system simulation. The analysis is at the board level and multiple enclosures, so you can model an entire car,” he said. “If you can throw 1000 cores at the problem we can give you the answer,” he said.

“With Clarity 3D, clearly the automotive industry is one area that’s highlighted, we’ve been working on ECU designs, there’s a lot of energy emitted and building multiple prototypes is very expensive,” said Griffin.

One of the first users has a focus on automotive electronic control units (ECUs), although the tool is expected to be available generally in the first quarter of 2021.

“The Clarity 3D Transient Solver allows us to simulate with test-measurement accuracy so we can predict what will be measured during EMI testing, thereby ensuring our customers pass EMI compliance checking on the first pass while dramatically reducing the number of prototype designs,” said Satoshi Utsumi, CEO of Ultimate Technologies. “This allows us to shave up to three months off automotive ECU design cycles, reducing design cycle time by as much as 30 percent.”

This far field analysis also helps accelerate design cycles for consumer and healthcare equipment. “If you have to build a prototype and take it to a chamber the design cycle is limited but if you can simulate you have more time to build a product that’s cost effective,” said Griffin.

“The healthcare industry has realised that EMI is a tremendous challenge with very strict compliance standards and a tool like the transient solver will help companies building products that they can ensure that those standards are being met,” he added.

The Clarity far field solver can also be used with the Sigrity signal analysis technology that is highly integrated with Allegro for PCBs and Virtuoso tools to avoid EM problems during the design process.

“These use other techniques to reduce the problems that can come with a PCB before we get to the 3D analysis,” said Griffin. “Sigrity Aurora works on Allegro and provides in design analysis and gives feedback on creating conditions that cause EMI, such as a high speed trace too close to the edge of a board or over a split in a ground plane.”

“We really believe Sigrity helps in design and the sign off with Clarity should keep it to one or two iterations to get to the EMC tests in the chamber to make sure you pass the emissions tests,” he said.

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