Mentor boosts PADS PCB tool with features from high-end Xpedition suite

Mentor boosts PADS PCB tool with features from high-end Xpedition suite

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By eeNews Europe

The revised PADS family provides for a wide spectrum of electronics complexity by combining ease of learning and use of PADS products, with high-productivity design and analysis technologies and what Mentor characterises as “unprecedented” price-performance value. It builds on PADS and in some cases brings in certain technologies of the high-end Xpedition suite.

The independent engineers Mentor targets are typically part of a small to mid-sized company, or members of an isolated team within a large enterprise (e.g. building prototypes, validating reference designs, and performing manufacturability studies), and perform the complete design, analysis and manufacturing data delivery of printed circuit board electronic products. In the past, for engineers doing complex design, their only option was to look at enterprise solutions, and for many, these solutions were out of their reach due to budget and heavy infrastructure requirements.

As demands increase for the efficient design of electronic products, the burden often falls on independent engineers to perform the complete process but current lower-priced offerings run out of steam and do not support their complete needs. The design process can often include more than schematic entry and layout of the PCB and may require analysis such as signal integrity, thermal, design-for-manufacturability, and power distribution network integrity. As well, depending on the company, the complexity of the end-product can vary from relatively simple to extremely complex.

With these three PADS products (Standard, Standard Plus and Professional) starting at $5,000 including support, Mentor has combined classic PADS product ease of use with three levels of design technology at affordable pricing. This effectively creates, Mentor asserts, a new category of PCB design solutions.

The products include:

• PADS Standard – Schematic and PCB layout with starter parts library, part creation wizard and archive management priced at $5,000 including support.

• PADS Standard Plus – PADS Standard, plus advanced constraint management, high-speed net constraints and routing, central library creation and management, HyperLynx -powered signal/thermal/analog simulation, and variants design priced at $10,000 USD including support.

• PADS Professional – PADS Standard Plus, including Xpedition-powered technologies such as sketch routing, simultaneous 2D/3D layout, hierarchical placement planning, component and net explorers, manufacturing prep and design review/compare priced at $18,000 USD including support.

Technologies in the PADS products that differentiate them include:

• Correct-by-construction methodology: Enabled by a common constraint management system used across the flow to support advanced high-speed topologies and design for manufacture, minimising design cycle iterations by getting it right the first time.

• Integrated, accurate, easy-to-use analysis and verification technology: Designers can virtually-prototype their system powered by the HyperLynx product with signal/power integrity analysis, analogue or thermal simulation and advanced full-board rule checks, minimising expensive, time-consuming physical prototype cycles.

• Highest performing, highest capacity layout environment: uses technology powered from the Xpedition product for placement/planning, 2D/3D layout, dynamic power distribution design, and constraint-driven routing including the Sketch Router tool to tackle the most complex layouts.

• Part library access: Engineers can use over 360,000 parts via PartQuest, a fully integrated website that also merges Digi-Key part numbers with symbols and footprints, reducing manual errors and saving time and cost.

• Manufacturing preparation: Validation of the design for fabrication and test, and preparation for manufacturing hand-off and documentation.

• Maintenance of data integrity: Management and archiving of different design revisions, and simplification of reviews across the organisation.

Mentor’s sketch routing feature allows the designer to indicate, with a single drawn line, where a signal path should be placed, and the automatic tool features will complete (for example) complex bus routing following that gjidance.


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