If you are designing for the IoT or Industry 4.0, then you will know that the demand for a specialist PCB engineer has never been more critical.
As technology becomes more complex - demanding higher speeds, longer battery life and more signal integrity – so has the demand for more complicated PCB designs. While aerospace, hi-tech and defence industries have always required a specialist PCB software, at NT CADCAM, we are seeing new growth in the communications and home automation sectors as companies realise the potential of adding the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 to create a new generation of smart products.
Companies like Nest who used PCB design to create a whole new category of smart home devices by using the cloud to monitor your home’s cooling and heating, or Halo, who decided to leverage new technology to create a smarter smoke alarm able to communicate warnings of incoming tornados, hurricanes and wild fires.
Even the traditional patio umbrella has had a smart makeover. Shadecraft has incorporated AI and IoT into their ‘Sunflower’ umbrella so that it will automatically adjust itself to keep you in the shade.
Michael Edwards, PCB consultant at NT CADCAM, says the increasing complexity of products like these, mean engineers need efficient PCB design tools to help them navigate the fine line between delivering smaller mechanical design and more powerful electronic products.
“The hardest challenge facing PCB designers today is designing PCBs that balance functionality with practicality. Your mechanical engineers want their product to be the smallest or fanciest thing possible, while the demand from electrical engineers to pack it full of the most functionality has never been greater. The PCB engineer needs to balance all of these physical and electrical principles into their design to make the board viable and to ensure that it will work. That is where a PCB ECAD tool like SOLIDWORKS PCB comes into play.”
“What our customers like about SOLIDWORKS PCB is that it incorporates all the design capabilities into one package. SOLIDWORKS PCB software lets you do schematic capture, PCB layout and generate outputs all within one unified design environment. Plus, because of the software’s collaboration with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, its user-friendly interface is quick to pick up and makes designing these complex boards so much easier.”
Some of the features of SOLIDWORKS PCB include:
• Several routing and placement options to make the board layout process easier.
• Differential pair routing to help the designer route impedance controlled designs with properly tuned length between signal and pairs.
• Document comparison - quickly find discrepancies by comparing documents side-by-side with simple cross probing and selection tools.
“Industry trends are all pointing to a demand for skilled PCB engineers,” adds Michael. “Traditionally, not every company needed a PCB engineer. Many could get by with either an electronics or mechanical engineer doing a PCB design depending on the board being created. The challenge with IoT and Industry 4.0 is that electronics are getting more complicated, which means PCB design is getting more complex too.
“SOLIDWORKS PCB will intuitively help make your PCB design process easier and more efficient.”
For more information on SOLIDWORKS PCB, call Michael and the NT CADCAM team on 0808 250 4953.
Read more from Michael: Ensure Greater ECAD/MCAD collaboration