PCB Design Tools In The 3D World Design Challenges

- Jul 26, 2018-

Traditionally, circuit board designers have relied on design prototypes to ensure the shape, fit and functionality of the design before manufacturing.Although feasible, this method has many disadvantages.First of all, the designer is not sure whether the circuit board is suitable until the actual prototype is made.Second, this method will generally lead to the design process needs to make more than one prototype.Moreover, multiple prototypes are time-consuming and the average cost for a moderately complex design prototype is $8,929.Any additional time or expense during the design process will not only affect a company's competitiveness, but also hinder our entry into new businesses, which makes it easy to understand why this approach is unpopular.
Another drawback is that PCB design has traditionally been two-dimensional.Basically, designs are created in 2D, hand-marked and passed on to mechanical design engineers.Mechanical engineers used mechanical CAD software to redraw the design in 3D.This method is time-consuming and error-prone because it is completely manual.Therefore, it cannot provide competitive differentiation for the design of the next generation of electronic products.The problem is clear now that circuit board designers need to find better ways to view and analyze their increasingly complex designs.
The ultimate goal of PCB designers is to create products for the real world (with three dimensions), so the best solution is to use a design tool with advanced 3D functionality.It allows designers to view real 3D images before production, saving time and money (figure 1) by eliminating the need to make prototypes.You can easily generate accurate 3D models and then use them for PCB layout in real 3D.In addition, the 3D model of the target shell can be imported into the PCB design to ensure that the designed circuit board can be perfectly placed in the shell.Finally, designers can confidently submit their designs for production.
The 3D export function provides the designer with the ability to perform further analysis in other analytical tools, such as thermal analysis and electromagnetic simulation analysis.For every today's wireless-connected, compact battery powered device, the heat dissipation effect depends entirely on the shape of the circuit board, a key feature.Due to these features, 3D capabilities in PCB design tools are absolutely essential for the rapid, accurate and low-cost design of next-generation electronics.
1. The value of adding 3D functionality to PCB design is undeniable, so many companies are currently using it as a promotional point.However, the 3D capabilities provided by these design tools are quite different.In order to realize all the benefits of 3D, it is not enough to only realize the view of real 3D images, but also to extend the functions of all 3D, including:
2. Ability to create 3D animation/video for design.With this feature, the designer can easily share and display his product designs, and even use them as marketing materials.It can also promote better collaboration with other design teams or manufacturers.For example, with a 3D video, the designer can show the manufacturer what the finished product looks like after assembly, and video can also be used to explain the welding sequence of components on the circuit board.
3. Ability to import 3D models (including components) into circuit board design.Note that some design tools lack this functionality and only allow designers to perform basic visualization and element clearance checks in 2D form.However, if the shell and other mechanical objects can be imported, it can ensure that the components are placed in the right place in the first place.
4. Ability to support 3D inspection in design rules.Since rules are a real-time guide to the design process, this is a very important function.The 3D design rule checker can tell the designer whether there is interference in the 3D space (on all axes) between two components, between components and shells, or between components and radiators.
Ability to model copper layers in PCB inner layer structures.Despite the use of an ECAD package with 3D capabilities, problems can still arise in the manufacturing process.Problems are discovered at this stage of the late design, which will greatly increase the cost.The ability to model copper layers in the PCB inner layer allows the designer to easily view and verify the connection or thermal connection between the pins and the inner layer.