What Does Intelligent Routing Look Like?


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Many PCB design projects miss schedule commitments by 70% due to delayed routing and lack of automation. Moreover, due to late-stage design changes, schedules are not met, and the addition of those new items takes 10 times longer or more to incorporate than if changes were added from the beginning.

Fortunately, over the past several years, powerful routing capabilities have been added that allow designers to address a number of specific, critical tasks. These automated, intelligent PCB placement and routing technologies can accelerate design cycle times by 50% or more, eliminating issues due to collision and space constraints. By taking advantage of these new routing solutions, designers are three times more likely to achieve first-pass design success and produce quality board designs on time.

To outline what routing automation is, let’s review the four pieces of the puzzle that, when used together, can cut 50% or more of your design cycle time (and even more during design updates) from the simplest to the most complex designs.

1. Design Rules

Design rules are critical for designing a high-quality, robust PCB with automation, whether it’s part placement, creating plane areas, or routing traces. With rules being an instrumental part of PCB design, electrical designers should have access to any rule that can be defined, from the PCB tool to the schematic tool. Limiting rule entry to only the PCB level or partial rules from the schematic delays the development process. This type of system forces the electrical engineer to use antiquated methods of conveying design intent to the layout designer. A proper design flow would allow the electrical engineer to enter critical constraints, such as differential pairs; tuned routes; RF nets; high power; sensitive, low-amplitude analog or digital signals; DDR channels; and more. If they choose to define common constraints, they have that ability as well.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the October 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

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