Connecting the electronic design flow

Richard van der Werf, Niek ten Hove
Reading time: 6 minutes

Electronic design automation (EDA) tools are widely used for PCB, FPGA and IC design. As standalone tools, they work perfectly for many designers and design departments. Product lifecycle management (PLM) usually isn’t that well integrated into the flow, but that makes it no less essential, argue Richard van der Werf and Niek ten Hove of Dizain-Sync.

In recent years, there has been a lot going on in the EDA market. Vendors like Altium, Cadence and Siemens (Mentor Graphics) have constantly been advancing their tools, to improve the design process but also to further optimize the integration between various disciplines and global departments. However, there’s more to a successful electronic design flow than a powerful tool with good vendor support.

The electronic design flow in companies typically consists of many different tools. Design managers often ask us for help on the automation of this environment, ie the software, the processes and the ways of working. In small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the responsibility for the flow usually lies with a designer, rather than a dedicated EDA engineer, and major changes in the environment require additional knowledge and support, which we then provide. At larger companies, every discipline generally has its own toolset with just a basic integration with the outside world and our work includes advising or supporting an ECAD or IT department.

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