Nope - I'm not talking about automobile transmissions ...
I'll continue my series on the SPB16.2 new product features in the coming weeks.
I wanted to take a brief break and talk about, or more importantly learn from you, some of the basic techniques you use in constructing PCB library components. While this may appear to be a simple exercise in building parts for design entry, there are many facets to EDA libraries - symbols, physical views, BOM data, simulation models, mechanical details - to name a few. And then, there's the management of libraries - part request processes, version control, life cycle management, etc. Several products in the SPB product space can be used - Allegro PCB Design Workbench (ADW), PCB Librarian Expert (Part Developer), Allegro Librarian, etc. Web access provides some unique capabilities in accessing component data and the automation of library parts. The EDA Librarian experience is more vast than most designers know.
Libraries are near and dear to me - I "grew up" in the EDA world (back then Computer Aided Engineering - CAE) working for a defense contractor that utilized the Valid solution. I was the company's first "official" EDA Librarian. Sure, I constructed parts and simulation models, but I also worked with teams to develop best practices, templates, and techniques to increase my productivity. Some of these best practices are incorporated into the Cadence PCB libraries we supply today.
I also wrote an automated part generation program called GenPart when I joined Valid. It was considered "AE-ware" and freely provided to many customers. There were a few key FAEs who helped distribute GenPart to the customers, obtained valuable input to tune the program, and also assist with some of the algorithms. Mike Swienton was one of these FAEs and he continues to provide pre-sales support for the SPB team. It goes without saying, that with over 25 years of design and EDA industry experience, Mike is an recognized expert! GenPart became popular enough that Valid adopted the core code and developed a product called RapidPart which has eventually evolved into today's PCB Librarian Expert. I'm told there are still some pieces of GenPart that exist in today's PCB Librarian Expert product.
There are so many different areas of library development and management I'd like to chat about with you, and hopefully we'll explore those in future blog posts, but for this week, I'd just like to focus on the high level aspects of getting a part built for designers.
Specifically, I'm curious how many librarians use automated methods (e.g. PCB Librarian, ADW, home-grown utilities, etc.) versus the manual method in constructing schematic symbols.
Do you rely on the automated approach for more than 95% of the part construction and then "tweak" the remaining details manually?
Do you construct parts in a completely manual fashion? If so why?
Do you utilize Cadence supplied libraries and/or component data via the web?
Do you employ a process (or automated approach) to verifying the correctness and completeness of the part?
Do you leverage other groups to help with part details (i.e. Component Engineering, Manufacturing, Procurement)?
Do you leverage any part management/release/version control software (e.g. Allegro PCB Design Workbench, PDM systems, internal programs)?
Depending upon where our discussions lead, I'd like to explore additional aspects of library development in more details and see if we can share some best practices. There's a good chance some Cadence EDA library experts will soon join the blogging fray and take us into deeper discussions.
As always - I look forward to your feedback and continued discussion on this topic.