The 16.6 release of Allegro PCB Editor has several new enhancements for team design work (design partitioning) that help reduce the number of .DPF (design partition file) import/export iterations the PCB Design team experiences in the physical team design flow.
Designed to reduce the number of iterations between the master and partition designers, it’s now possible for partition designers to move components or route signals outside their respective boundaries. The master designer controls whether boundaries are flexible by the enablement of a new workflow manager option called "Soft Boundary". This behavior is an "all-or-none" situation for the team. Partition designers do not have the ability to control this behavior. Prior to 16.6, components could always be moved outside the boundary of a partition to allow the user more space to work in the partition, but when the partition was exported back to the master designer, components outside the boundary were ignored. When soft boundaries are enabled, those components moved outside will now be saved during the export.
Partition designers are now permitted to edit physical, spacing, and electrical constraints. The master designer controls whether constraint editing privileges are granted to the team by the enablement of a new workflow manager option called "Edit_cns". Similar to the flexible boundary enhancement, this behavior is an all-or-none situation. Partition designers do not have the ability to control read/write behavior of constraint entry.
Available in the workflow manager, the ECO wizard is designed to help streamline the process involving new netlist submits. This entails importing all outstanding partition databases, netlist import, then re-export of partition files.
Below are some details and screenshots that highlight the new 16.6 design partitioning capabilities. The example considers a design that has been setup with two partitions (partition_2 and partition_3). In order to utilize these features, you will need to use the team design product option:
In the Workflow Manager selected from the Place > Design Partition menu, you can enable partitions 2 & 3 for export, enable the "Edit Cns" and "Soft Boundary" options, and enable "Suppress Mail":
When viewing the partitioned database, it’s easy to determine what elements are owned by the respective partition designer by the intensity level of the graphic display. "Owned" elements appear is the normal display, whereas "un-owned" elements are dimmed:
The enablement of soft boundaries allows a specific partition designer to move components and to route across the boundary and connect to the pins of the components that are owned by your partition. For the condition of a connection sourced from an owned pin terminating to an un-owned pin, if there is a desire to route this connection, you will not be able to snap the route to the pin location. Consider using either Add Connect or Slide to position the route end point at the terminal location. Otherwise, you can leave the route as dangling for the master designer to complete.
You can have a condition where two designers are editing the same constraint object. In our example, you can enable Partition_2 and Partition_3 then click "Cns Report" located in the lower right of the form. This report will provide a constraint differences summary between the master and partition file:
You can use the tree widget in the left pane to review the differences:
and then import Partition_2 and Partition_3:
With respect to the constraint edit change that impacted both partitions, the order in which the partitions are imported back to the master determines which edit is accepted. In the case where both partitions were enabled for import, Partition_2 would take priority based on the ordering within the workflow manager. "First in, wins" best describes the conflict resolution technique.
Please share your experiences with these new 16.6 features.
Jerry “GenPart” Grzenia