Electronic Design

Partnership Yields Concurrent Mechanical and PCB Design

In a partnership with Dassault Systèmes, Zuken has launched Board Interchanger, an integrative add-on tool for true concurrent mechanical and printed-circuit board (PCB) design. With it, MCAD engineers gain interactive access to Zuken’s board design-data interface within Dassault Systèmes’ CATIA V5 tools for virtual design by linking to CR-5000 Board Designer, providing seamless integration with other workbenches. This integration specifically allows the MCAD engineer to set mechanical space requirements before the layout process and provides speedy digital mock-up of modeling for mechanical design reviews. This helps solve 3D design issues earlier in the design process and eliminates the need for any redesign.

The lack of integration between PCB and 3D mechanical tools historically required layout engineers to complete an initial board layout for subsequent review by MCAD engineers, which involved extensive layout rework. But systems houses are recognizing that collaboration across traditional departmental boundaries at every stage of the product development process can reap massive time, cost and quality savings.

With this in mind, Zuken’s objective with Board Interchanger was to enable MCAD engineers to get involved in the board layout process up-front and throughout the layout phase. Using 3D assembly models of boards generated with CATIA V5 (including the board outline, height-limited area and components, etc.), the MCAD engineer can transfer this information directly into the CR-5000 Board Designer database as a mechanical constraint.

By allowing layout engineers to use pre-defined 3D positioning that is established as “stable” from the start, layout engineers can work with MCAD-approved positioning for placement, wiring and via keep-out areas, while working within the restrictions of height-limited areas. This eliminates potential placement errors and design rework. There’s also fully automated cell-based generation of height-limit areas depending upon mechanical constraints.

Board Interchanger also provides a rapid mock-up facility for PCB modeling. By taking all the geometric data from CR-5000 Board Designer the new tool can translate this to 3D shapes within CATIA V5, maintaining the layer structure as defined by the layout engineer. By pre-arranging component shapes within the parts library, designers can create elaborate PCB models. These models can then be used for mechanical design reviews of the overall assembly view of a complete electronic product. To facilitate the process of 3D floor planning of electrical components, Board Interchanger will also allow 3D collision checking between the housing, components, or other PCBs.

Revision 1.1 of Board Interchanger now available supports CATIA V5 R16SP4 and R17SP4. Contact Zuken directly for pricing and delivery information.

Zuken
www.zuken.com/board-interchanger

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