Industry Partnership Aims to Streamline PCB Design

(Image courtesy of SnapEDA.)
(Image courtesy of SnapEDA.)

SnapEDA and Mentor Graphics have joined forces in order to make SnapEDA’s component library accessible to users of Mentor’s printed circuit board (PCB) design tools, including PADS, DX Designer, and the PADS Maker Edition.

In the not-so-distant past, electrical engineers were forced to spend time and energy on the development of blueprints for each of their individual components. As a result, smaller design firms often faced significant barriers when entering into the industry, lacking the in-house part libraries their larger competitors could afford.

SnapEDA aims to overcome this paradigm by providing a comprehensive online repository of blueprints for circuit board design. Its database consists of millions of symbols, footprints and 3D models that can be used for PCB development. In addition, all of the parts contained within the company’s library are auto-verified and follow ANSI and IPC standards, reducing the risk of faulty components and unnecessary prototype iterations.

Some noteworthy features that differentiate SnapEDA’s library from other online part repositories include the site’s large community of users and the overall quantity of technical information that is made freely accessible. Users can search for the name of a part or a keyword (such as Bluetooth) and subsequently download symbols, footprints and 3D models of the component.

One of the PCB parts available in SnapEDA’s database. The site supplies information, ratings, and auto-verification for each of its components.  (Image courtesy of SnapEDA.)

One of the PCB parts available in SnapEDA’s database. The site supplies information, ratings, and auto-verification for each of its components. (Image courtesy of SnapEDA.)

In the event that a part is not available, users can submit a request for it, and a notification will be sent to them once the item has been added to the site. If a component is needed in a hurry, an engineer can pay a fee to have SnapEDA add the part to the library within 24 hours. Once the part has been added, the entire community can access it without paying any additional costs.“We’re seeing a shift in the industry where it’s no longer just large enterprises designing electronic products. Today, mid-size companies, startups and even non-traditional companies, such as apparel companies, are making printed circuit boards,” said Natasha Baker, founder and CEO of SnapEDA.

“The challenge they face is that—unlike large enterprises—they often don’t have dedicated librarians helping with parts creation. This means they’re spending valuable time creating parts from scratch. By making our library available for PADS & DX Designer, we’re empowering designers to spend more time with the powerful functionality in these tools, enabling them to build better products in less time.”

Mentor’s PADS product creation platform is intended to cater to individuals and small groups designing and manufacturing electronic parts and systems. PADS provides users with an array of tools that help with design entry, PCB layout, circuit simulation and electrical and thermal analysis capabilities. Like SnapEDA, Mentor is seeking to smooth the financial and technical speed bumps that slow the development cycle for compact design teams.

The standard edition of PADS features schematic design functionality, access to PADS AMS Cloud online circuit simulation, part selection and verification and the ability to create custom, IPC-compliant land patterns. PADS also provides an Archive Management system which allows users to produce reports for design reviews and compare stored builds in order to ascertain design differences. In addition, PADS’ Layout tool can generate 3D models of PCBs regardless of the type of circuitry (speed, dense, analog and/or digital, or RF).

The PADS platform is designed to be easy to use and provides detailed 3D renders of parts and components. (Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics.)

The PADS platform is designed to be easy to use and provides detailed 3D renders of parts and components. (Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics.)

“We are beginning to see a new breed of design engineer—those who do it all with a focus on the complete end product,” said Paul Musto, marketing director for the Board Systems Division of Mentor. “These individuals are attempting to navigate the many disciplines of design, e.g. mechanical, electrical, software, and are encumbered with the creation of so many different parts and libraries.”“SnapEDA’s solution for providing electronic libraries through an open forum is a huge time and energy saver for this community of engineers,” Musto added. “Mentor, a Siemens business, is pleased to partner with SnapEDA to help this community become more efficient and allow them to focus on their end product rather than spending cycles creating libraries.”

Mentor Graphics was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon. Acquired by Siemens in March of this year, the company continues to improve and update its product creation and design tools, helping hundreds of thousands of engineers around the globe conquer modern design challenges.

SnapEDA was launched in 2013 and is based in San Francisco. The company’s dedicated team of 10 engineers is committed to the ongoing effort of expanding their digital catalogue of PCB parts and components. SnapEDA’s userbase is growing exponentially as the company strives to build the industry’s most scalable, verified library of component models.

In a world where circuit board and part designs are becoming more complex with each passing year, SnapEDA and Mentor Graphics are working to simplify the PCB industry. Be it smartwatches, drones or circuit boards, their combined goal is to provide companies and individuals with new opportunities, tools, and abilities to create the electronic products of tomorrow.

To see what the future of circuit board design might look like, check out Nano Dimension’s CEO Discusses New Bioprinting Subsidiary.

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