Accelerating electronic product design

5th August 2021
Joe Bush

Electronic products are more than just printed circuit boards (PCBs). PCB designers create the boards (components, copper traces, silkscreens) in the context of a specific device. They have to closely collaborate with the mechanical engineers who define the shape of boards and their enclosures, including mounting holes and the placement of critical components, to have the confidence that everything will fit exactly as planned when it goes to manufacturing.

When PCB designers and mechanical engineers work together to design electronic products, they often struggle to keep their work coordinated because they use completely different Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools. Altium’s CoDesigner allows mechanical engineers to design alongside PCB designers and supports multiple MCAD software platforms (including PTC Creo, Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS, Autodesk Inventor, and Autodesk Fusion 360).

“The benefit of Altium’s CoDesigner capability is the ease of quickly sharing the updated design to check potential mechanical conflicts in SOLIDWORKS. With this, our industrial designers can indicate what changes are desired from their point of view and make it easier to discuss the design,” said Gregory Knauff, Lead Hardware Engineer at SODAQ, a Dutch IoT development house.

Typically, when PCB designers and mechanical engineers have to work together on the same design, both are continually importing, exporting, and converting files, adding hours of manual labor, data loss, and rework to the design process. The CoDesigner capability eliminates that clunky and often tedious process.

Nyckle Sijtsma, Lead Industrial Designer at SODAQ, concurs. “I love how quickly design changes from the hardware team can be 'pulled' and tested with the latest 3D models using the CoDesigner capability. Also, being able to make changes in real-time helps in discussions between hardware and industrial design to test different ideas and shapes together quickly.”

This streamlined process ensures MCAD and ECAD are always in sync, yielding greater productivity, faster prototyping and shorter time-to-market, helping Altium Designer users change how they collaborate with their MCAD colleagues without the need to change the way they work.

Putting the CoDesigner capability to work with Quantel Laser

Altium in collaboration with Quantel Laser, a division of Lumibird and a global leader in laser technology created a behind-the-scenes video exclusive (below) to showcase the CoDesigner capability in action.

Jeremie Waller, Sr. Electrical Engineer and Laine McNeil, Sr. Mechanical Engineer, can guide you through a hands-on demonstration of how they use Altium’s MCAD CoDesigner capability to optimise and streamline the way their design teams work together. Jeremie is using Altium Designer while Laine works with SOLIDWORKS for MCAD while collaborating with CoDesigner in Altium 365.

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