Global Designers

Managing EDA Tools in a Global Design Environment – Part 2

Today I’m going to be talking about multi-site design. You might recall in the first blog post on this topic, that I looked at how to optimize your global design environment to ensure it is configured properly to manage both the EDA tools and the CAD library across multiple sites and regions. Today I’m moving on to discussing how it can be leveraged to truly empower multi-site design. You may think you’re already leveraging tools and resources across other sites and/or regions to accomplish multi-site design, but here’s some more ideas which you may not have already implemented.

Continually shrinking design cycle time

As time to market for many high tech products continues to be a paramount driver, various methods and techniques to reduce design cycle time are continually being developed and evaluated. For leading edge products with short lifespans, the first to market has the luxury of time, while the clock is ticking for the followers. In many cases the leader can produce multiple generations of a product before the follower brings their first “me too” product to market. An optimized global design environment can provide a competitive advantage that then allows for design cycle time compression without the need to add resources or to compromise quality. 

Manage and share work locally and globally

Design teams with resources distributed around the globe are a fact of life for many corporations today. The ability to work on a design continually, “following the sun” across multiple sites around the globe, may well be critical to your time to market success. Functional experts in different regions can be leveraged to continually move the design forward 24 hours a day. As mentioned in part 1 of this blog series, your EDA environment must in fact be a virtual design center that can seamlessly manage both the individual design objects along with their relationships at any point in time at any of your global design centers, ensuring correct configuration control throughout the design cycle. Proper engineering data management is essential to enabling distributed design teams to work efficiently and effectively together.

Partition the design for success

Multi-site design employing a “follow the sun” methodology is more than just moving the entire design container from one design center to another and then back again throughout a 24 hour period. The design team should first use their EDA tool to partition the design by functional area. For example, if a design contains Memory, Processor, and Power functional areas, the design container should be configured so that both the schematic and the PCB are partitioned along those same functional areas. Most EDA Tools support schematic partitioning using hierarchical blocks, but that’s the easy part, it also needs to support:

Partitioning of the PCB

  • In its simplest form involves dividing the board along predetermined functional boundaries with each designer routing to common virtual points,
  • Its more sophisticated form involves simultaneously designing without fixed boundaries. In a simultaneous design environment the results of design work carried out by each of the respective designers are updated promptly in each designers view. This allows the team to work efficiently while concurrently viewing (or checking) the work of each team member.

Management of schematic and PCB partitions (and their associated bill of materials) both individually and as a whole

For example, if one schematic partition is checked out from your EDM system for edits, the other partitions should still be visible as read only in the schematic editor. The same applies to the PCB.

Centrally managed component engineering data accessible to design engineers worldwide

The component engineering tools should “suggest” the most appropriate component to a design engineer for a given application based on corporate defined criteria such as price, availability, number of suppliers, pending obsolescence and reliability. This capability simultaneously improves quality while also properly managing component inventory.

I wish you success in  optimizing your global design environments, hopefully you too can reduce administration and foster better collaboration, and maybe apply these practices to other areas of design such as building solid foundations for multi-site design. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself, do you want to be the leader or the follower?

Links of interest:

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