PCB and Electrical Design: A World of Opportunity
It’s a great time for both PCB systems and electrical design. As a major provider of technology in both, we see notable changes happening in both areas. And we’re growing our international business team to help us build on these opportunities.
PCB systems design
The trends in PCB design have been moving towards higher speeds, lower power, denser layouts, and smaller boards for as long as I can remember. As this trend accelerates, signal integrity and power integrity are more important than ever. Rules of thumb (that cause you to overdesign) have long since become impractical, precision is required. But it’s not just an electrical problem, the efficient use of design space is more important than ever. True interactive 3D design is now essential for some applications (such as HDI), and becoming increasingly important in many other areas too.
There is also a recent push to finally find a modern replacement for Gerber and NC-Drill that is open and available to everyone. IPC-2581 holds the greatest promise in this area, and a consortium of vendors, manufacturers and users is building momentum behind it. This kind of cooperation is unprecedented.
Electrical wiring, fluid, and control systems design
The electrical market is expanding at a greater rate than the PCB market and that’s largely because it’s underserved. Everyone uses some kind of tool for PCB design, but many companies still don’t have an automated electrical/fluid design process, choosing instead to build prototypes and document them after the fact; although in many industries (such as automotive and aerospace) it’s long been mandatory. So we have an industry with a wide range of needs.
Interestingly, we could say that there are many common issues confronting PCB and electrical design. However, even though the terminology might sound the same, the solutions to the problems are quite different. For example, optimizing power usage is key in both areas, the use of simulation is increasingly important, and MCAD/ECAD collaboration is vital. But the most interesting opportunity I see is the level of automation available in the engineering process itself. Unlike the PCB world, not everyone doing electrical/fluid/control system design is using engineering tools. This represents a big opportunity for customers to automate their process and gain large benefits in design time, quality, and manufacturing.
How Zuken fits
These developments not only represent challenges and opportunities for customers, but also for Zuken. For me, one of the things I find most satisfying is when we show our tools to a customer and they say, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I need.” With our exceptional engineering and design solutions for both PCB systems and electrical, fluid and control systems, I’m excited about the possibilities and look forward to what’s coming next.