Design Gateway

The Challenges and Pitfalls of Designing a New PCB Design Solution – CR-8000 (Part 2)

When we released CR-5000 15 years ago, we were already thinking about our next generation system (now known as CR-8000). We made many prototypes and had numerous brainstorm meetings with our customers using these prototypes. This research process lasted more than seven years.

The first results of this project came in the form of Design Gateway (system-level circuit engineering) and then System Planner (system-level design planning). We released these products to a limited number of customers who expressed a strong intention to innovate their design process. We ran several projects with these customers to create a new design process by using our prototypes in their design process. The fruit of this iterative process was a wealth of suggestions and ideas that drove our new tools and helped us improve them.

System Planner: System-level design environment for initial planning and partitioning of electronic systems

In the process of researching our new design system, we considered what kind of PCB design environment would be most suitable for the new design process. We found that system design could no longer just be single board design (as in the past). For designing complex systems, a multi-board hierarchical structure was required. But at the time, the hardware technology simply didn’t offer the performance needed to achieve this.

It was the appearance of a 64 bit OS without memory size limitations, multi-core CPU and multi-thread processing technologies that has made high-performance possible. We also investigated 3D graphics engines used in computer games and decided to use all of these new technologies within our new PCB system.

The result was Design Force, a native 3D multi-board PCB and package design solution, with hierarchical structure for multi-boards.

There was no magic or miracles. CR-8000 is the result of Zuken’s long-term and consistent R&D efforts and having continual communications with our customers.

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Written by

As chief technology officer, I am based at Zuken's headquarters in Yokohama. I spend a lot of time travelling the world and visiting with our customers to help us understand their needs and continue to innovate and do exciting things with our software.

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