07 May 2015

Altium adds new features to high-speed PCB design tool

Altium has released the newest version of the company’s PCB design tool, Altium Designer 15.1. Included in this release are a number of new features to improve design efficiency with expansions to productivity, documentation, and high-speed design.

“Altium Designer 15.1 is building upon the solid foundation we’ve had in place since the original release of Altium Designer 15”, said Sergey Kostinsky, VP Engineering at Altium. “There’s incremental improvements upon every layer in the platform for both designers and fabricators alike. This update is a win-win for everyone involved in the design process, with greater accuracy in documentation features for fabricators, to expanded productivity and high-speed enhancements for electronics designers.”

The new features focus on improvements to the design ecosystem, from a design’s inception with electrical designers to the completed PCB with fabricators. While new productivity high-speed design features keep PCB designers at the top of their productivity game, numerous documentation features expand the communication of design intent to fabricators and project managers.

High-speed design configurations for length matching rules can now be configured in an easy-to-use wizard that automatically accounts for T-branches, components, signal pairs, and groups, reducing the time spent on setup for high-speed designs.

PCB designs can now be exported as 3D PDFs, allowing anyone with a compatible PDF viewer to view and rotate a design in 3D. Boards can easily be navigated with individual component selection, providing greater accuracy and design intent to fabricators.

Surface layers for rigid-flex designs can now be added with “bikini” coverlays that are fully visible in 3D and can be configured with the designer’s specific material needs. Coverlay edge clearance and expansion rules have also been added to the design rule options, providing users with precise control over coverlay applications.

Pads and vias can be easily be managed in a pad and via library, allowing users to define custom templates for pad shape and size. Templates can then be applied to specific groups of pads on a PCB for easy application, saving countless hours defining pad options individually.

The addition of a new Unions panel helps to better organize design data and align Union data with other PCB objects in a design. The Union panel will show a hierarchical view of Union types, Unions, and Union primitives for easy reference.

Overall, Altium Designer 15.1 expands upon an already robust set of features aimed at making the design process quicker and easier for today’s electronic designs.

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