Munich, Germany and Westford, MA, USA – Zuken has made another step to strengthen the link between the electronics and mechanical design worlds by enabling parallel MCAD/ECAD design with a new collaborative software tool called Board Modeler. This forms part of company-wide strategy underway to deliver increased versatility and reliability between the mechanical, electrical, and electronics design disciplines. Board Modeler docks in Zuken’s electronic systems and PCB design suite CR-5000, allowing layout and mechanical engineers to work more closely together in synchronization from as early in the process as floor planning. In this way Board Modeler gives engineers the power to rise to the challenge of integrating PCBs into ever more mechanically complex products, while saving time through parallel working and the elimination of design re-work.
Layout Engineer Gets True 3D
For the first time, with Board Modeler the layout engineer can easily work in a 3D environment modeller. The true component shape is now visible, rather than just showing items approximated as a cuboid or cylinder (2.5D). This is achieved by performing 3D conversions of footprint data, importing parts made by MCAD, or by using Zuken’s online component database, which contains over 4.5 million accurately detailed 3D components. This enables the engineer to carry out floor planning, perform collision checks between the PCB housing, components or other PCBs; all working with the true 3D component shapes. Board Modeler also eliminates duplication of effort between electronic and mechanical design by permitting the layout engineer to import board outlines, pre-placed parts and obstacles directly from mechanical CAD tools. It also automatically back-annotates any board and placement changes, as board outline and restriction areas, into the PCB design, whether new or imported, so any required layout action, like re-routing, can be done easily. Industry standard neutral file formats, including STEP, ACIS , STL and IDF, are used to bridge the gap to virtually any mechanical CAD system.
This solution is the logical step forward from Zuken’s previous tools – EM Designer and EM Checker, and improves 3D capabilities through direct integration with board design solution CR-5000 Board Designer and manufacturing board panelling solution Board Producer, allowing users to handle more complex 3D data. This smooth integration also means board layout structures, with all the material properties and electrical constraints, can be exported via Board Modeler into numerical simulation tools for mechanical, electrical or thermal verification. Simulation results can then be easily back annotated into CR-5000 tools for design modifications.
Board Modeler also features a multi-board option that allows design verification of multiple boards and chassis on a multi-site global basis.