March 31, 2014
Companies and designers can cook up expensive flops pretty easily when they do not have design and analysis tools for the job. Two things tend to happen in this situation. One, you under-engineer the part. That can lead to early failures in the field, which jack up warranty costs, or safety problems, which can lead to mega headaches with lots of lawyers billing you in 10-minute segments. Two, you over-engineer, which runs up costs, makes products mind-numbingly complex, makes you less competitive and thus lowers profits. Just-right engineering is what you need to avoid this kind of junk.
The theme of Zuken’s 2014 Technical Webinar Series is “Build Products, Not Just Boards,” indicating that success lies in product-centric optimization, not shoving a product out the door any way you can. Zuken, you probably know, develops software that helps you optimize your electrical and electronic engineering design and related manufacturing processes. Among its products are the CR-8000 PCB (printed circuit board) 2D/3D design platform for system-level, multi-board planning and design as well as the E3.series of electrical, wire harness and fluid control design and documentation software. The company also offers data management solutions for PCB and electrical/fluid design as well as consulting services.
As of this writing, Zuken has broadcast two webinars, which are now available on-demand, and it has five more in the wings (through June). Topics in the series cover such areas as I/O optimization, component tolerance verification, DDR3 memory design and PCB design using an engineering knowledge base. My contact tells me that the plan is to offer you a new webinar every three or four weeks, so consider the schedule you’ll see at the end of today’s Check it Out link dynamic. Live webinars are broadcast twice to cover audiences in Europe and the U.S. The on-demand version goes online as soon as possible, usually the next day.
I watched the on-demand webinars, both a crisp 30 minutes long. The basic format includes a statement of the problem to be studied, an overview of the solution and a demonstration of how the issue was solved. Each webinar offered a demo covering the software brought to bear on the problem as well as a few of the application’s high-end features. Pacing was excellent, making it easy to follow along.
The first webinar, “Detect Wire and Component Tolerance Violations Early in the Design Phase and Lower Costs,” gives you an in-depth look into the company’s E3.Check electrical analysis product. E3.Check is part of the E3.series software suite for electrical wiring, control systems, and fluid engineering. E3.Check is an electrically aware design solution that goes beyond checking component connections to verifying that components operate within your specified tolerances. The premise is that violations of component tolerances can lead to design errors, which can mean field recalls and safety complications. To correct for this, companies often over-engineer, which can ruin a budget and price competitiveness. Better analysis early and often is what you need.
The second webinar, “Power Integrity Essentials for the PCB Design Process,” focuses on tools, techniques and best practices for getting your power integrity implementation right. It has the best explanation even your boss can understand of the job faced by PCB designers tackling PCB power integrity I’ve come across: Every power distribution system or network is a custom design. The whole event is filled with gems like that.
The third webinar in this series, called “Avoiding Poor FPGA I/O Assignments with a PCB Co-design Process,” airs live on Wednesday, April 2. The synopsis says that it provides a demonstration of a design flow where co-design of the FPGA (field programmable gate array) or other programmable devices and board layout can provide an optimized result without driving you crazy in the process. Key issues touched upon will include library part creation, schematic entry, I/O optimization and pin assignment management during board layout.
The goal of Zuken’s 2014 Technical Webinar Series seems twofold. First, it’s to show current Zuken users how to better use their software investment. Second, it’s to show potential users what Zuken offers designers of PCBs, IC packages, wire harnesses and similar assemblies in as clear and straightforward manner as possible. That goal is met and exceeded. This is good stuff. Hit today’s Check it Out link and see for yourself.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering