Pick of the Week: Altium, Desktop EDA Partner for ECAD, MCAD Integration

Integration synchronizes capabilities between applications.

Integration synchronizes capabilities between applications.

Integration synchronizes capabilities between applications.

Altium Ltd. (San Diego, CA) has partnered with Desktop EDA (Essendon, VIC, Australia) to provide designers with advanced ECAD and MCAD integration. The new add-on applications, Desktop EDA SolidWorks Modeler and the IDF Modeler, are available for Altium Designer electronic design software. The extension apps for Altium Designer and their companion plug-ins form a bridge between the ECAD and MCAD design worlds, say the companies, who add that productivity is greatly increased through the full synchronization capabilities between the target applications.


Altium Designer. Image courtesy of Altium Ltd.

SolidWorks Modeler for Altium Designer allows PCB designs to be edited in both SolidWorks and Altium Designer without the need for an intermediate file. This bidirectional design system integration eliminates translation issues, saves time, and provides a more detailed model of the PCB design in SolidWorks. By including PCB copper layers in the transfer, the design in SolidWorks can then be used as a starting point for advanced mechanical CAD operations, such as thermal simulation. Changes made in SolidWorks can be automatically updated in Altium Designer and vice versa.

Key features include the ability to create a SolidWorks assembly from a PCB and the ability to obtain board outline, mounting holes, routing keepouts, height rules, and component location data from SolidWorks into your PCB. SolidWorks Modeler for Altium Designer comes with 500MB of SolidWorks parts. SolidWorks Modeler for Altium Designer is available for Altium Designer 13.

Desktop EDA

SolidWorks Modeler for Altium Designer. Image courtesy of Desktop EDA.

Desktop EDA’s IDF modeler app for Altium Designer allows users to export and import a complete model of a 3D PCB in versions 2 and 3 of the industry-standard IDF file formats. When coupled with a companion Desktop EDA plug-in for the target MCAD design tool, such as SolidWorks, teams have full synchronization features including PCB copper design elements, say the companies. By allowing PCB designs to be updated using an IDF file, PCB designers are freed from the typical challenges faced when collaborating with MCAD teams.

In addition to SolidWorks, Desktop EDA’s IDF companion plug-ins are available for Autodesk Inventor and Siemens Solid Edge.

“By partnering with Desktop EDA, we’re extending Altium’s market-leading position as a native 3D PCB design system provider,” said Daniel Fernsebner, director of technical partnerships for Altium, in a press statement. “Desktop EDA apps for Altium Designer focus on bringing greater productivity to mechanical designers working with PCB designs.”

For more information, visit Altium and Desktop EDA.

Access a video library of Altium Designer in action.

Request an evaluation copy.

Learn more about SolidWorks Modeler for Altium Designer.

Learn more about Desktop EDA’s IDF modeler app.

See why DE’s editors selected SolidWorks Modeler for Altium Designer and Desktop EDA’s IDF modeler app as their Pick of the Week.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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About the Author

Anthony J. Lockwood's avatar
Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering’s founding editor. He is now retired. Contact him via [email protected].

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