Heidelberg, September 13th, 2022

Use Case

Development of semiconductor test systems that are scalable and easy to parameterise by the user. The test equipment PCBs that drive the functional, structural and stress tests are developed on different continents using electronic CAD tools from different manufacturers. The product data of all engineering domains are managed centrally in a PLM system hosted in the cloud.

Inital Situation

If a PDM system change is imminent or the aim is to manage engineering data and parts lists centrally in the mechatronic network in future, then intelligent CAD-PLM direct integrations are the alternative with the highest added value. The ECAD connectors are solutions specifically designed for PCB design needs and support the industry's established data management and workflow requirements. In many cases, they also relieve the designers of time-consuming routine work.

Example application with complex data model

Our smartphones, computers and even more so our cars are full of electronics that control the many and varied functions. With high computing power, HDI (High Density Interconnect) circuit boards process very large amounts of data almost in real time. Before they are installed, these printed circuit boards are subjected to several quality tests. Test systems perform these functional, structural and stress tests in a fully automated manner.

The infinitely varied dimensions, structures and functions of the test items require variable systems. They are therefore modular, and the basic system has a longer life cycle than the test adapter. Their life cycle is very short, which is due to the continuously growing range of functions of the new products. This requires more and more computing power, and the test heads in the test system in particular must follow this trend.

Over the years, this results in a complex PLM data model that transparently manages the development of the systems despite their diversity.

PLM-Direktintegration verarbeiten native ECAD-Daten

Intelligente Direktintegrationen für elektronische Design-Tools in PLM verarbeiten native ECAD-Daten, und das bringt viele Vorteile mit sich. Solche Konnektoren übergeben nicht nur fertige Designs und Stücklisten, sie unterstützen die Konstrukteure aktiv beim Datenmanagement in PLM, steuern Workflows und übernehmen zeitintensive Routinearbeiten automatisiert. Dank Plugin in der Navigation des ECAD-Tools erledigen die Anwender die meisten PLM-Aktionen aus ihrer gewohnten Entwicklungsumgebung heraus. Zum Beispiel:

Automatismen erleichtern das Management der PCB-Daten im PLM

Ganz gleich wie komplex ein Datenmodell ist, der Konnektor handhabt diese Strukturen sicher. Zunächst legt er dieses Datenmodell beim initialen Upload eines Projekts auf Basis der konfigurierten Vorlage automatisch im PLM an, um diese Daten sowie die folgenden Versionen mit ihren Varianten am vorgesehenen Ort abzulegen.

Vor der Datenübergabe an das PLM-System überprüft die Integration die Konsistenz der verwendeten Artikel zwischen Projekt und PLM. Sehr übersichtlich zeigt die Integration jede Änderung sowie Design-Elemente ohne hinterlegtes Kaufteil an. Die Basis hierfür ist das automatische Synchronisieren der Bauteil-Bibliotheken zwischen CAD- und PLM-System. Ob die Ablage der neuen Design-Version trotz evtl. nicht angelegter oder ungültiger Bauteile in PLM erfolgen soll oder nicht, entscheiden die Anwender. Für die frühzeitige Bestellung von Langläufern ist dies allerdings zweckmäßig. Diverse Filter vereinfachen die Datenbearbeitung.

Verglichen mit einer manuellen Datenablage im PLM-System, erledigen intelligente Direktintegrationen den PLM-Upload in etwa einem Viertel der Zeit, zumal die Dateien automatisch benannt und versioniert werden.

Workflows control relevant information in the context

Defined functions trigger connector actions. The check-in, for example, triggers the generation of defined production data as well as the EBOM with a defined structure. In addition, they can trigger follow-up processes such as a release. It is likely to be triggered by the latest design version. Such automatisms provide designers with additional valuable time, especially as they feed the required information into the workflow.

Book PLM on-premise or simply as services in the cloud

If development teams work together over long distances, a cloud-based PLM solution can make sense. For the connector, this means managing all PLM actions not only in a high-performance manner, but above all, in a cyber-secure manner. It has to work through a demanding authentication process very quickly. In the case of multi-factor authentication (MFA), it matches the password-protected login with the individually generated passcode. A very time-consuming process, but one that can be implemented efficiently.

Added value of ECAD-PLM direct integration

Users cite the greatest benefits of their ECAD-PLM direct integration as including:

  • The direct integration functions are embedded in the authoring tools so that all actions in the PLM system can be carried out from the familiar design environment.
  • When ECAD documents are saved, a plausibility check is carried out automatically, which displays inconsistencies, such as stored purchase parts.
  • The data storage in the PLM system requires only a fraction of the time for manual data storage. It can trigger automated processes that save designers a lot of time.
  • The interface generates the PLM parts list and provides an automatic parts list comparison with the previous version.
  • The parts list is transferred digitally to other departments such as production and procurement, thus eliminating sources of error and saving a lot of time.