Today, companies across many industries are incorporating more sophisticated electronics within more complex mechanical form factors to address expanding customer requirements. Electronics and high-tech companies, particularly consumer electronics, are at the forefront of this trend. However, companies in the automotive, medical device, aerospace and defense and industrial industries are also experiencing these trends. To design these products successfully, these companies need to break down the organizational and technical barriers that have traditionally limited design collaboration across disciplines.
“Seamlessly integrating the electronic and mechanical design processes continues to become more essential for manufacturing companies,” stated Ken Amann, Director of Research, CIMdata, Inc. “The merging of electro-mechanical design (often referred to as mechatronics) enables companies to more effectively and quickly develop products in which electronics is the differentiating factor. Mentor Graphics and PTC have developed new solutions, built on industry standards, to enhance their joint level of ECAD-MCAD collaboration. Used together, their solutions can help electronics companies reduce electro-mechanical design conflicts and develop complex products faster.”
PTC is the first supplier of mechanical design solutions to adopt this standard and implement complementary collaboration capability. Together, PTC and Mentor offer the industry’s first complete end-to-end collaboration solution between MCAD and ECAD designers. These capabilities will significantly improve design process efficiency and cycle times by replacing paper-based methods and static file formats with standards-based processes and easy-to-use graphical visualization in both the mechanical and electrical design domains.
“As a supplier of design automation software, Mentor’s strategy is to extend our focus beyond just PCB and ECAD design into areas that can improve the efficiency of a company’s complete electronic product development process,” said Dan Boncella, director of marketing of Mentor Graphics Systems Design Division. “The design of these products requires continuing communication between the electrical and mechanical domains as the design proceeds and changes in either domain are proposed. Our ECAD-MCAD Collaborator automates this process and delivers needed functionality to our customer base.”
“Our customers’ products increasingly involve tighter linkages between electrical and mechanical design, and the lack of integration and collaboration capabilities in their current tools makes it hard for them to meet quality, cost and time-to-market goals,” said Chad Hawkinson, vice president of solutions marketing, PTC. “These new products from PTC and Mentor Graphics will overcome these obstacles and enable our joint customers to deliver more tightly integrated electromechanical products to market faster.”
Driven by Suppliers, Their Customers and Standards
The collaborative effort to define and develop the ECAD-MCAD collaboration methodology was first introduced by Mentor Graphics at the ProSTEP conference in 2005 and has been actively driven by Mentor Graphics. PTC and a select set of ECAD-MCAD customers also actively participated in a three-year definition effort. In early 2008, the EDMD (Electrical Design Mechanical Design) schema was accepted and published by ProSTEP as a standard for incremental, bi-directional communication of proposed changes between ECAD and MCAD systems. Based on this EDMD standard, Mentor Graphics and PTC have implemented the industry’s first true collaboration capabilities. It is anticipated that additional MCAD and ECAD suppliers will adopt this standard and implement collaboration functionality.
ECAD-MCAD Design Collaboration
ECAD and MCAD systems have existed in separate domains for many years and have evolved to optimize their own domain’s productivity and functionality using their own data constructs and formats. Communication between the respective tool sets has previously been through bulk data interfaces with little capability to identify and update incremental changes.
The efforts of Mentor Graphics and PTC have produced collaboration tools in both domains that enable mechanical and electrical engineers to propose incremental design changes, have those changes viewable in an easy-to-use tool, enable analysis/review/comment/approval of the proposed changes, and finally, upon acceptance, update the incremental changes into the respective databases. The initial capability focuses on commonly used geometric objects such as board outline, components and holes.
Design collaboration between Expedition Enterprise™
and Board Station ® XE PCB design flows
through Mentor ’ s ECAD-MCAD Collaborator
product, and PTC ’ s Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0
ECAD-MCAD Collaboration Extension is available now. To find out more,
please attend a joint webinar being broadcast live September 23 or on
demand by going to the following link: