ECAD/MCAD integration for native 3D PCB design

August 09, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Altium and Desktop EDA are partnering to provide PCB designers improved ECAD and MCAD integration with Dassault SolidWorks, Siemens Solid Edge and Autodesk Inventor

Altium Limited, supplier of Smart System Design Automation and advanced 3D PCB design solutions (Altium Designer) and embedded software development (Tasking), has partnered with Desktop EDA to provide designers with advanced ECAD and MCAD integration. The new add-on application, Desktop EDA Solidworks Modeler and the IDF Modelers, is currently available for Altium Designer.

"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. "Desktop EDA apps for Altium Designer focus on bringing greater productivity to mechanical designers working with PCB designs.”

The extension apps for Altium Designer and their companion plug-ins form a bridge between the ECAD and MCAD design worlds. Productivity is greatly increased through the full synchronisation capabilities between the target applications. This goes much further than simply eliminating the requirement to recreate MCAD assemblies each time, allowing the modelling of Altium Designer-specific features in the target MCAD system.

By transferring data directly between Altium Designer and SolidWorks programs running on the same PC, designers need not use intermediate files to synchronise design changes and facilitate engineering change orders (ECO). This approach 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 more advanced mechanical CAD operations, such as thermal simulation.


IDF Modeler for Altium Designer

Desktop EDA’s advanced IDF modeller app for Altium Designer allows users of the native 3D PCB design system to export and import a complete model of the 3D PCB in the industry-standard IDF file format. Coupled with a companion Desktop EDA plug-in for the target MCAD design tool, teams save time by having both full synchronisation features as well as PCB copper design elements.

Companion Plug-ins are also available for Dassault SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, and Siemens Solid