Zuken Announces New High-speed Configuration for Its Online PCB Design PlatformDecember 28, 2019 by Gary Elinoff
Zuken’s eCADSTAR now includes design constraint management for length-, delay-, and skew-based routing.
Higher-speed components—like DDR3, DDR4, or DDR5 SDRAMs—present unprecedented challenges to designers.
eCADSTAR, a PCB design platform from Zuken, is designed to remedy these challenges by combining electronic design automation (EDA) software with internet connectivity.
Zuken claims that eCADSTAR Advanced HS enables designers to tackle the challenges of critical high-speed layout and routing. Image from Zuken
eCADSTAR currently offers four configurations: Base, Advanced 3D, Ultimate, and—the most recent—Advanced HS.
With the introduction of eCADSTAR Advanced HS, Zuken claims that engineers will have a platform to address the critical issues of PCB layout and routing.
eCADSTAR Advanced HS
eCADSTAR Advanced HS is a “bundle” of features for eCADSTAR. Through this new configuration, designers can specify design constraints for both the physical design and the schematic.
Important capabilities include:
Impedance-based routing requirements: Designers can impose constraints based on differential, single-ended, and impedance needs on each board layer.
Length-, delay-, and skew-based routing: eCADSTAR Advanced HS is said to accommodate length and delay constraints. It also conducts simulations to uncover undesired signal-to-signal coupling.
eCADSTAR is said to allow designers to constrain skew and see that their design is within constraints while routing; here, data bits are matched to their differential strobes. Image from Zuken
Topology: Placement is critical for the successful design of high-speed PCBs, and this, too, requires adherence to specified constraints. Instant visualization of templates may speed the development of reliable solutions.
Differential signals: Zuken explains that by adhering to specific design rules and constraints with eCADSTAR Advanced HS, differential signals can be automatically routed correctly.
Zuken offers four “bundles” of eCADSTAR, including Advanced HS. Each bundle addresses the four applications that are central to PCB design. These applications include:
PCB design editor: eCADSTAR’s PCB editor is a PCB layout tool that Zuken claims will enable designers to create board topologies. It will then place components and define routing patterns.
Schematics editor: The schematics editor is an online design platform that gives designers immediate access to searchable part information from leading vendors.
Library editor: As the library is the nexus of any design process, it needs to be easily controlled. The library editor tool supports the collaboration of users at any design stage.
Web part lookup. Image from Zuken
Design viewers: You may have vendors and customers who don’t subscribe to eCADSTAR, but who nonetheless need access to your design details. The company provides free eCADSTAR schematic and PCB viewers to make it possible for these participants to view the project as well.
Four Different Bundles
The three other bundles of eCADSTAR, aside from Advanced HS, include:
Base: In addition to the core applications, the Base bundle includes report generators among other features. These include “Rules-by-Area,” whereby the routing rules can be optimized for physical PCB areas.
Rules by Area. Image from Zuken
Advanced 3D: This bundle concentrates on the critical mechanical issues of PCB design.
eCADSTAR features a highly intuitive user interface. Image from Zuken
Ultimate: Ultimate is the most comprehensive bundle, including everything offered in the other three bundles.
According to John Berrie, Signal Integrity Expert at Zuken's tech center in Bristol, “As products become more complex and connected, a high-speed design is a key part of the design and manufacturability of printed circuit boards (PCBs). High-speed components and interfaces are at the heart of today’s smart and internet-connected products, and they demand advanced requirements for layout and routing.”
Designers can set up the constraints and rules in the front-end of the library. Screen capture used courtesy of Zuken
He goes on to state that “eCADSTAR Advanced HS delivers those capabilities in an easy to use environment so that PCB designers can deliver exceptional high-speed design quality.”