Escape the Frustration of PCB Library Work: An Open Letter from Our Friends at SamacSys
Frustration and library management are like “peas and carrots.” Whether you’re spending hours making your own parts or worrying about the quality of parts someone else made, the entire library management process is ripe with frustration. This isn’t a new frustration by any means. We’ve been struggling with library management issues for as long as ECAD software has existed (even before…remember those decal books?). What we all want to know is how to take the frustration out of the process. Our friends at SamacSys, a leading software developer for ECAD component data, might just have the answer.
From the desk of a frustrated engineer,
One of the most common frustrations faced by engineers over the past few decades has been managing component model libraries within our ECAD tools. For every individual component, the basic ingredients necessary to incorporate it into a design are the schematic symbol and the PCB footprint. For such fundamental and critical requirements of the electronics design process, it would seem a sensible notion that the industry has a well-honed solution, enabling designers to obtain any necessary component models quickly and easily. But if you’re a regular ECAD user, no matter what your tool of choice happens to be, you’ll recognise that sourcing these essential elements for newer components can be one of the most laborious and time-wasting parts of your day!
The industry has struggled with this issue for over 30 years. The combination of new product introductions from component manufacturers, coupled with format wars between ECAD tool vendors chasing world domination has conspired to create a conundrum. How can designers get perfect, working models in the right format while component manufacturers continue to produce new parts and models? Of course, solutions do exist, but each approach tends to rely heavily on additional effort from a particular party within the industry:
- Designers can self-create the models.
- Component Manufacturers can create suitable models in every ECAD format.
- ECAD Tool Vendors can create new, updated libraries of models for their users.
All of the above takes time, care, expertise, and money. And remember, every time a new part is released, new component models are needed. Last year the industry released approximately 1 million new electronic components. That’s a lot of labor.
The importance of high-quality, industry-compliant component models cannot be undervalued. We’re all familiar with the consequences of using poor quality models. Design failures and debug processes can result in huge amount of wasted time and money – not to mention the frustration caused by something as basic as a component model containing an error! Surely, in this modern era of smart, connected everything, there has to be a better way to manage this essential design data?
So what kind of solution would benefit designers, component manufacturers, and ECAD tool vendors? And if it’s that important, why hasn’t someone done it already? This second question is easier to address – people have tried before, but sustaining a business model to satisfy all industry parties is a tricky one, and so compromises typically end up damaging the solution. The first answer involves an evolution powered by the electronics design community.
Developing a system framework to enable this evolution has been SamacSys’ vision for the last four years. We’re a company with deep roots in electronics CAD design, and our founders recognised that the only way to get to a truly universal solution would be through a collaborative effort across all beneficiaries. Our intention isn’t to reinvent the wheel, but to find a solution that dramatically improves existing approaches for all parties. We believe this is the only practical path to acceptance and adoption by the ECAD industry as a whole.
The resulting framework for the SamacSys System has been developed with deep collaboration from all key players in this problem:
- Designers have provided extensive testing and feedback to refine the usability, integrity, and quality of models.
- Component manufacturers can provide instant access to models for their entire portfolio, including new parts, in all popular formats, from multiple online sources.
- CAD tool vendors have worked with SamacSys to enable our system to directly interface with their parts libraries and design tools.
Thanks to this collaborative effort, we have been able to solve this age-old frustration by harnessing the knowledge and experience of the electronics design community. By meeting the needs of manufacturers and tool vendors while satisfying the requirements for quality and availability demanded by design engineers, a universal solution has finally evolved:
For the Designer
Electronics designers now have free access to IPC-compliant models of every component, available in all leading CAD formats, from multiple sources across the industry. Designers can also freely edit and fragment models into logical signal/power groups to suit their design preferences and requirements.
For the Component Manufacturers & Tool Vendors
Every model is quality-checked within the SamacSys system and once fully released it is available to the entire community.
The success of our solution will ultimately drive success for the ECAD industry – removing hours of frustration and wasted time for design engineers, while providing comprehensive, high quality PCB model libraries that are never “out of date” for manufacturers and tool vendors. Most importantly, this removes the age-old frustration of spending hours painstakingly creating new models or adapting existing models. Our industry can finally get on doing what it does best – making a better, safer world for all of us.
Ready to escape the frustration of PCB library work? Try the SamacSys solution for Autodesk EAGLE today!