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Mentor centralises environments in PCB development with xDM

Posted: 24 Jul 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:design  environment  PCB  xDM  xPedition 

Mentor Graphics, Inc. took the wraps off its PCB development platform Xpedition in March with a promise of more to come. True to its word, the firm has recently introduced their next offering in the said platform: the Xpedition Data Management (xDM) product suite, scheduled to be released in October.

The PCB design environment is a world unto itself. Product lifecycle management tools tend to store only a snapshot of the total data available, such as bills of materials, views of the schematic and layout, and a bundle of the ECAD PCB files. In reality, the PCB universe demands more dynamic relationships, including interactive concurrency and design versioning, changing parts and analysis models, constraints and variants, and front and back annotations.

A graphical visualisation of a typical enterprise-level PCB design environment is shown below. Though the individual tools themselves may be extremely capable, powerful, and sophisticated, getting them to talk to one another—and maintaining control of the design data—involves a lot of custom and ad hoc system design.

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Most users would agree with this diagram, which reflects the fact that environments tend to rely heavily on tool-to-tool and custom interfaces that are time-consuming to establish, expensive to maintain, and difficult to change. Disadvantages of this approach include the need for special authoring tools to obtain design state information, a lack of state overview encompassing dependent disciplines, inefficient (manual) concurrent design management, ad hoc collaboration, and painfully versioned data mining.

To address this, the xDM product suite provides a flow-wide information hub that Mentor says "manages complexity, reduces costs, and increases productivity." This single, integrated solution for design and library management supports applications, data, and knowledge in a single space. Also, it can manage design projects of any size; facilitates the exchange of data among internal, external, and global teams; and supports collaboration anytime and anywhere.

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