Cadence PCB success stories

Polycom and Cadence

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Cadence Design Systems enables global electronic design innovation and plays an essential role in the creation of today's electronics. Customers use Cadence software, hardware, IP, and expertise to design and verify today's mobile, cloud and connectivity applications. © 2014 Cadence Design Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Cadence, the Cadence logo, Allegro, and OrCAD are registered trademarks of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. All others are properties of their respective holders. 3536 02/14 CY/ LX / PDF Annapurna mountain overall cycle time. This is critical in getting our boards to the lab, finding bugs, and shipping our boards—all of which we can now do earlier." In addition, Polycom also enhanced the quality of its PCB designs. "Auto-routing took away the worries. Before we release a design, we can run reports in Allegro PCB Router with exact checks against our design constraints, and flag any parameters that haven't been met. As a manager, that made me feel way better— that we're not missing anything," said Rousch. Initially, the team—deeply experienced in PCB design and accus- tomed to manual routing—was a bit hesitant to move to auto- routing. But seeing the quality of signals on the oscilloscope convinced even the die-hards that auto-routing saves time and contributes to better design quality. Jim Klecka, a senior engineer on the team, notes, "Now we typically get our placements in and spend a week doing test routes. Once we have a route that looks pretty good, we can typically finish a week or so later." The Polycom team works on some fairly dense PCB designs, where at times there's a question of whether a particular design can be routed at all. "With Allegro PCB Router, we can now do many different auto-routes on different layers, which helps us drive product implementation and assess feasibility of our proposed designs." With the increased productivity thanks to auto-routing, the Polycom team is saving the costs of hiring external layout engineers during particularly busy times. Its internal layout team can also start new projects earlier. What's more, by getting PCB designs right the first time, the team also avoids the tens of thousands of dollars that can be wasted if a design respin is required. Polycom's portfolio includes products that are cost-sensitive and produced in high volume, so it's important for the PCB design team to minimize the number of layers used on their boards. Notes Rousch, "Allegro PCB Router lets us quickly route a board and decide which combination of technologies and number of layers best suits the end product." Lessons Learned In moving from manual to auto-routing, the Polycom team gained insights that can help make such a process smoother. One key lesson is to spend much more time methodically capturing detailed design intent upfront. Another is to ensure that the design constraints are in place before placing the board. The industrial design process places pressure on PCB design, often creating pressure to do placement without design constraints. To close the gap between industrial design and mechanical design, the team learned that it was advantageous to have, at the very least, the initial capture of schematics and constraints so that the circuit board designer could do floorplanning in parallel with industrial design. "Allegro PCB Router enabled us to perform "what if" analysis early on in our process, so we were able to move circuit board layout up in our cycle to line up more closely with industrial and mechanical design," explained Rousch. "We can move connectors around, and assess how it might work for the end user. We can slide things around on the edge of the board without fear that it will mean extra work at the end or impact our schedule. We get a much better end product as a result." Summary Looking ahead, as its technologies continue to evolve, the Polycom team will continue to keep an eye on add-on tools in the Allegro suite. "We were already well entrenched with Cadence layout tools, so we were not looking to change vendors when we sought an auto-routing tool," said Rousch. "The quality of Cadence's Allegro tools and its PCB service bureaus, like DFM, gave us the confidence that we really didn't have to look elsewhere." " Allegro PCB Router helped us shave off a few weeks of overall cycle time. This is critical in getting our boards to the lab, finding bugs, and shipping our boards—all of which we can now do earlier. " Greg Rousch Engineering Manager, Polycom

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