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Altium Designer Takes the Pressure Off the Design Process
Altium Designer Takes the Pressure Off the Design Process
Altium Designer Takes the Pressure Off the Design Process
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Altium Designer Takes the Pressure Off the Design Process

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Full Gauge Controls Case Study: Full Gauge Controls is a developer and producer of digital instruments for control and indication of temperature, humidity, time, pressure and voltage. Their …

Full Gauge Controls Case Study: Full Gauge Controls is a developer and producer of digital instruments for control and indication of temperature, humidity, time, pressure and voltage. Their development process, dependent on prototype-based design verification, was putting pressure on the design schedule and keeping the heat on the design team. The introduction of Altium Designer reduced the design cycle by as much as 86 percent, and the company has also seen a significant improvement with accuracy of component footprint information.

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  • 1. Altium enabling next generation electronics design Full Gauge Controls Altium Designer Takes the Pressure Off the Design Process at Full Gauge Full Gauge Controls develops and produces Solution digital instruments for control and indication of temperature, humidity, time, pressure and voltage. Looking for a better solution, Full Gauge upgraded But its old development process, dependent on its electronics design environment from P-CAD to prototype-based design verification, was putting Altium Designer. It then integrated the new system pressure on the design schedule and keeping the with its SolidWorks mechanical design tool to heat on the design team. The introduction of minimize the need for prototyping. Altium Designer has reduced the design cycle by as much as 86 percent. Electronic designer Maurício Hüsken now produces all designs and mechanical files using Altium The company’s Department of Engineering Designer, while engineers and other personnel in Development team consists of engineers, the company use the Altium Designer Viewer to electronics designers, product designers, access and query design files and documentation. programmers, analysts, and lab specialists. This team provides product development and “The process of importing the library of P-CAD to enhancement across all of Full Gauge’s product Altium Designer was easy and without problems,” lines. Upon completing a PCB design, the explains Maurício. Most components came over department had traditionally sent it out to a intact and complete. Maurício then spent time prototype manufacturer. For each new piece, the restructuring the library to remove duplicate time for preparation of purchase order, production components and outdated footprints. and shipping was approximately seven days. The During data import, Full Gauge took the critical cost was very high, and often the need arose for step of migrating 3D component information in additional prototypes for further design cycles and its SolidWorks to the Altium Designer libraries. tests. The company had designed each component inWe only need one In 2007, Full Gauge attempted to accelerate the SolidWorks with the maximum possible detail forprototype to validate greatest precision in 3D product designs. With the process by acquiring a rapid prototyping machineelectronic performance. same data in Altium Designer, Maurício could be that worked similarly to a computer numericalHardware development control (CNC) system. It did speed up prototype confident of an accurate component footprint andtime has dropped from 30 manufacturing; and if the product cabinet was achieve the most compact design. The process ready, engineers could quickly test fittings and of importing and adjusting the componentto 50 days with the old information took place over one month. clicks.methods to a maximum However, the prototype boards still had to be In this improved process, the product designerof seven days with Altium draws up the initial design of the office assembled manually, placing components suchDesigner. products and exports a file (usually in DXF as relays, displays, capacitors, and buttons. This manual step is not very efficient and often rework- format) and dimensional format for the PCB.Maurício Hüsken, prone. Moreover, most Full Gauge products are This file is imported into Altium Designer andElectronic Designer the components are positioned and verified in composed of multiple PCBs: a base plate, front plate and often also a top plate. Engineers must accordance with design criteria. The electronics validate the interference between the components designer then exports the complete file of the PCB between plates. Manual assembly of the boards in 3D (in .STEP format) to be positioned within and then the full product erased the time savings the cabinet so all mechanical conflicts can be of in-house prototyping. detected and resolved. “We can detect any type of mechanical conflict, like among PCB plug in Finally, Full Gauge had to shoulder the cost of towers, display alignment, and positioning holes,” maintaining the machine, which included the high says Maurício. This cycle continues until the PCB is prices and time delay of replacement parts shipped perfectly aligned with the cabinet and all conflicts from outside the country. resolved, a process that generally takes three days.For more information visit www.altium.com
  • 2. Altium enabling next generation electronics design The engineers also enjoy a significant With SolidWorks integration, being able improvement with accuracy of component to visualize the end product during design, footprint information as well. There have been which can speed up client approval. rare cases in which the screen printing was very Exploring new techniques to facilitate the different than the actual component. “With fit between the plates of the product and the addition of 3D design, I can position the eliminate the need for male and female component on the footprint and draw its outline connectors that were previously used. to delimit precisely the area that is actually occupied,” says Maurício. Adding approaches to simulation, automation and revision control to further Finally, Altium Designer has automated the simplify project management. generation of Gerber manufacturing files, which saves time and minimizes manufacturing errors. With the help of Altium Designer, the company reduced design time, improved the development Results cycle of electronic and mechanical designs, reduced rework, and has enabled the designer Full Gauge has successfully adopted a fully to explore more creative electronic designs. Now integrated process for designing and verifying Full Gauge can develop more innovative products electronic and mechanical designs for each more efficiently, and turn up the heat on its product. “Now we can eliminate the need competition. to fabricate physical prototypes to validate the product design,” explains Maurício. “We only need one prototype to validate electronic performance. Hardware development time has dropped from 30 to 50 days with the old methods to a maximum of seven days with Altium Designer.” More accurate component information is driving down margin-of-error production and rework. “The prototype already looks like a finished product, requiring only minor adjustments.” says Maurício. “All our costs have decreased with the implementation of Altium Designer.” As an electronics designer, Maurício lists other benefits that help him design better products:” Getting a better sense of space and physical design with the 3D simulation. Seeing the layout from different angles and detecting possible problems that may go unnoticed in 2D views.For more information visit www.altium.com
  • 3. Altium enabling next generation electronics design Product Company With the help of Altium Designer, Full Gauge Since 1985, Full Gauge Controls develops and can more easily design and test complex produces digital instruments for control and products in-house. This includes products such indication of temperature, humidity, time, as the PCT-3000, a pressure controller used in pressure and voltage. The company is regarded refrigeration plants that need control in the as a center of excellence in technology for suction and discharge stages. It is composed of 26 refrigeration, heating, air conditioning and solar digital outputs, four analog outputs, five digital heating. Full Gauge is internationally renowned inputs, four analog pressure and six temperature because of its commitment to quality and client inputs. All fittings were carefully tested and the satisfaction. The company participates in many mechanical design was validated even before the fairs around the world. It has more than 80 physical part was manufactured. products including thermometers, thermostats, pressure controllers, voltage monitors and remote management software Sitrad. Products comply with national and international guidelines, standards and certifications such as UL and CE in addition to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Full Gauge is based in Canoas, Brazil. For more information, visit www.fullgauge.com. Altium’s solutions implemented in the Refrigeration, Heating, Air Conditioning and Solar Heating industries About Altium Altium Limited (ASX:ALU) provides next-generation design solutions. These help break down the barriers to innovation, and help electronics designers easily harness the latest devices and technologies, to create their next generation of electronic products. Altium’s solutions are unique because they unify the separate processes of electronics design, all within a single electronics design environment, working off a single data model, which links all the aspects of electronics product design into one design process. Founded in 1985, Altium has headquarters in Sydney, Australia, sales offices in the United States, Europe, Japan, China, and resellers in all other major markets. For more information, please visit www.altium.com

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