What is EDA PCB & the Relevance to the Electronics Manufacturing Market?

The processes involved in manufacturing electronics and related products can be cumbersome. It is for this reason that many manufacturers have continually made investments in new technologies to simplify the process.

But what if there is a better way to design the major aspects of electronics, albeit, spending less amount of money? There is one unique approach to this and it is called EDA.

In this article, we go into the details of the reasons for introducing EDA to the electronics manufacturing market, as well as some of the advantages.

In the Beginning, there was no EDA

At the onset of the manufacturing processes for electronics, especially the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), EDA wasn’t in use. At the time, PCBs were mostly manufactured manually and often laid outby the hand.

However, the need for automated processes triggered the evolution that led to the introduction of EDA. As Wikipedia recorded, the major catalyst to EDA’s introduction is the move by IBM’s documentation of the 700 series of computers in the 1950s.

Today, EDA is used to bolster the earliest designs of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), as well as that of some other supported electronics.

What Does EDA Mean?

The full meaning is Electronic Design Automation. As the name suggests, it is more of an automated process for designing electronics, such as PCBs.

But the concept of EDA is beyond automation alone. It is more of a software that helps electronics manufacturers and hobbyists alike to kick-start the design process.

EDA and Dense Electronic Components

Before, it was obtainable to have Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) with just layer or electronics designed to serve just one purpose. That also meant these electronics had to use a few resources or components.

The reversal is the case today with the dominance of dense or multiple components or elements packed into electronics, such as PCBs. To that end, it meant that the design or process technology is slowly moving from manual to automated.

Thus, the correlation of the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) to the density of these electronic components is the simplicity it offers for these components to be accurately placed on the electronics.

What Electronics are Supported with EDA?

Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software is primarily optimized to work with both Integrated Circuits (ICs) and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

Who Benefits from the Use of the EDA Software?

The core beneficiaries of the ED software could have been the electronics’ hobbyists who want to get better at designing these devices, but don’t have the financial resources and technical know-how to use advanced equipment.

However, the use cases of the EDA software have since gone beyond the IC and PCB hobbyists. Today, electronics manufacturing companies can also use the software.

Below are some of the core beneficiaries and what they stand to benefit from using EDA PCB:

Electronics Manufacturers

Companies engaged in the offering of electronics’ services can use the EDA software to increase the pace of producing the devices, while working on the complex chips.

Systems Designers

The system designers also stand a chance to use the EDA PCB to use the software and get access to the latest process technology for exploring different design approaches for those systems.

Layout Designer

This goes specially to the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) layout designers. Using the EDA PCB software helps these designers to place and route millions of transistors on the PCBs. The same also applies to the Integrated Circuit (IC) layout designers.

ASIC Designers

The ASIC logic designers also have a worthy tool to take all the burden they have with brainstorming and determining the best design process. With the EDA PCB software, ASIC logic designers have a chance at inputting their logical ideals into the computerized form and letting the software come up with solutions or best ways to handle the complex Integrated Circuit (IC) designs.

How Does the EDA PCB Software Work?

The functionality of the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) is mostly automated, because it is software-centric. Thus, you can rely on it to facilitate the design and optimization of the Integrated Circuits (ICs) and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) in a short while.

However, it is also imperative to take note of the three-tiered working process of the software. These cut across validation, designing and simulation of the designs. There are also a couple of other design iterations that you need to know.

Below is a breakdown of how the EDA PCB software works:

1. Simulation

This is usually the first process. It involves taking a description of the proposed circuit, which could either be an Integrated Circuit (IC) or a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). The next step would be to predict the behaviour of the circuit before the implementation.

It must be noted that the simulation of circuits with the EDA PCB software helps in the furthered modeling of the behaviour of the circuit elements at different stages of implementation.

It is common for the description of the proposed circuit to be presented in standardized hardware description languages, such as VHDL and Verilog.

2. Design

The design process involves the taking of the description of the proposed function of the circuit before the assembling of the circuit elements that would perform that function.

3. Verification

The next step is usually used to determine the actual resultant design of the implemented functions. The verification also covers the monitoring of the circuit’s performance, starting from the post-manufacturing testing process to the final deployment for real-world usage.

Functional safety is also an additional process for the EDA PCB software, and it involves the verification of the circuit’s compliance with the different safety measures. According to Wikipedia, the measures taken here include but are not limited to:

  • Functional Safety Verification, used to determine the resolution of certain faults. For this reason, the processes include the insertion of faults into the design before the verification that the fault campaign has been resolved.
  • Functional Safety Analysis, which involves running a wide range of analyses, such as the systematic computation of Failure in Time (FIT) rates as a way of validating the circuit design’s compliance with the desired safety integrity levels.
  • Functional Safety Synthesis, which is used to improve the fault detection and tolerance of the structured elements, such as the FIFOs, Modules, Register Files, RAMs and ROMs.

Concluding Thoughts

The introduction of the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software signalled a gamechanger in the IC and PCB design processes, as the software now automates and scales the aforementioned circuits’ design iterations.