The Tools Used for PCB Designing and Layout

The success of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) prototyping and manufacturing takes place mainly due to the design process. The PCB layout and design process is essential as that allows for the creation of an error-free prototype and a smooth manufacturing process. But what sort of tools are utilized to accomplish the design and layout process? Let’s find out.

The Basic PCB Design and Layout Process

Before we get down to the tools, it is important to have a clear idea of the basic PCB design process.

  • Schematic design creation
  • Schematic design capture
  • Determination of PCB template, card dimensions, heat sinks, and fixed components
  • Deciding on PCB stack layers
  • Line impedance determination
  • Component placement
  • Signal traces routing
  • Gerber file generation

PCB Design Tools and Software

There are a variety of tools and software that are used to complete this process precisely and efficiently.

  • Electronic Design Automation Tool (ECAD): This is a category of design tools that is used for schematic design capture. They work together in modular design flows to produce design descriptions. Some of the most popular tools that come within this category are mentioned below.
    • ORCAD: This software is used by the design engineers to create the electronic schematics and prints.
    • EAGLE: Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor or EAGLE is a solution driven PCB design program. It contains schematic capture editor, PCB layout editor, auto router, and Bill of Materials Tools (BOM).
    • PADS: This is a layout tool that comprises schematic design, advanced analysis, and ECAD to MCAD collaboration.

These and other types of software allow engineers to create detailed and error-free PCB designs.