Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunstone Circuits launches PCB123 v4 PCB design tool

MULINO, USA: Sunstone Circuits, the printed circuit board (PCB) prototype solutions provider, is launching the newest version of their design software, PCB123 v4.

This advanced software is the most up-to-date, enhanced version of their free-to-use, no license required design-tool. It has an intuitive CAD interface that lets you create new PCB designs quickly; offering freedom and flexibility in your schematic and layout editing. Bottom line, the design process just got easier.

PCB123 v4 provides the additional design capabilities that PCB designers have been asking for. In their quest to remain the easiest PCB solutions provider to do business with, Sunstone Circuits has responded to feedback from the engineering community by not only improving the feature set of PCB123, but also configuring the software into a more user friendly and intuitive resource.

As a result, design engineers now have access to a free industrial-grade CAD tool that is setting a new standard in the industry.

Some of the key features in the release of PCB123 v4 include:
500,000 New Parts: Improved search functionality with complete access to parts libraries (Powered by Accelerated Design).
Data Sheet Availability: Research in ‘real-time,’ parts availability from Digi-Key.
Automated BOM (Bill of Materials): For ease in purchasing and assembly.
New Data Importer: Gain efficiency by importing DXF files from mechanical CAD tools, removing tedious pain-points that slow down the design process.
Buildable Designs: Sunstone’s DRC/DFM rules are integrated into the software to deliver more effective feedback and fewer design spins.

PCB CAD tools have traditionally concentrated on the hard engineering issues, like impedance calculations and trace routing tools. What PCB CAD developers have consistently overlooked is the ability to provide design engineers with information regarding the economic or supply-chain constraints that affect design times.

With PCB123 v4, Sunstone brings the first fully-realized set of tools that allow its users to design with full knowledge of the budgetary and scheduling impacts of their design decisions, as well as the hard engineering information. Sunstone realizes that their users are held accountable for financial and budgetary constraints and that the tool they use should provide them that information. This view into the supply chain has now been made possible, with PCB123 v4.

Design engineers will find improved availability and research information, as well as up-to-date pricing for each component-part registered in the Digi-Key database. Many of the parts research elements that design engineers use in the Digi-Key website are also available to them inside the PCB123 tool.

For example, while reviewing a part definition for use in their design, users can click through to the datasheets, and the Digi-Key website product page for the part that they’re researching. Plus, the LiveBOM functionality inside PCB123 v4 means that anyone can start placing an order for the exact components specified, direct from Digi-Key, with just one click of the mouse.

Nolan Johnson, CAD/EDA manager, Sunstone Circuits, said: “With PCB123 v4, and our new approach to making parts libraries available, we’re tackling one of the most overlooked aspects of PCB design; parts management. It’s estimated that PCB design teams spend at least 2 million resource hours annually just maintaining parts libraries in existing tool sets. Most of that work is duplicated in numerous other design teams. Our work with Digi-Key helps buy all that time back for PCB designers to do what they do best – design PCBs.”

In addition to the enhanced relationship with Digi-Key, Sunstone Circuits and the management team of PCB123 have developed a new partnership with parts-libraries supplier, Accelerated Designs.

With its Ultralib product, Accelerated Designs continues to emerge as the leading supplier of CAD tool-neutral parts in the industry. Naturally it makes sense to collaborate with the supplier, to make their parts-libraries available to their users, at no cost when inside the design-tool environment. This relationship now offers PCB123 v4 users complete access to over 500,000 new parts.

Frank Frank, owner, Accelerated Designs, said: "We’re delighted to have Sunstone base their new library release on our 1.5 million part CAD-neutral library. Not only will they have access to the largest CAD-neutral library in the world, but they will also have the benefit of components built consistently based on the latest industry standards and automation methods. These features will provide Sunstone customers with the easiest to use, fastest and most accurate library data for basing their PCB designs.”

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