Altium adds productivity & high-speed functions to Designer

May 07, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Altium Designer 15.1 is a release of the PCB tool that includes additions for improved design productivity, enhanced design documentation, and high-speed PCB design automation.

The new features in Altium Designer 15.1 focus on improvements to the entire design ecosystem, from a design’s inception with electrical designers to the completed PCB with fabricators.

Improved xSignals Management; High-speed design configurations for length matching rules can now be configured in a wizard that automatically accounts for T-branches, components, signal pairs, and groups, greatly reducing the time spent on setup for high-speed designs.

Improved Output Documentation; PCB designs can now be exported as 3D PDFs, allowing anyone with a compatible PDF viewer to view and rotate a design in 3D. Boards can easily be navigated with individual component selection, providing greater accuracy and design intent to fabricators.

Expanded Rigid-Flex Support; Surface layers for rigid-flex designs can now be added with “bikini” coverlays that are fully visible in 3D and can be configured with the designer’s specific material needs. Coverlay edge clearance and expansion rules have also been added to the design rule options, providing users with precise control over coverlay applications.

Methods for Managing Pads and Vias; Pads and vias can be managed in a pad and via library, allowing users to define custom templates for pad shape and size. Templates can then be applied to specific groups of pads on a PCB for easy application, saving time defining pad options individually.

Unions Data Management; The addition of a new Unions panel helps to better organise design data and align Union data with other PCB objects in a design. The Union panel will show a hierarchical view of Union types, Unions, and Union primitives for easy reference.