Mentor boosts PADS PCB tool with features from high-end Xpedition suite

April 28, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Mentor Graphics has added three variants of its PADS family products at price points starting at $5000, and aimed at the needs of the independent engineer.

The revised PADS family provides for a wide spectrum of electronics complexity by combining ease of learning and use of PADS products, with high-productivity design and analysis technologies and what Mentor characterises as “unprecedented” price-performance value. It builds on PADS and in some cases brings in certain technologies of the high-end Xpedition suite.

The independent engineers Mentor targets are typically part of a small to mid-sized company, or members of an isolated team within a large enterprise (e.g. building prototypes, validating reference designs, and performing manufacturability studies), and perform the complete design, analysis and manufacturing data delivery of printed circuit board electronic products. In the past, for engineers doing complex design, their only option was to look at enterprise solutions, and for many, these solutions were out of their reach due to budget and heavy infrastructure requirements.

As demands increase for the efficient design of electronic products, the burden often falls on independent engineers to perform the complete process but current lower-priced offerings run out of steam and do not support their complete needs. The design process can often include more than schematic entry and layout of the PCB and may require analysis such as signal integrity, thermal, design-for-manufacturability, and power distribution network integrity. As well, depending on the company, the complexity of the end-product can vary from relatively simple to extremely complex.

With these three PADS products (Standard, Standard Plus and Professional) starting at $5,000 including support, Mentor has combined classic PADS product ease of use with three levels of design technology at affordable pricing. This effectively creates, Mentor asserts, a new category of PCB design solutions.

The products include:

• PADS Standard – Schematic and PCB layout with starter parts library, part creation wizard and archive management priced at $5,000 including support.

• PADS Standard Plus – PADS Standard, plus advanced constraint management, high-speed net constraints and routing, central library creation and management, HyperLynx -powered signal/thermal/analog simulation, and variants design