PCB design tool links ECAD/MCAD, Altium and SolidWorks

February 10, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
PCBWorks is a PCB design tool created by Altium to enhance workflow collaboration between electrical and mechanical designers. Created in direct response to the divide between electrical and mechanical workflows, PCBWorks provides a powerful set of collaboration tools to integrate design data with the SolidWorks (Dassault Systèmes) mechanical design software.

Altium says that PCBWorks “dramatically” shifts the landscape of how electronic and mechanical engineers work together, making the design process virtually seamless between ECAD and MCAD teams.

At the core of PCBWorks is a set of schematic capture and PCB layout tools along with an interface that works in tandem with existing mechanical workflows in SolidWorks. Design data between components and mechanical enclosures are linked seamlessly between electrical and mechanical workflows, with the first managed Engineering Change Orders (ECO) process delivering changes in design data from SolidWorks to PCBWorks using native SolidWorks files.

PCBWorks empowers mechanical designers with the ability to manage design changes in an existing workflow environment in SolidWorks. This added functionality allows design teams to change component placement, board shapes, and mounting holes of PCBs in SolidWorks without interrupting existing mechanical workflows. Answering an often-heard demand from mechanical engineers, board assemblies from PCBWorks can also be opened in SolidWorks with included copper information for deeper analysis and simulation options.

Designed to help bridge the ECAD/MCAD divide, PCBWorks provides, Altium adds, a new method of native collaboration between electrical and mechanical design teams that have commonly been hindered by communication and file compatibility issues. With PCBWorks, “two distinct workflow and engineering mindsets are being brought together to work in parallel for a new model of true design collaboration.”

PCBWorks will be available for purchase from a number of certified SolidWorks resellers. More reseller options for expanded market availability will be added.

Altium/SolidWorks; www.pcbworks.com