Placement Challenges: Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud!

By vernwnek

This is the second post in this series. View the first one here.

A placement challenge that I had to endure reminds me of the Rolling Stones song, ‘Get Off of My Cloud.’ I imagine that many of you still endure a similar challenge today…

I was placing a design that I knew was going to take weeks to complete, after reviewing the schematic, I contacted the engineer with a list of concerns. I asked for some written instructions and a possible floor plan based on the mechanical chassis requirements. Here is what I received back: “I will come and sit with you during placement so we can get it right.” Ugh! These are the words no PCB designer wants to hear. They are the death knell to productivity. But I had no choice.

And so, for the next three weeks, I sat in a small office with another design colleague and this engineer who, by the way, was a guy who ate way too much garlic and was always sweating. It was a living hell!

Why can’t engineers write good instructions for placing a PCB? Why must they thrust themselves into the design, when they have signal integrity stuff to worry about? In the past, without creating a document in a word processor, there was no real way to specify design intent through the EDA tools. Plus, as the capabilities of adding constraints to a design have become available, they have stuck to their old ways.

Leaning over a PCB designers shoulder ties us up in addition to engineering resources, and requires so much more time than providing good instructions – or any instructions!

We need a tool that allows the engineer to easily add constraints, and even design placement intent, such that the PCB designer will understand component grouping and critical placement locations…without the need to have the engineer babysit the design. That time has come! Xpedition xPCB layout now has the ability, through component explorer, to aid in planning and placement from the onset of the schematic design through to completion of the PCB design.

Take a look at the link below on component planning and placement with component explorer. In our next discussion we will talk about how to tell your engineer, “Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd, on my cloud baby!”


3 thoughts about “Placement Challenges: Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud!
  • Hello Vern.
    It’s all about agreement between PCB designers and EE. It’s good idea to work out everything from the beginning, otherwise EE have some comments after the fact as PCB is already done. It’s a worst case scenario…
    About myself, I send EE the Floor Plan Placement and ask them to review. The next step I will work on Detail Placement and ask EE to review again. Then I start the routing. After routing, I do one more final review with EE and release to manufacture.

  • Expedition has been a leader in the area of concurrency for PCB for years. Component explorer brings concurrency with ease of use to a new level! There’s no way you can’t convince the circuit designer that their participation in placement organization for the layout designer will not bring enormous productivety gains. It’s truly point and click.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at