The component library. It’s at the heart of every product development process. At a minimum, it contains logical symbols for schematic design and physical footprints for PCB layout. Many companies also include some level of digital and/or analog and/or RF models to facilitate electrical simulation; and in recent years 3D models for ECAD/MCAD co-design have become more commonplace. Yet with all of the time and effort that companies invest into the component library, every hardware engineer at some point will still encounter one or both of the following situations:
- Struggling to find the perfect part to meet design requirements
- Not being able to create the perfect part in an efficient and timely manner
In this two part series on component library, we will examine tools and techniques to address both of these situations. This first part looks at the first situation above, struggling to find the perfect part to meet design requirements.
When searching for the perfect part, hardware engineers need a tool (best case a portal) that will:
- Reduce the amount of time spent performing component research
- Provide direct access to industry leading component distributors
- Include extensive search options that allow for both search and research
- Clearly convey all part attributes, such as tolerance, operating temperature, and size (including height)
- Contain high quality information, eliminating frustration with issues, like incorrect part numbers, pin number errors, or part attribute errors to name just a few
- Provide one-stop access to hundreds of thousands of different components from hundreds of different component suppliers
- Include features to help keep track of parts and also to create custom project folder
In the Mentor Xpedition flow, the PartQuest component portal delivers all of the above listed features. PartQuest contains symbols and footprints for over 850,000 Digi-Key® parts. The search engine is designed to provide an intuitive and straightforward method to find the perfect part(s) in the Digi-Key database. All of the parts include schematic symbols and PCB footprints that are ready to import into Xpedition.
A short video, PartQuest: Connecting Part Suppliers with Mentor PCB Tools demonstrates the portals powerful and easy to use search and research functionality. The PartQuest portal includes access to a community that not only provides a discussion forum, but also includes detailed documentation and how-to videos.
Please be sure to check back in a few weeks when we continue this discussion and examine how, after finding the perfect part, you can then move on to creating the perfect part!