Often times Electronic Automation (EDA) and Electronic Computer Aided Design (ECAD) are referred to as the same thing. Electronic Computer Aided Design (ECAD) is used to create a system of many components that are connected with each other, usually by electronic circuits – kind of like the circuit board of your computer.
Both 2D and 3D capabilities are available, and are a great advantage as you are able to design, assess, develop, and document electrical Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and Integrated Circuits (ICs) as you wish. It also allows the designers the ability to try out different options and alternatives and compare them to each other. There are certain standards that you must ensure that you adhere to when using EDA and ECAD.
Electrical Engineers may find it a lot easier to design their Integrated Circuits (ICs) in 2D, where the positional data can be looked over and assessed more effectively. This positional data can then be incorporated with other relevant data, like perhaps the height of the circuit board layers and their other material properties in an ECAD file as metadata. ECAD files are a wonderful addition to the manufacturing industry, seeing that Integrated Circuits (ICs) are produced by depositing oxide and metal layers through a mask.
ECAD software allows you many various capabilities. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the many different capabilities that ECAD provides.
- Diagramming – this provides you the ability to be able to pick and connect the electrical components on a schematic, which allows engineers and even designers to put together a mockup of a Printed Circuit Board.
- Layout – this can be used with either 2D or 3D models, and provides you a way to dimensionally place and connect components with electronic traces.
- Automation – this can automatically route the traces from the different components, based on interconnect information.
- Generate Manufacturing Documentation – As part of the specifications used to fabricate and produce the Printed Circuit Boards, the documentation is released to manufacturing.
- Different Collaboration Capabilities – There are different ways for a team to work together to develop the routed system. Multiple team members can work on the same PCB design, you can capture feedback, if the skills aren’t there to use the software directly there is viewing capability.
Electronic Design Automation (EDA) is a very rapidly growing industry. Seeing as how there are more and more things including electronics from cell phones, to computer chips, remote controls, to carious touch controls in your vehicle – more and more items are a result from using EDA tools.