Siemens Digital Industries Software has introduced a cloud-based software tool intended to bridge the gap between the electronics design and manufacturing.
PCBflow extends Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio with a secure environment that provides a way for PCB design teams to interact with a variety of manufacturers, letting them perform a range design-for-manufacturing (DFM) analyses based on the specific capabilities of each of the participating manufacturers.
The Valor NPI software engine provides the DFM checks in PCBflow to let PCB designers quickly identify manufacturability violations. These violations are then sorted and prioritized according to level of severity. The tool guides users through images and locations on the design to make it easier to spot problems and correct them.
Reports are available online and in a downloadable PDF format for easy sharing. PCBflow supports the ODB++ language design file format, IPC 2581. Siemens plans to add support for additional formats is planned in 2021.
Automating PCB introduction
The company says PCBflow represents the first step toward online PCB-assembly systems that can automate the design-to-manufacturing handoff process.
“PCBflow is the ultimate product-design tool, because it supports comprehensive designer/manufacturer collaboration with a closed-loop feedback mechanism that drives continuous improvement,” said Dan Hoz, general manager of Siemens’ Valor division. “Because customer designs are in sync with the fab’s capabilities, respins can be reduced, time-to-market can be shortened, board quality can be optimized, and yield can be enhanced.”
The company says PCBflow will help manufacturers simplify their customer onboarding processes and provide designers with a comprehensive source of knowledge.
“PCBflow saves time and costs in the design-to-manufacturing handoff process by addressing manufacturability violations during the design phase,” said Evgeny Makhline, chief technology officer for Nistec, a PCBflow customer. “With PCBflow, producing and reviewing a DFM analysis report takes just minutes instead of hours.”
PCBflow works with the Mendix low-code application development platform owned by Siemens, which provides the ability to build customized apps that can run on a range of devices, from phones to computers.