How our Altium Data Management Services bring you effiency, quality and money

By partnering up with several specialists, we are now able to provide a range of services that revolve around data that is input to and output from Altium products. We call it “Altium Data Management Services”, and it may gain your company a lot of efficiency, quality and money. Let us explain how this works.

We see that a lot of companies do not use Altium Data Management in the most efficient way. A certain strategy that worked well for a company at some point is often maintained. Meanwhile, your company may have grown, other people are involved with Altium or you have selected a different EMS partner for producing your PCBAs. There is also the tension between operational and organizational targets. Whenever the Altium Data Management does not suit your organisation, costs may unintentionally rise. Here are some examples:

PCB technology

PCB-designers are often tempted to use smaller track/gap technology, more PCB layers and sometimes blind/buried vias. It saves them a lot of design time and design size constraints can easily be met. Unfortunately, this leaves you with PCBs that are at least 50% more expensive as was planned. To cure this problem, the PCB lay-out will have to be done all over, based on cheaper PCB technology. Pesky as it is, both options will cost money. It depends on the production volumes which option is cheapest and what the payback period is.

Errors in a Bill of Materials

Errors in a BoM often lead to the purchasing of the wrong components. Whenever this problem is discovered, you mostly have no other option than to keep these components and order the right ones. Due to pressure to minimize the time lost, this is usually done at distributors that have the components in stock, though they are never cheaper than the originally intended supplier. This is how you get to pay more than double the price for the wrongly ordered components, and fabrication will lag several days.

Errors in a Bill of Materials

Even higher cost and throughput times arise when components have been wrongly placed due to faulty fabrication data. You will only find out about this at the very end of the fabrication process or upon design verification of the PCBA. In this case, the PCBAs need rework, a redesign is necessary and new fabrication data is needed. It will cost you a week’s work, throughput time and an extra bill from your EMS-partner.

Errors in schematic symbols and/or footprints

When a faulty footprint is discovered, it is necessary to perform modifications to the design. However, at the time that this error is stumbled upon, your PCBAs are probably being put through Pick & Place. At this point, you have not many other options than to carry on without placing the component in concern. It must be placed afterwards with some form of manual modification, adding cost and throughput time. Worst case, a PCB redesign is unavoidable.

Errors in fabrication output

Even higher cost and throughput times arise when components have been wrongly placed due to faulty fabrication data. You will only find out about this at the very end of the fabrication process or upon design verification of the PCBA. In this case, the PCBAs need rework, a redesign is necessary and new fabrication data is needed. It will cost you a week’s work, throughput time and an extra bill from your EMS-partner.

Altium Data Management considered a problem

The root causes in these examples are not paying enough attention to Altium Data Management. Among the consequences are longer PCB-design time, higher fabrication cost and longer fabrication time than those expected. It may be some hundreds of Euros and a couple of days, it may as well be the entire cost of fabrication and a complete PCB redesign. The loss in terms of time-to-market cannot easily be expressed in money. It is clear though that in this situation, you will have to spend more money as planned and still be too late.

Especially in companies that are growing, the problem of non-optimal Altium Data Management grows as long as it is maintained. It can be accelerated by moving from one to multiple (external) PCB-designers, or from libraries to a Vault solution.

Altium Data Management considered a solution

The use of data like templates, components, design rule sets and output jobs should not be underestimated. This data is determinative for the quality of your designs, documentation and fabrication data, and, as a consequence, for the extra cost and throughput time that you will face. Besides the content of this data, compatibility with your libraries or Vault is key. We can help you with this process, from the creation of components, templates, etc. to full service hosting your Altium Vault. We make sure that the entire chain is sound, so you can start fabricating your designs with a head start.

Whether you have been using Altium products for a while or you are just starting, we can help you install, set up and maintain your Altium Designer, Altium Vault, Component Libraries and/or Component Databases. We know exactly which implementation will best suit your company’s needs. We also provide connections between Altium and your ERP/PLM systems, keeping these systems in tight sync.

Conclusions

Often enough, companies pay too little attention to Altium Data Management, for varying reasons. It leads to added cost and throughput time in the order of magnitude of the design and fabrication process itself. By using our Altium Data Management Services, you say this goodbye.

We would like to see how we can be of service to your company and what you could gain from using our Altium Data Management Services. Call us on +31 6 5155 6819 or mail us at info@pinkfluffyunicorns.nl for a meeting.

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