PCBflow allows design teams to communicate with manufacturer

Believed to be an industry first, PCBflow, by Siemens EDA, is a secure, cloud-based tool which accelerates design to manufacturing (DFM) handoff for PCBs.

The software bridges the gap between the electronics design and manufacturing ecosystems, says Siemens. The initial release includes instant DFM analysis.

The secure environment allows PCB design teams to interact with a variety of manufacturers and to rapidly perform a range of DFM analyses in the context of each manufacturers’ process capabilities.

PCBflow is powered by Valor NPI software engine, which performs over 1000 DFM checks, enabling PCB design teams to identify manufacturability violations quickly. Once these violations are sorted, they are prioritised in order of severity. Users are guided through images and locations on the design to easily identify the violations for immediate correction.

According to Siemens, this is the first step in automating the DFM handoff process. The automated DFM analysis can help optimise designs, reduce front-end engineering cycles and streamline designer/manufacturer communication, adds the company.

“PCBflow . . . . supports comprehensive designer/manufacturer collaboration with a closed-loop feedback mechanism that drives continuous improvement,” says Dan Hoz, general manager, Valor division, Siemens Digital Industries Software. “Because customer designs are in sync with the fab’s capabilities, respins are can be reduced, time-to-market can be shortened, board quality can be optimized, and yield can be enhanced.”

Manufacturers are also able to streamline customer onboarding processes with PCBflow. As well as providing designers with a comprehensive source of knowledge, which can streamline customer/manufacturer collaboration, manufacturers can share details about its capabilities to reduce phone calls and email exchanges, and reserving real-time communication with customers to focus on strategic discussions.

“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.”

As a software as a service (SaaS) technology, PCBflow incorporates the strict security standards of Siemens’ software, reducing risk and protecting intellectual property (IP) with no additional IT investment.

It works with the Mendix low-code application development platform. This provides the ability to build multi experience apps and share data from any location, on any device, on any cloud or platform, confirms Siemens.

Another benefit is that PCBflow does not require training nor prerequisites, and it is accessible from virtually any location, including mobile phones and tablets. It provides designers with images, tool tips, measurements and precise locations of solderability issues and other PCB design violations. A report is available online and in a downloadable PDF format for easy sharing. PCBflow supports the ODB++ language design file format, IPC 2581, and support for additional formats is planned in 2021.


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