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Advanced route tool boosts design productivity

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ALTIUM Limited has announced the release of P-CAD 2004, Altium’s PCB design system for layout professionals.

Offering more than 50 new and enhanced features, this version offers upgraded technologies for layout and automatic and interactive routing, improved support for CAM file editing and circuit simulation, as well as a host of enhancements designed to give greater power and control over the PCB design process.

P-CAD 2004 introduces a host of new technologies that build on the strengths of previous versions. Most notable is a powerful new interactive Advanced Route tool that significantly enhances the interactive routing process and allows users to automatically plow around board objects.

Advanced Route enables designers to start routing from any net object, regardless of grid or connection line position. Designers can choose to hug the routing around existing objects, plow around copper pours, board edges, cutouts and keepouts, as well as move existing traces and vias.

Designers also have complete control over all interactive routing features, including the level of ‘glossing’ or trace cleanup the tool attempts during interactive routing.

Altium’s second-generation Situs Topological Autorouter boosts routing productivity even further. It integrates seamlessly with the P-CAD PCB editor and features topological path mapping to improve completion rates on complex boards.

The Situs Topical Autorouter offers native routing support for non-orthogonal geometries, such as those found with high-density BGA devices and rotated components.

Unlike traditional shape-based routers, Situs searches directly for routing paths in non-orthogonal directions. The router then chooses paths more intelligently, and makes better use of routing real estate on dense board designs.

Other key features of the P-CAD 2004 release include the inclusion, as standard, of Altium’s CAMtastic 2004 CAM file editor, which provides complete editing of manufacturing file data prior to sending the board for fabrication, as well as enhanced SPICE 3f5 / XSpice mixed-signal circuit simulation.

P-CAD’s supplied board-level component libraries have also been overhauled for the new release. The libraries have been updated by Altium’s Library Development Center in compliance with the ISO 9001:2000 standard, increasing the reliability and consistency of the component libraries.

Approximately 40,000 new components have been added, including more than 600 connectors and around 4000 passives: making a total of almost 70,000 components.

Additionally, this release introduces 19 new manufacturers, including libraries from Agilent, AMP, Cypress, Maxim, Molex, ON Semiconductor, Panasonic, Philips and Zilog.

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