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Kontron wins prestigious PCB design award

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article image Kontron KTC5520-EATX server board

The R&D design centre of Kontron, represented in Australia by Kontron Australia , has won the top award in the category Computers, Blades and Servers, Memory Systems during the 21st annual PCB Technology Leadership Awards organised by Mentor Graphics.

The Kontron submission described the challenges its CAD team faced in designing the Kontron KTC5520-EATX server board. Included were the significant signal and power integrity issues in a limited amount of PCB real-estate, not to mention costs, reliability, and an assortment of government compliance milestones that needed to be met. Other considerations included the more than 17,000 connections on four layers, the odd angled diff pair routing issues to mitigate fibre weave effects, the need for 6.4 Gbps transfers and a 32 picoseconds rise time and, lastly, a high density design without microvias. 

“The expertise and quality work of Kontron CAD design engineers can be substantiated by the incredible tools they use from Mentor Graphics, in particular Expedition Enterprise,” said Dirk Finstel, CTO of Kontron. “We surely wish to thank Mentor for this honor, as well as for their incredible support during the last several years. Only with exceptional tools can one make extraordinary products.”

Comments from the independent panel of judges included notes about “an exceptionally good use of routing room,” and “the challenges to bring this design to completion on a four layer routing board with all the class rules and constraint rules impress me”. With high cost and time pressures, the Kontron design team was able to work on concurrent design portions in real-time using XtremePCB and, with such quality of work, succeeded in having the board work right away on the first revision.

Industry experts judged entries from 17 countries in five categories representing a wide variety of industries. The PCB industry expert judges included: 

  • Happy Holden, senior technology specialist of Mentor Graphics
  • Gary Ferrari, technical support director, FTG Circuits
  • Pete Waddell, vice president of UP Media Group and publisher of Printed Circuit Designs and Fab magazine
  • Andy Kowalewski, senior interconnect designer, AdvantagePCB
  • Rick Hartley, senior principal engineer, avionics division of L-3 Communications

Some interesting stats on the submissions for TLA 2009:

  • The largest board is measured in feet, the smallest in tenths of inches
  • Some submissions have nets exceeding 10,000
  • The largest total trace distance is more than 15 miles

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