PCB design collaboration – why it matters

Published Friday 28th June, 2019

Modern electronics are far too complex for a single designer to build the board from start to finish, which is why PCB design collaboration is crucial. As with any team effort, excellence in communication coupled with the best tools ensures that modern PCBs have an incredibly low failure rate despite being more hi-tech and intricate than ever before.

Let's take a look at the advantages of design collaboration and the tools used in the modern PCB design industry.

Communication makes collaboration work

Every aspect of life is improved with effective communication, and working in a PCB design collaboration team is no different. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that it’s the most important rule for a design team to adhere to if they want to build electronics that work.

The modern world demands a great deal from its electronic devices and puts them through the kind of punishment that soon reveals any weakness in their design and build quality. Without effective communication between collaborators (who may be working on different sides of the globe), the electronics-driven world that we take for granted wouldn’t be possible!

Key advantages of collaboration tools

Fortunately, collaboration tools have taken many of the potential problems and frustrations out of the PCB design process. They’ve increased productivity, consistency and efficiency to such an extent that anyone still working in a non-collaborative environment is likely to be left behind.

With this in mind, we’re going to look a little closer at the key advantages of using collaboration tools in your design process:

– A shared software system provides a more controlled environment and consistent output from all team members. This level of organisation virtually removes the possibility of conflicts and errors.
– Designers can work on the same board in different locations in real time. This allows designers to solve problems, add comments or come up with more elegant solutions by making changes as a team.
– With a single source of design data available to all team members at once, conflicts can be avoided. Changes can be agreed upon in the software, saving time and preventing potential loss of information that can occur when details are shared via email and notes.
– It's much easier to compare different PCB versions with complete accuracy and deal with conflicts without undue delays.
– Designers can collaborate together remotely without losing effectiveness. This allows your team to work from home, on the road or anywhere in the world!
– Collaboration tools allow easier communication with important links outside of the design team – suppliers and customers, for example.

If your collaboration tools are effective, every aspect of your design and manufacturing process will be streamlined. This builds confidence in your workforce and makes for more fulfilling relationships between team members, management and clients – all of which virtually guarantee better designs, increased output and higher quality end results.

So, essentially, it makes total sense to adopt the PCB design collaboration approach – as long as it’s done expertly and with the correct tools!

LMFLMANatWestGoldman Sachs