Data Management is the centralized software system that stores all relevant information about a product. It can be deployed across various functions, from design to marketing. This data includes CAD models, parts specifications, requirements, and other information. This blog will focus more on automated product data management and how it improves PCB design & PCB layout services.
The need for automated data management in PCB design
Most electronic products now use embedded hardware technology to achieve size and feature requirements. Any embedded software development and hardware design is culminated with a good PCB design. As the PCB industry evolves, the data and its quantity become barriers to excellence in PCB design.
Apart from the files, there are many different datasets like graphics, drawing, attributes, library, and readme files. To further complicate this, all these files can exist in different versions with other users, each with their access privileges. Therefore, automated data management strives to streamline the data and enable productivity in PCB design.
The downside to manual data management
As the data gets piled up, it’s very likely to see mismanagement and human errors. A manual system would be less effective in the following situations:
As mentioned earlier, the number of files to be managed is endless. This becomes increasingly complex with the speed at which the data are generated. So, these files should be organized and sent to relevant output directories for the compression and shipping process.
The person who created the file would have primary access. If they are no longer present, it may restrict others from accessing the files, which is a problem.
A designer creates multiple iterations to incorporate certain tweaks. It can cause delays if the designer chooses the wrong version to make changes. This slight error can make the data irretrievable.
Companies that handle sensitive information will deploy an additional layer of security to separate this data from the rest. While this might be reasonable from a security point of view, it will actually create issues for designers who have to share the design information with outside vendors.
Deleted or overwritten files
Deletion of Work-in-progress files can be frustrating for the designers, especially when they cannot retrieve something that’s a part of a legacy design. So, designers are left to rework those designs, which puts the company’s time and resources under pressure.
Once a design is complete, there are several other steps to perform. Manufacturing files need to be put together, outdated information to be removed, and get the project archived. When all of this is done manually, it increases the chances of file misplacement or deletion.
How automated data management helps the PCB design process?
Here are some features of the automated data management that a PCB designer can leverage:
Better file control
The massive data load is not a problem for automated data management. It automatically assigns access privileges and ownership with the coded parameters. Therefore, the file is viewed, edited, and controlled only by people with adequate clearances. In addition, it allows for real-time design tracking, which is very laborious when done manually.
Efficient project management
A majority of automated data management processes are linked to project management functionality within the system. Here are some features that would enhance the workflow of PCB design.
Collection of data
Manually collecting data would only lead to inefficiencies and errors. With automated data management, project leads will receive the real-time status of every project in the pipeline.
A schedule is created by project managers, a procedure that is conventionally done on paper. It makes changes to the plan difficult since the entire document may have to be rewritten. However, automated data management helps managers plan projects and incorporate as many iterations easily. Managers can do all this without any delays or complexities.
Discreet data management
Most designers would only want to design and not spend their time managing data. Therefore, when designers have access to a single web browser, they can easily use the interface instead of learning the entire application from scratch. The data management tool will keep working behind the scenes while the designer performs his task with ease.
Extensive data management system
The utility of automated data management goes beyond managing PCB files. It handles the information sent from the mechanical design, software department, and other teams to foster a coordinated product design approach.