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Tight deadlines, multiple people working on a design, inevitable errors…there are so many things that can affect the design and development of a PCB.
Ensuring a smooth flow of work is easy enough if you are just one designer or a small team. As the sole designer, you’ve probably memorized the steps you need to follow. A small team can opt for peer reviews. But what if you’re a large enterprise? You probably need tollgates, review checklists for critical stages, or part/component request forms when you need to add a new component to the company database. However, these do add overhead to the design process. How then do we manage the overhead of these process requirements and minimize their impact on engineers?
Ideally, your workflow management process should be tightly integrated with the design process so that the workflows become second nature and are facilitated by the authoring tools. That’s where Allegro® System Capture comes into play.
Allegro System Capture allows you to define default workflows and also provides you the flexibility of custom workflows. You can create various in-design workflows for design processes and easily check which stage of the process you’re at. There can be workflows for tasks that designers follow when creating a logical design, such as searching for parts, setting up constraints, transferring a design to the layout, or importing the changes made in the layout application back into the schematic. You can also create workflows for non-ECAD-centric tasks like a preliminary BOM review with purchasing or an architectural review with a senior consulting engineer.
You can also create workflows for new part requests or project creation. For these two, you have the option of creating your own user forms, which can provide information to the designer about the purpose of the workflow, the information to be entered, or attachments that are needed, the options that can be selected from a drop-down list, etc
A workflow can include a whole lot of information, including the following:
The following images show a form for a librarian in the Allegro® Pulse server, and the same form when displayed as a dialog to a designer in Allegro System Capture.
As you can see, Allegro System Capture makes it really easy for you to create and follow workflows. Tightly binding the ECAD authoring tools to your business processes and design requirements ensures that all users, regardless of experience, will execute design processes as needed to ship a robust product. Without this guidance, it’s really a bit of a free-for-all, right? The key is to integrate processes as seamlessly as possible into the authoring tools and minimize the overhead added to the engineer’s already heavy workload.
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