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In part 1 of this two-part blog post, we analyzed how you can define a parts lifecycle manager, define and assign lifecycle states to parts, then distribute the latest parts to designers. In part 2, you're the designer and you want to know which parts to use in your design.
The initial PCB design – how did you come up with it? Doodled it on a piece of paper? Hashed it out in conference room meetings where at least some people, like Dilbert, wondered why such meetings are always held on Friday afternoons? Either way, you must have given more than a passing thought to schematic symbols. Although selecting and placing your symbols is just one aspect of a schematic design for a PCB, it's an important one.
There are no best or worst parts for a design, but there are several factors to consider – budget, specifications, result accuracy, availability, whether part alternatives are available, has an end of life (EOL) notice been issued for a part, whether a part complies with Europe's Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS)?
Allegro EDM's Part Information Manager allows parametric component searches that tie into your company’s preferred components database. This means that you have access to approved parts, thereby, perhaps, avoiding costly rework later. You can use these selected parts to build an initial BOM from which you can directly these parts into the schematic. As a designer, you can also specify a preferred parts list that contains only compliant parts.
When searching for parts using EDM's Part Information Manager, a quick glance at the color of a part row itself helps you as a designer know whether a part is about to be discontinued, or already is. You can then make informed choices about the parts to include in a design.
What about reports? Want to know which parts in your design have been discontinued? For example, after you added certain parts to your design, the librarian has marked some of them as 'Do Not Add'. Quickly query and generate a list of EOL parts in a design or shopping cart, or parts that have changed lifecycle status in an Allegro EDM project.
Like much else in life, obsolescence is inevitable and can't be avoided, but careful planning can help minimize costs throughout the product life cycle.