Mentor Redefines the PCB Landscape with New PADS Family


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Mentor Graphics Corporation today announced the delivery of three new PADS family products starting at unprecedented pricing of $5,000 to address the advancing needs of the independent engineer. The new PADS family provides for the wide spectrum of electronics complexity by combining ease of learning and use, characteristic of previous market-leading PADS products, with high-productivity design and analysis technologies and unprecedented price-performance value. It builds on the strong PADS legacy – production-proven on millions of designs by hundreds of thousands of engineers worldwide – and in some cases leverages certain technologies of the market-leading Xpedition suite. Now the independent engineer has affordable access to the capabilities that distinguish the Mentor Graphics portfolio and enable higher design productivity, enhanced product quality, and cost and design cycle reduction.

These independent engineers are typically part of a small to mid-sized company, or members of an isolated team within a large enterprise (e.g. building prototypes, validating reference designs, and performing manufacturability studies), and perform the complete design, analysis and manufacturing data delivery of printed circuit board (PCB) electronic products. In the past, for engineers doing complex design, their only option was to look at enterprise solutions, and for many, these solutions were out of their reach due to budget and heavy infrastructure requirements.

As demands increase for the efficient design of electronic products, the burden often falls on independent engineers to perform the complete process but current lower-priced offerings run out of steam and do not support their complete needs. The design process can often include more than schematic entry and layout of the PCB and may require analysis such as signal integrity, thermal, design-for-manufacturability, and power distribution network integrity. As well, depending on the company, the complexity of the end-product can vary from relatively simple to extremely complex. 

"The biggest pressure that we face is being able to produce a design that is good on the first run." said Louis Demers, CTO, Obzerv Technologies, Inc. "The PADS tool suite is a very cost-effective design solution that tackles our most complex design challenges, as well as providing a growth path for our future needs. The advantage of going with PADS is that we will be able to converge toward a workable design much quicker, with fewer iterations, fewer expenses and quicker delivery to market. We will also have more time to be bold in our design, driving for maximum performance and functionality." Obzerv Technologies Inc. designs and manufactures high-end night-vision cameras for mid-range and long-range surveillance applications based on active imaging.

With the delivery of the three new PADS products (Standard, Standard Plus and Professional) starting at $5,000 including support, Mentor has combined classic PADS product ease of use with three levels of design technology at affordable pricing. This effectively creates a new category of PCB design solutions. The new PADS offerings leverage technologies found in the Mentor Graphics®flagship Xpedition product, to tackle the most advanced design complexity challenges. The Mentor® integration of these technologies into easy-to-use products meets critical needs for an independent engineer with broad design and analysis responsibility as they may only occasionally use a tool in the design process and they are required to quickly and efficiently employ the tool then proceed to the next step in the process. 

The new products include:

  • PADS Standard – Schematic and PCB layout with starter parts library, part creation wizard and archive management priced at US$5,000 including support.
  • PADS Standard Plus – PADS Standard, plus advanced constraint management, high-speed net constraints and routing, central library creation and management, HyperLynx-powered signal/thermal/analog simulation, and variants design priced at US$10,000 including support.
  • PADS Professional – PADS Standard Plus, including Xpedition-powered technologies such as sketch routing, simultaneous 2D/3D layout, hierarchical placement planning, component and net explorers, manufacturing prep and design review/compare priced at US$18,000 including support.

"To achieve maximum engineering efficiency and to optimize our products, our engineers work on board projects from concept through simulation and layout, all the way into manufacturing," stated John Sherman, vice president, Astek Corporation. "They need to use a broad set of tools, which means tools must be easy to pick up after a period of non-use. They also push the edge on product complexity, with high-frequency, high-density designs. We believe the PADS technology will enable us to easily tackle our complexity challenges, optimizing the productivity of our multi-disciplinary engineers." Astek Corporation provides storage solutions, test and measurement equipment, and electronic design services for the embedded market.

Technologies in the PADS products that differentiate them from the market include:

  • Correct-by-construction methodology: Enabled by a common constraint management system used across the flow to support advanced high-speed topologies and design for manufacture, minimizing design cycle iterations by getting it right the first time.
  • Integrated, accurate, easy-to-use analysis and verification technology: Designers can virtually prototype their system powered by the HyperLynx product with signal/power integrity analysis, analog or thermal simulation and advanced full-board rule checks, minimizing expensive, time-consuming physical prototype cycles.
  • Highest performing, highest capacity layout environment: Leverages industry-leading technology powered by the Xpedition product for placement/planning, 2D/3D layout, dynamic power distribution design, and constraint-driven routing including the Sketch Router™ tool to tackle the most complex layouts.
  • Part library access: Engineers can use over 360,000 parts via PartQuest™, a fully integrated website that also merges Digi-Key part numbers with symbols and footprints, reducing manual errors and saving time and cost.
  • Manufacturing preparation: Validation of the design for fabrication and test, and preparation for manufacturing hand-off and documentation.
  • Maintenance of data integrity: Management and archiving of different design revs, and simplification of reviews across the organization.

"Mentor Graphics has long been known for providing market and technology leading solutions for team design in large enterprises with our Xpedition product line as well as our classic PADS offerings," stated AJ Incorvaia, general manager of Mentor Graphics Systems Design Division. "But as the industry grows there is more need for higher productivity design capabilities for the independent engineer. With the PADS product offerings we can better serve the independent engineer with scalable price-performance options from lower priced options up to highly complex design and analysis powered by Xpedition technologies. And as the design organization expands, we offer seamless scalability to our Xpedition Enterprise platform."

For more information on the new PADS product family for the independent engineer, go to www.pads.com.

About Mentor Graphics

Mentor Graphics Corporation (NASDAQ: MENT) is a world leader in electronic hard­ware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronics and semiconductor companies. Established in 1981, the company reported revenues over the last 12 months in excess of $1.24 billion. Corporate headquarters are located at 8005 S.W. Boeckman Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-7777. World Wide Web site: http://www.mentor.com/.

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