PCB Design Software is Making News in 2017

PCB designing is the most crucial stage of developing a circuit board. It is the design that decides how the final product will look like and work. A successful PCB design is one that supports the functionality of the device inside which it is lodged. Not all devices have the same price, and so the PCB design can accordingly vary on various factors. The nature of users and their access to resources also influence the style of PCB. In the age of automation, designing has also gone digital. Software is available both online and offline; these can be free as well as paid.

Listed here are some of the PCB prototyping or design software that has made news in 2017.

1. Eagle: Known for user-friendly interface and exceptionally schematic diagram functionality, this software stands out in quality and utility. Its notable features are positive and negative annotation function, interactive follower platform, batch command execution script file and copper cladding; to quote the important few. It belongs to the category of professional software and does come with a price; however, it is affordable and one of the most used software among medium-sized businesses in the present times. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

2. ORCAD: It is compatible with Windows only. Although in business since 1980, this software has not seen many updations since its inception. Its operation function is simple. Its simulation function is liked a lot and gives better scope for customization. Its user-friendly interface and prevalence of Windows on most of the industrial systems make this PCB design software a tried and tested tool. It is a paid software good for professional use.

3. Altium Designer: If you need software support for designing single layer and 2 layer PCBs, then this software is very good choice. The birth of this software dates back to 1980s and it has somehow managed its reputation since then. Many of the circuit companies prefer using this software because of its user-friendliness and better utility. This software does make a part of designing courses too, as all the universities use this tool as a means to teach the art of PCB fabrication and assembly . Thus, it is easy to use too and is quite comprehensive in nature. Also, it is usable for all types of projects; most common being flex-board and FPGA. It is a paid software.

4. Easy EDA: This software is being used for both private and professional use. It is used as both online and offline application. Easy EDA is a freeware and is accessible online a lot. It is equipped with a number of interesting features like mixed-mode circuit simulation, zero-installation time powerful schematic diagram function, and PCB layout useful for cross-platform browser environments.

5. DesignSpark PCB: This software is quite useful for IoT projects and is designed keeping the requirements of these projects in mind. It is a free software that is helpful in mechanical, electronic and software design.

6. Fritzing: This is an open source EDA software multi-functional in nature. It certainly makes bread-boarding easier. Important tools provided in this software are – PCB layout tool helpful for creation of PCB, a breadboard view support, schematic capture tool that is designed to ease the import of various third-party boards to prepare schematic in a tasteful manner. This software runs on a variety of operating systems such as MacOS, Linux and Windows.

7. gEDA: It is a cross-platform PCB design software that is compatible with a variety of operating systems such as BSD, Linux, Windows, and MacOS. This software supports basic designing exceptionally well with the help of its schematic capture function. You can leverage the best qualities of gEDA better if you learn about it in a detailed manner. The onlycoming is that it is not fit for the workflow that goes into the development of large designs.

8. CircuitMaker: Although discontinued for professional use long back, this software is re-introduced and has found its clientele in the form of learners and hobbyists. This software is quite useful for RF PCB design and for PCBs delivering mixed signals. In these designs, the track length and width is important and achieving this becomes easier with this software.

Conclusion

2017 has seen exceptional growth happening in the PCB design software market. With the manufacturers laying extra emphasis on PCB prototyping, the advancements made in the field of PCB design software are mostly dedicated to bringing more sophistication and precision in the final product. There is PCB designing software available for a variety of purposes and whether you are a professional PCB designer or a beginner, there is software available for you. The comparison of available software also reveals that you can find the software suitable for your budget size too. So, pick what suits your requirements perfectly and win yourself the ease of mastering the PCB designs.

Web Design – A Guide to Breaking Out in Website Designing

Website designing is a large market to break out in. With the digital age well upon us, it seems like ever person left right and centre is trying to get a break when it comes to technology. There is always someone trying to outdo another, which makes the competition a very large and very difficult thing to overcome. Luckily, you have these tips to follow, ensuring you’re on-par with the competition and in some cases, get you noticed by the bigger fish in the designing pond and start your website design path today.

1. Keep it simple – Colours and flashy logos can be enjoyable, but after a while it can become an eyesore for frequent viewers of your site. This could eventually deter others from visiting and eventually avoid your site altogether. In some cases, having a sleek design can pay off, but ultimately if your visitors can not accomplish what they wish to do due to your design, then it hinders more than helping your goal of becoming a website designing king.

2. Consistency is key – As well as keeping your site simple, you need to keep it simple all the way through the site. You can’t simply have one page being flashy and bright, with the next page being dark and bland, otherwise you will leave visitors wondering if they’re still on the same website, causing confusion. That’s not to say that every page on your site needs to have the same layout, but instead you should create different layouts for specific pages, all the while keeping the same colour schemes for your design, which is what most website designing entrepreneurs go for.

3. Keep mobile friendly – As stated in a previous number of articles, it is absolutely essential to keep all your websites mobile friendly. An extremely large portion of website browsing is done through handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones, showing that it is important to keep your site optimised for mobile viewing. Optimising for mobile viewing, in most cases, will result in a more responsive website design when it comes to desktop viewing, making for a smoother website look.

4. Communicate quickly – In a world that is extremely fast-paced, the internet is to exception to this golden rule. When visiting a website, people typically want their information fast, and if they need to invest too much time, will most likely leave the page as soon as they clicked the link that bought them to it. It is recommended to make your information quick, simple and easy to read and digest for viewers, boosting efficiency and creating more traffic.

5. Include images – We all know the age old saying; “one picture speaks a thousand words.” And this saying also applies to designing a website. Choosing the right layout and photo’s can really help click with the target audience, and help with recommendations and referrals to other visitors. It should also be noted that not only images should be used, but also info-graphics, video’s and animations. If you are not invested into a stock image subscription, it may help to invest into one. If you are also proficient with Adobe Photoshop and other related applications, it can also be helpful to design your own photo’s to avoid copyright issues.

What Are Pantone Colors?

For those of you not in the know, Pantone is a color pallette containing 1,757 unique and individually numbered colors. These were directed to help designers and printers specify colors for printing projects.

Pantone is sometimes referred to as PMS – Pantone Matching System, and it also sometimes called 'Spot Colors'. It's important to know all the different names so you do not sound stupid when talking to a printing firm (joke!).

They are often described as 'spot colors' because of the way they are printed. For example if a printing job required the use of two different Pantone colors from the pallette, the printing firm involved would make two sheets of film for the printing plates. Each pantone color has it's own printing plate.

Now Pantone is the ONLY color printing system available that completely guarantees color accuracy. If you print in CMYK instead (a mix of four colors, and it's the method that your own bog standard office printer users), while there is a good chance that colors will certainly well match up from printed item to printed item, there is no guarantee of exact accuracy from job to job.

What is particularly special about Pantone is that colors such as metallics and flourances are available, and not even close to the same can not be reproduced with CMYK process color printing.

It should be noted that actually most Pantone colors can not be reproduced in CMYK, and that the CMYK color printing system is actually quite narrow and restrictive by comparison. I guess what can you expect when you only have four colors to mix together to produce different shades from!

Regardless of this most SMEs opt for printing in process colors (CMYK) and the reason for this is that when you print in multiple shades of Pantone, the cost of printing is far higher than compared to printing the same number of shades in CMYK. SMEs do not have bottomless pockets like corporates, and the risk of non exact color consistency is not enough of an issue for them to warrant to paying far more for their printing on a regular basis.

The History of Pantone

Pantone was founded in 1962 when purchased as a small business by Lawrence Herbert. Herbert had been an employee of Pantone since 1956, and once in charge immediately changed the company operations from manufacturing color cards for cosmetics companies to developing the first color matching system. This was launched in 1963.

Although Herbert had an early interest in printing, he graduated from Hofstra University with a double major in biology and chemistry and with aims to attend medical school.

In 1956 although he joined the salary at Pantone on a part-time basis, and became so interested in the industry he decided to continue on at Pantone rather than pursue a medical career.

In 1977, with sales at $ 2million Herbert took the company private, and although sales volumes were no longer public, it was estimated that by the mid 80s the Pantone TM appeared on around $ 500million art supplies, inks and other printing products in over 50 countries worldwide.

By 1990 Pantone had entered into licensing agreements with the worlds major graphic and design software manufacturers for both Mac and PC. By 1992 major players such as Adobe, Bitstream, Quark, and Ventura had all announced support for the Pantone color system.

To date Pantone, based in Carlstadt New Jersey, has amassed 1,757 shades on the Pantone Matching System and its name is essentially synonymous with color management on a global basis.