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Multi-board design solution for multi-discipline collaboration

Multi-board systems may comprise two boards or up to hundreds of boards – packing a cabinet or rack with connectors and/or cables and wiring harnesses. Since the hardware functionality is now distributed across multiple boards, the system integrator must determine the connections that need to be made between each board and to external interfaces. Spreadsheets are the most commonly used tool to define and manage this connectivity, but as design complexity rises this information may run into tens of thousands of connections.

To manage multi-board systems design complexity effectively, Mentor Graphics’ Xpedition enables concurrent multi-discipline team collaboration. The Xpedition flow maximises team efficiency by eliminating redundant effort during the design process, while optimising product performance and reliability with a data management infrastructure. This ensures data integrity and leverages reusable IP across all boards, connectors and cables in the system.

Designing systems that contain multiple interconnected boards (connectors and/or cables) has traditionally been done with separate board and cabling projects ‘kludged’ together by desktop office tools, such as spreadsheets for intra-board connectivity; text files for system element parameters; and drawing applications for block level system structure and hierarchy. This leads to poor collaboration between cross-domain design teams; costly intra-system connectivity errors; extensive time-consuming manual validation steps; and restrictive system change rules that prohibit system design optimisation. This also impacts the ability to design networks of interconnect electronic systems – known as ‘system-of-systems’ – which are commonly seen in automotive, satellites, industrial automation and data centre infrastructure.

The Xpedition design flow improves design team productivity and reduces development cost by replacing inefficient paper and manual processes with an automated, fully integrated, collaborative workflow. The automated synchronisation between all levels of abstraction and automated connector management will help design teams achieve time-to-market targets. Signal tracing, functional and signal integrity simulation, and design partitioning and re-partitioning while maintaining connectivity content ensures ‘correct by construction’ system design. The Xpedition flow is a fully parallel collaborative design environment where global teams can work in ‘real-time’, providing companies with the flexibility and intuitive technologies to develop innovative and competitive products.

Mentor Graphics’ Xpedition solution is a single integrated environment for multi-board systems design, including logical design, partitioning and connector and wiring management. For the first time, the entire hardware design, from multi-board system specification to completed PCBs and cables can be handled with one seamlessly integrated flow.

Mentor Graphics

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