Horizontal integration. Vertical integration. Multidimensional integration
Episode 3: models
Models: that’s a hot title! Add (almost) any word in front of it and the click rate goes sky-high: top models, best models, many models…
Let’s try part models.
Design disciplines and the associated software applications are separate worlds: mechanical vs electrical vs electronic vs thermal. However, as we read in previous episodes of this post, they are starting to blend and integrate, in order to increase productivity and in order to be able maintain the quality and design cycle time for higher-complexity products.
What happens to the libraries associated with these different realms? They must integrate, too.
In the not-so-distant future we shall use a single central library for all design disciplines. A part will have a representation in each of the disciplines where it is relevant. A heatsink does not have a symbol for the PCB schematics, nor does it have a footprint. However, it has a thermal model and a 3D model. An electronic component has a symbol, a footprint, a 3D model, maybe an analog model or a thermal model. If it includes high-speed buffers, then it will have an IBIS model, too.
Currently we map the parts in a “foreign” bill-of-materials (BOM) we receive to “our” library using part numbers. This might work fine for now, but future design software will use a unified library.
This is not something new. We had and still have standalone analog simulators or thermal simulators in which we define thermal models for components which we also use in PCB schematics and layout. At a certain point we started using a PCB design software with an integrated analog simulator and, consequently, we integrated the analog (SPICE) model into our library of PCB parts.
The same integration takes place these days in the world of harness design: connectors have a simple 3D models for MCAD, but need a more detailed model, with description mapping of cavities in the harness design software.
So the motto of librarians will soon be “Models of the (engineering) world – UNITE!” 🙂