From virtual to actual RS Components presents the latest version of its online resource, DesignSpark PCB at Electronica: Visit RS at Hall A4, Stand 117

In a dynamic industry that is evolving evermore swiftly, finding alternative methods to reduce design cycle times is a priority uppermost in the minds of electronics engineers. In this tough competitive environment, a company’s success is increasingly dependent on the ability of its engineers to develop highly differentiated products that deliver enhanced performance and functionality in a fast time-to-market. 

As a result, engineers are on the lookout for increasing levels of support to help them achieve their design and development goals. This is a unique opportunity for distributors like RS to get involved and offer easily accessible and powerful cost-effective tools and added value service to enable significantly faster product development time cycles.

Over the past two years the distributor has taken considerable steps towards helping engineers meet time-to-market demands through the introduction of various eCommerce initiatives, including advanced parametric search tools to deliver fast product selection and highly efficient purchasing. The company has also developed a unique online design ecosystem that provides support to engineers from a product’s conception right through to its production.

At the core of this effort is the online support community and the award-winning DesignSpark PCB schematic capture and PCB layout software, which is downloadable and completely free.

With no restrictions or limitations, the fully-featured DesignSpark PCB has created a new benchmark for PCB design tools, and has been embraced by engineers worldwide, with almost 160,000 downloads from the RS website since its launch in July 2010.

With the recent introduction of Version 4.0 of the tool, engineers now have access to an industry-leading component library, PCB quote service and BOM quote functionality. On top of this, the newly developed ModelSource, downloadable from the DesignSpark site, provides one of the industry’s largest open-source component libraries.

 DesignSpark PCB Version 4.0

DesignSpark PCB Version 4.0 is a substantial extension of the software’s capabilities and makes the flow from design to purchase considerably quicker and easier. The simplicity of the DesignSpark PCB user interface with its built-in wizards has now been combined with substantial time saving benefits for engineers.

New functionality includes an enhanced library manager, featuring an easy-to-use attribute and part number driven interface to an extended library of over 80,000 components.  Additionally there are new tools to obtain quotes for the Bill-of-Materials (BOM) and production quotes from PCB manufacturing and assembly subcontractors.

The BOM Quote tool is a new ­feature within the DesignSpark PCB software and links with the RS website to ­provide instant component quotation.

The tool takes advantage of RS part numbers embedded within the new component library and automatically generates a BOM that is ‘scrubbed’ to match the components gathered from the design – with options to either save a copy of the BOM, request a quote, or to automatically populate the shopping basket on the RS website.

Also available within the DesignSpark PCB software is the new PCB Quote tool, which is based on attributes taken directly from the PCB design software, such as board size, copper layer count, manufacturing limits such as track width, copper gap and drill size. Engineers can obtain a direct quote from a wide range of PCB subcontractors.

ModelSource component library

ModelSource is a unique new component library that contains more than 80,000 component schematics and footprints of semiconductors, passives and electromechanical components from leading manufacturers.

The library is available via the DesignSpark website for any engineer to freely access, with components available in more than 20 different formats for use with other popular PCB design software packages.

ModelSource is also integrated into DesignSpark PCB Version 4.0, greatly enhancing the software tool’s existing library. Additionally, ModelSource contains more than 30,000 3D models in 24 formats for widely used mechanical 3D software tools.

Engineers can use ModelSource to search by manufacturer or the distributors part number where a specific part has been chosen for a design. When the choice of device is open, an attribute-driven search can be used to quickly identify components before downloading the model for use in the design tool.

Fundamentally, these kinds of tools and design resources are fast becoming a lifeline for engineers, who are increasingly relying on them to help cut development costs and reduce time-to-market.