Autodesk Inventor helps Louvolite to be a Blinding Success Story

Louvolite is a manufacturing company for window blinds, systems and fabrics and supply over 1200 customers around the globe. They design and manufacture from pencil sketch through to final products and distribute around the world.

Louvolite manufacture quite a wide range of products, Louver-blinds, roller blinds, pleated shades, shutters. Not only do they design the component parts they also design and manufacture the tooling that manufactures those parts.


Using Autodesk Inventor allows us to develop our products so much quicker than we used to in the past. We have to be competitive, we have to develop new products to keep us ahead of our competition. If we aren’t developing products as quickly as we can do then somebody else is going to come along and make those parts.

Andrew Greening, Head of Engineering, Louvolite

Autodesk products allow Louvolite to connect different aspects of the business, whether its prototyping or manufacturing. They are using Autodesk Products to cover every single aspect of their designs.

product design
Product Design at Louvolite

Having the support of Quadra and Autodesk to make sure they’ve got the backup, allows the design team to do what they need to do. Since initially starting out with Autodesk products in 2000, Louvolite has grown exponentially and developed as a business and as they have done so, the Autodesk Product range that they utilise has also evolved. The Autodesk product range allows Louvolite to grow and get products to market quicker.

The future is looking exceptionally positive for Louvolite.

For more information about how Quadra and Autodesk have helped businesses large and small thrive and embrace technologies, talk to our experienced and knowledgeable team.

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Autodesk Software our Engineers Love

As you can imagine, at Quadra we spend a huge amount of time working with, using and learning about the software we sell. And as with anything, we have elements of the software that we just love to use. So we decided with it being Valentine’s Day, we’d share some of our favourite /the best Autodesk Software applications, tools and processes that make our lives easier.

Andy LaycockAndy Laycock – AEC Autodesk Software Applications Engineer

Revit – Scheduling

Revit scheduling is a great tool to embed into your working day-to-day practices.  The types of schedules range from a simple collection of objects to sheets of information gathered from the design.

  1. They contain columns and rows
  2. They hold data
  3. The data can be sorted and grouped in a number of different ways
  4. Formulas can be applied to the data in order to generate new values

In the past, scheduling required the manual gathering of how many of each type of an object existed.  For example – if you were doing a furniture schedule you would have to count each furniture piece you had, allowing for human error in the counting.  Once we have created a schedule, the program can collate all furniture that are placed in the design, giving you an accurate count as the design progresses time.

This same methodology goes for any aspect of a Revit Project; windows, doors, columns & material take off.

“Schedules can be placed in your template so save time and crate continuity throughout all your projects as they are automatically populated as the project is developed.”

AEC Applications Engineer, Andy Laycock

It is even possible to used placeholder sheet names and numbers to assist in the creation of drawing sets using the correct company standards and nomenclature, another advantage of this is that you only have to enter the titles and numbers once in the template, helping to avoid typos and numbering errors.

Scheduling in Revit is a very helpful tool that allows us as designers to create and quantify our design components.  There will be less overspend due to estimation and mistakes made in the field, and when it comes to ordering and building the components.

Matt Hutchinson – Manufacturing Autodesk Software Applications Engineer

Inventor – Frame Generator

I use Inventor Frame Generator to create internal frame external frame assemblies. You can find it in the assembly and weldment environments.

There are two ways to use it:

  • Create a model to use as a frame skeleton and place it in an assembly file (Place Component) or
  • Define the structure of a frame in the context of the assembly (Create Component).


With Frame Generator I can:

  • Create frame members from vertices and edges of existing subassemblies.
  • Build framing directly from other machine components within an assembly.
  • Use multiple skeletal models in an assembly.
  • Create frame members between skeletal models.
  • Define frame cross-sections and notch profiles and place them in the Content Center.

Stephen Hall – Manufacturing Autodesk SoftwareApplications Engineer

stephen hall

Fusion – CAM – Adaptive Clearing

Fusion 360 CAM  gives you the option of using 2D and 3D Adaptive clearing. Adaptive clearing calculates paths based on a sophisticated algorithm that constantly considers the remaining material and maintains optimal tool engagement throughout the cut. 

adaptive clearing

It is unique in that it guarantees a maximum tool load at all stages of the machining cycle, and makes it possible to cut deep and with the flank of the tool without risk of breakage.

Adaptive Clearing can also be used to great effect for rest- machining where a previous larger tool has removed the majority of the material, but a smaller tool is necessary for accessing the finer details. When a previous toolpath is selected, this strategy takes account of the state of the stock after the selected machining operations and limits itself to the yet non-machined areas.


Our team of experts at Quadra are a fountain of knowledge and regularly receive praise for their Customer support.

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The A to Z of PCB Design Terms

Think you know everything about PCB design?

Is this article we take you through the A to Z of PCB terms, which covers nearly every single PCB design term you will ever need. Beware… there are over 100 PCB design terms in this article, so if you want a PDF version to read later contact us

Acid Trap:

Vee section of laminate where two tracks are joined at an acute angle. In the days of old with dip processing etchent could remain trapped under the resist.


Gerber files consist of instructions to take specific shaped “pens” and draw particular lines or curves with them. The “pens” are called apertures. In the old days, they were actual templates which would be placed in front of a light, the light switched on, and wherever the light passed through the shape, it would be recorded on the film. These days, it’s all done by a sort of high-end laser printer, but the model of an aperture and a path to sweep it along is still used. Most apertures are simple geometric shapes such as circles and squares.


Traditionally 2:1 or larger, master pattern of the board. Originally drawn using Indian ink or laid out using black paper tape. Term now may refer to 1:1 films.

Back Etching:

Chemical removal of substrate beneath a pad, only normally used on flexible circuits.

Backing Board:

Sacrificial sheet of laminate used on the outside of drilling stack to reduce both exit and entry drilling burrs.

Base Laminate:

Insulating substrate out of which boards are made.

BBT Bare Board Testing:

Using a bed of nails to electrically test for open/short circuits.


Ball Grid Array.

Blind via:

A blind via is hole that reaches one outer surface, but stops partway through the board (like a blind alley).
Bomb Sights:

Alignment targets used for aligning circuit layers.


Pressing and fixing together of the layers used to make a muli layer PCB.


Name given to a bent circuit.


Unwanted short causing electrical short circuit.

Buried via:

A buried via is an internal hole that doesn’t reach either external surface.
Burnt Plating:

Grainy rough effect caused by using too high a plating current.


Buried Via’s, a via buried within a multi layer board.


Name for the isolating gaps between pads and tracks.

Component Side:

Side of board onto which components are mounted.

Contact Print:

A direct 1:1 film copy normally made emulsion to emulsion.

Corner Marks:

Extra tracks used to mark the corners of the circuit board.


Small extra section added on to outside edge of board used for destructive testing.


Component reference.

Datum Hole:

Master reference hole from which all other dimensions are measured.

Dielectric Constant

Electrical properties of PCB insulator (for RF designs)
Direct Metallisation:

Process used to make the non conductive areas conductive to enable pattern plating of circuit boards.

Drill File:

File generated by CAD systems, used for programming NC drilling machines.

Drill Tape:

Roll of paper with holes punched in it once used for programming NC machines.

Dry Film:

UV sensitive film laminated on and used to transfer circuit pattern onto circuits. Other types can also be used to apply solder resist.

Earth Plane:

Name given to large area of copper. Often used to provide electrical screening and control the characteristic impedance of signal tracks.


Type of solution used to deposit metal by chemical reactions alone. Slow deposition rates only.


Type of solution used to plate metals using an electric current.


Name given to the active and delicate side of photographic film.


Process where the substrate is chemically cut back inside holes on a multi layer board. It promotes a better connection to the inner layers.

Etch Factor:

The ratio of etch depth to the amount the resist is undercut during etching.


Chemical removal of metals.

Extraneous plating:

Plating where you don’t want it, – on solder mask, on bare laminate, etc.


Setting up the alignment of the films to the panels by eye.


A board made from flexible material.


A board made with both flexible and rigid material.


Name given to specially shaped pad custom designed to accommodate surface mount components.


Flame retardant phenolic resin laminate with paper reinforcing.


Flame retardant epoxy laminate with paper reinforcement.


Flame retardant version of the old G10 epoxy laminate with glass fibre reinforcement.


High temperature version of FR4 epoxy laminate with glass fibre reinforcement.

Gerber/Photoplot File:

File format used to produce PCB artwork or tooling.

Glass Transition Temperature:

Temperature at which the resin changes state from solid and becomes very flexible.


Tradition std non flame retardant epoxy laminate, mostly replaced by FR4.


Hot air solder levelling, involves coating the conductors with molten solder then blowing off the excess with a hot air knife.

Hot Oil Reflow:

Process where boards are immersed in a hot oil like mixture to fuse electroplated Tin/lead.


Another name to describe the component identification layer.

Immersion Tinning

Process by which the copper tracks and pads on a circuit are ‘pre-soldered’ with a layer of tin, aiding in corrosion/oxidation prevention as well as quick component take-up and dry joint reduction.


insulated metal substrates.


Frame used for holding panels during plating operations.


Base material that a circuit board is made from.


Name given to the area of metal surrounding a hole.

Landless Hole:

Name for a hole that doesn’t have a pad surrounding it.


Component reference, usually screened ink used to identify components on board.


Tracks marking outer edge of circuit board. Boards can often have their profile described as cut to markers.


Multilayer board, circuit board with extra layers of tracks.

Mother Panel:

Name given to a panel with duplicate circuits on it.


Film where clear areas would represent tracks or legend on a board.

Organic Coating:

Lacquer like coating applied to the bare circuit board copper to prevent surface oxidisation.

Organic Metal:

Conductive version of an organic coating, usually sold with a Electroless tin top coat.


Organic solderability preservative


Name for the metal annulus on a board around a hole;

Panel Plating:

Where the whole panel is plated with a metal;


Term used to describe FR2 phenolic laminate.

Pattern Plating:

Where only the required tracks and pads are plated with a metal;

Peel Strength:

Measure of the adhesion of the copper to the laminate.


Light sensitive resist used to transfer track pattern onto panel.

Pilot Hole:

Either a small hole to ease or guide the path of a larger drill, or can be the Entry and exit holes for routing which include pips.
Plasma Etch:

Process using ionised gas plasma to remove unwanted resin smear from the inside of holes.


Name used to describe connection lugs on a routed panel.


Low melting point plastic film used in flexible circuits.


Higher melting point plastic film used in flexible circuits.


Film where black areas would represent tracks or legend on a board.

Power Plane:

Similar to Earth plane but used as a large copper area to connect a power supply rail to the components.


Thin sheets of epoxy impregnated glass cloth used to bond multi layer board.


Plated-Through Holes. [Circuit boards where the tracks on both sides are interconnected using plated holes.]


Heat up the board to melt/fuse the tin-lead covering the tracks.


Describes the layer to layer alignment on the circuit board.

Reversal Print:

Film copy with the same polarity as the original but with the emulsion side reversed.

Robber Bars:

Extra areas of metal added outside the board area. Used to reduce the risks of burning during electrolytic plating.

Roller Tinning:

Application of the solder using a roller rotating in small vat of molten solder.


Drill like tool used to profile and cut out large holes, and slots.

Roving Probe:

Same as BBT but carried out using only a few test probes which are mechanically moved around the board.


Name given to old style Gerber photo plotter format.


Name for Newer format of Gerber photo plotter language, includes imbedded aperture tables amongst other things.


V cuts made top and bottom to allow individual circuits to be broken out of a mother panel.

Skip plating:

Missing plating where you do want it – on copper pads,etc.


Breaking away of the tin/lead edges when a track has been undercut during etching.

Smear Removal

Chemical removal of the resin smear inside a drilled hole. Failures in this process would result in poor quality hole plating.


Solder Mask Over Bare Copper.

Soda Strawing:

Small pocket air pocket located along a track edge, trapped under the solder resist.

Solder Resist:

Coating applied onto surface to decrease the likely hood of solder bridges during soldering. Or simply used to make circuit boards look more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Spotting In:

Touching up to remove flaws from both photographic masters and the printed circuit pattern.


Abbreviation for Solder resist.


Flaring (widening) of the track as it approaches a pad, forming a teardrop shape.

Tooling Hole:

Hole used by board manufacturer both to align track layers and drilling.


Electrical route, connection linking pads.


Another term for a bent board.

Two Pack:

An ink which is epoxy based, with separate catalyst and resin components. Very tough when cured.


Laminate which has been made without any outer layers of copper.

UV Inks:

Inks which are hardened using high intensity ultra violet light.


Small hole used solely to interconnect tracks on different layers of the circuit.

Wave Soldering

Soldering joints by passing them over a wave/fountain of molten solder.


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