Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions – if your question doesn’t feature contact us and we are happy to advise.

Autodesk  – Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Inventor cost?

Autodesk Inventor can be a very cost-effective option for many businesses but it will also depend upon whether you are looking for networked licenses and whether you want it as part of the bigger Autodesk Collections Software. Contact Quadra Solutions for more information.

Is AutoCAD only available as subscription?

Autodesk has now moved to a subscription model, done on a yearly or 3 yearly basis. For more information on this contact your local reseller.

How much does AutoCAD cost?

AutoCAD can be a very cost-effective option for many businesses but it will also depend upon whether you are looking for networked licenses and whether you want it as part of the bigger Autodesk Collections Software. Contact Quadra Solutions for more information.

How much does Fusion 360 cost?

Fusion 360 can cost as little as £56 monthly. For more information contact your local Autodesk Reseller.

 

PCB – Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to Manufacture a PCB?

Pricing is dependent on the number of layers and technology the board will require. make sure when you get a quote it includes all elements of the design and manufacturing process and that re-work, changes are included in the price.

Which PCB file/Program formats can you accept ?

We can accept designs in standard Gerber (RS274-X) format from any program or standard output from the following programs,

  • Altium
  • Mentor Graphics®
  • Cadence
  • Zuken
  • Altium Designer®
  • Allegro®
  • ORCAD®
  • CADSTAR®
  • Visula®
  • PADS®

What PCB services can you offer?

 We can offer the following services

  • Data Preparation
  • Library Creation
  • Circuit Board Design
  • PCB Layout Service
  • PCB Assembly and Manufacture
  • PCB Reverse Engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • High-Speed PCB Design
  • Post PCB Layout
  • ECAD / MCAD Integration

Training – Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need IPC CID to do IPC CID+?

It required that you have completed IPC CID before embarking on CID+ due to the complexity of knowledge required to complete the CID+

 

eCADSTAR/ CADSTAR – Frequently Asked Questions

How much does CADSTAR/ eCADSTAR cost?

eCADSTAR ranges in price dependant upon the package and bundles you choose and whether they are individual licenses or networked licenses. Contact Quadra Solutions for more information about pricing.

 

Click here for more information

5 Reasons to Manufacture your PCB’s with Quadra

There are many good reasons to outsource the manufacture of your PCB designs but here are the top 5.

1. Cost-efficient PCB’s

Operating in-house manufacturing facilities is expensive. Set-up and day-to-day operation require significant investment and outlay, limiting capacity for spending in other areas and the time spent making PCB prototypes, disrupting normal business can cost you and your business.

2. Dedicated product assembly expertise

By using contract product assembly services, you are assured access to dedicated expertise. We have the skills and access to all the relevant technologies and supplier to make the process as seamless as possible for you.

3. When time is of the essence

Does your business have the in-house manufacturing capability to cope with the potential peaks and troughs of demand? Cost efficiency and reliability are key. To stay competitive you need the resources to ensure that market needs are met quickly. We can help with that.

4. Quality Manufacturing

Manufacture and assembly work is carried out in strict accordance with national and international standards and in today’s increasingly global marketplace, where companies must comply with a growing number of these standards.

5. Better lead times

Order size and frequency can fluctuate; working with a contract electronics manufacturer is a cost-efficient way to manage this fluctuation in market demand. A contract product assembly company has the capacity and resources to deal easily with spikes in demand. This guarantees that you always receive exactly what you need when you need it.

 

Quadra PCB Manufacture

We have been designing, assembling and fabricating PCB’s for over 20 years and our ability to design and manufacture the highest quality PCB designs and prototypes means the world to every single member of the Quadra team.

 

You can rely on our highly experienced and IPC CID+ accredited team of PCB Design Engineers to provide a full range of PCB Design Services that leave you free to focus on the design concept and product strategy. 

Our ISO 9001 accredited team deliver complex, high-speed multi-layered circuit board design layout, testing, library management and manufacturing services for hundreds of happy customers each year, using a wide range of PCB design software packages including;

  • Altium        
  • Mentor            
  • eCADSTAR and CADSTAR                 
  • PADS              
  • Cadence 

For more information about PCB design and Manufacturing contact us

A New Starter and a New Normal: Starting a New Job during Lockdown

Way back in March, Quadra welcomed a new PCB Designer and eCADSTAR Applications Engineer to their ranks, Sarah Santangeli. Sarah is an experienced PCB Designer with experience of both electronic and mechanical design with experience of the Rail and Traffic Management and the Medical industries. However, due to lockdown we were never able to formally welcome her to the team.

Starting a new job can be incredibly overwhelming. There are new colleagues to get to know, a different boss to work with and the role itself to get to grips with. Starting a new job during lockdown means, new starters are not just isolated from their entire team, but they’re also having to navigate a new role with nobody around.

We talk to her about her lockdown experience and how she is looking forward to getting back into the office.

So, Sarah what’s it like starting a new job during lockdown?

“Very strange! Lockdown came into force on my first week with Quadra, so there was no time to meet everyone, get a feel for the place and settle in. In the first few weeks of lockdown we set up a messaging group so that we could all keep in touch which really helped to lift spirits, whilst the majority of the team were working from home.”

How has working from home been?

“I have never previously worked from home so that was a new experience for me and whilst it has been a bit lonely at times, it has given me plenty of opportunity to get to grips with eCADSTAR and all the brilliant features it includes.”

Yes, that must of been interesting, not only a new job and a new company but also a whole new software and way of working to learn. How did you find that?

eCADSTAR is remarkably easy to learn and it hasn’t taken me long at all to familiarise myself with it’s functional and streamlined design process. I have really enjoyed getting to grips with a brand new software that is showing promise to be a really exciting and intuitive essential PCB design tool.

So, Sarah how did get into this line of work?

“I enjoy solving puzzles, problem-solving and I’ve got a stubborn streak whereby I won’t give up until I’ve solved the problem. I studied both mechanical design and electronic design but found the PCB side really interesting, more so than the mechanical side. I do think, however, having a mechanical background gives me a greater understanding of design for manufacture when considering PCB design. eCADSTAR combines both the electronic and 3D aspects with mechanical checking features, which is one of the reasons I think eCADSTAR is a great all-round design tool”

Tell me about your previous employment?

“Working within rail and highways there were plenty of changes which kept me very busy. With signalling upgrading to LED technology there was lots to maintain, upgrade and new projects to involved with such as Vehicle Activated Road Signs. I also developed new products for the rail industry for removing transient voltages from the lines and new variants for level crossings. In the Medical industry, I have been involved in the development of a needle destruction device and an electronic device for nicotine replacement therapy.”

I guess my only disappointment is that I’ve never really been able to specialise in my previous roles. As I studied Mechatronics at University, I have previously been involved with all aspects of engineering within projects. I’ve always wanted to specialise in PCB design and hone my skills specific to that area. So within Quadra I am hoping that this will be the case.”

Moving forward, what are you looking forward to?

“First of all, I am looking forward to getting back into the office. Not only for the shared ideas and to be closer to the team but also so I can work with a very experienced and knowledgeable PCB design team.

But secondly, I can’t wait to get back out to meet eCADSTAR customers, delivering training and demonstrations. eCADSTAR is a great software package and there are some really useful and time-saving tools, as a PCB designer, I know others will love!”

Many of the Quadra team are now back in the office, but only part-time. If you need us, we are here 01254 301 888. For more information about eCADSTAR, please go to www.quadrasol.co.uk/ecadstar.

How does Manufacturing Contribute to UK Economic Resilience?

I came across this piece of research whilst looking for how resilient the manufacturing industry will be during Coronavirus and even though it was written back in 2013, it raises some interesting points. I thought I would summarise them.

Here are some of the interesting takeaways from this research;

  • Manufacturing retains a distinctively valuable and important role for the UK in economic, political, cultural, technological and cultural terms.
  • A central concern for manufacturing in the UK is its productivity, relative competitiveness and growth potential into the future to 2020-50.

A robust manufacturing sector contributes towards

  • Output: Producing gross domestic product (GDP)
  • Employment: Creating direct and indirect employment and incomes
  • Productivity: Producing value-added and providing the highest potential for productivity growth
  • Innovation, research and development: High levels of expenditure on applied research and innovation generating wider diffusion and spill-over effects to the broader economy
  • Trade: Generating export earnings from overseas sales and maintaining positive trade balances
  • Supply chains: Purchasing goods and services generating direct and indirect multipliers for investment, growth and employment within the wider economy
  • Manufacturing-service linkages: Creating demand for high value-added and specialised services such as accountancy, advertising, legal, marketing and research
  • Training and skills development: Developing a highly skilled workforce and creating training opportunities for new labour market entrants
  • Tax revenue: As a sizeable and productive economic activity producing output and employing people, manufacturing is a substantial contributor to national tax revenue.

Need Support during the Pandemic with working from home or with software? Please contact us.

Manufacturing’s role in Economic Resilience

As a result of its pivotal role as a vibrant sector of economic activity, manufacturing makes the following vital contributions to resilience:

  • Recovering lost output, employment and productivity: In the wake of disruptive change, manufacturing can contribute to generating GDP, jobs and value-added as part of regaining previous growth trajectories both directly and indirectly through its wider supply chains for goods and services
  • Generating new and replacement employment: Manufacturing can create new kinds of job opportunities in new and growing activities to replace those lost, for example in recession and economic downturn
  • Innovating for growth: Periods of disruptive change can stimulate what Joseph Schumpeter called ‘creative destruction’ with manufacturing demonstrating high innovation potential for product and process advances
  • Motor of recovery especially in export-led sectors: As UK economic growth has stuttered and fallen into a double-dip recession, the export orientation of manufacturing has meant it has outperformed the national economy in making a positive contribution to economic recovery
  • Upgrading the workforce: The role and position of manufacturing in training and skills development is vital in upgrading the existing workforce for example in learning new skills as well as producing portable transferable skills of use in different activities, enhancing the flexibility of the labour market in response to shocks
  • Focus of sectoral rebalancing: As part of the UK government’s policy of ‘rebalancing’ the sectoral and spatial structure of the UK economy it aims to grow manufacturing rather than reduce the size and contribution of the services sector, especially financial services. This policy suggests a future role for manufacturing and its contribution to UK resilience.

5 Ways Manufacturing can Contribute towards Economic Resilience

1 ‘Smart’ industrial strategy – proactively creating, shaping and nurturing business activity rather than leaving its development to purely market-led outcomes

2. Ensuring that investment is made into technology

3. Local, collaborative and supportive production networks

4. Manu-services – Where firms combine goods and services into packages.

5. Adaptive capacity – the ability to adapt and change in the face of disruptive change.

To read the full article click here

 

Remote Working | Backing up your data while working from home

Remote working | Written by Quadra IT Manager – Steve Taylor

With many people currently remote working from home during the pandemic, many companies are using a VPN to access data stored on company servers and computers etc. But in today’s blog, Quadra’s IT Manager, Steve Taylor, suggests how not backing up your data could really get your “back-up.”

Back-up your Data

Back it up, Back it up and let me begin!

Backing up your data is always important.

However, during this Pandemic, this process may be overlooked if there is no-one left in your office to change backup devices or if data is being created locally on home computers. Remote working has it’s challenges.

If you haven’t done so already, I recommend discussing backups with your IT department or external IT company. They may be able to assure you that backups will continue to take place in the absence of onsite staff or alternative backup procedures may need to be set up. Either way, it gives you confidence that data can be restored from backup media should it be necessary.

Managing your own Back-ups?

For those without the luxury of a dedicated or outsourced IT team, then you or someone in your company needs to ensure backups continue to happen whilst everyone is working from home. Data stored locally on home computers can be copied to external USB hard drives. Some USB drives are self-encrypting and are ideal for sensitive data. An alternative is cloud storage – examples include Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft One-drive.

If you’re unsure whether you need to invest in backup procedures, think of how much your data is worth in terms of money. It may be only a few gigabytes in size but if you lose this data and have no backup, recreating it from scratch could be expensive.

I have rebuilt systems that have failed for various reasons but this would have been impossible without data backups. The companies in question were back to normal in a relatively short period of time. I dread to think what would have happened if their data hadn’t been recoverable. Please stay safe and remember…..

Backup, backup, backup

 

Contact our support for any queries about backing up your software

Quadra are also able to help you with hardware related queries – contact us for more information

6 Tips for Designers and Engineers Working Remotely

Top tips on working from home for designers and engineers from our Head of Technical Support, Rob Hargreaves, who is currently self-isolating.

Working from Home

As you can imagine, we are receiving a large number of calls relating to working from home, so whilst I have been self-isolating I decided to outline a couple of options and tips below: – hope they are useful!

Remote Control

Remote control your workstation from your home PC using the free Chrome Remote Desktop tool. Follow the link below for instructions. Please note that with this option the graphics may lag a little and you won’t be able to use your Spacemouse but your machine will behave just as it does in the office (because it’s still in the office).

Get Chrome Remote Desktop

VPN

By configuring your workstation to connect to a secure VPN or Virtual Private Network you are able to take it home, connect it to the internet and work as if you are plugged into your network at the office. Your connection to Autodesk Vault and your drive mappings to company servers should work fine (if not a little slow). Remember though if you take your desktop or tower PC home they don’t usually have WiFi so you will need to set up close to your router or use Powerline Adapters*, just make sure you get the ones with Ethernet ports built-in (and take home a network cable).

If you are using network licenses you may need to increase the amount of time your application will wait before it gives up trying to get a license. This involves setting up a system variable on your workstation. See here for instructions. Click here

*Powerline adapters are filters which allow network signals to travel down your domestic power cables. See reviews below:-

best powerline adapters

tech radar reviews

Inventor Users

For you Inventor users, if none of the options above are suitable and you decide to copy your data to your workstation and take it home please consider the following:-

  • Copy your Templates and Design Data folders too.
  • You may need to create a new Project (.ipj) file to point to your local hard drive and templates.
  • The files you are working on are not visible to other users so stay in touch when working on parts of a model which may influence other parts of the design.

Useful Resources for Designers and Engineers

Resourcefulness during Covid-19 is absolutely essential and we have been sharing these resources with our customers throughout the pandemic. Here are some of the most useful.

The Autodesk Resource Center Click here

Guidelines for installing and using Autodesk software in a virtual environment

Best practices for optimizing your VPN

Best practices for accessing Autodesk software while working remotely

Guidelines and help for using Autodesk software at home

There’s also a Webinar Series on remote working and collaboration for Design and Manufacturing Professionals, and for Architects, Civil Engineers and BIM Managers

Top 6 Tips for Designers  and Engineers Working from Home

  1. Set your dining table to its ‘Christmas dinner configuration’ to fit all of your equipment. I have even seen pasting tables dusted off and set up as home offices too.
  • Dig out the headphones that came with your phone, they usually allow hands-free calls to customers and suppliers while you are operating your PC.
  • Your TV will likely have a spare HDMI port so you are able to use it as a second monitor (don’t forget the extra HDMI cable).
  • You are working in close proximity to your fridge, avoid the temptation to eat all of the food you have just panic bought.

 

  • Don’t forget why we are doing this

Please share your home working successes with us or email support@quadrasol.co.uk for further advice on using your design system at home…

Will COVID affect you? | PCB Design & Manufacturing

As the number of Coronavirus cases in the UK continues to climb, it is becoming highly likely that Coronavirus will wreak havoc on PCB design and Manufacturing cycles and manufacturing over the coming months.

Whilst we are doing everything we can to support our software customers so they can continue working remotely, our PCB design team is here to help deliver your project on time.

At Quadra we offer a complete PCB design to manufacture service. You may only require us to deliver a quick layout job for you or you may have a whole project that is falling behind schedule. However Coronavirus is affecting your business, we are here to help.

 

PCB Design Services from Quadra Solutions

We have been designing, assembling and fabricating PCB’s for over 20 years and our ability to design and manufacture the highest quality PCB designs and prototypes means the world to every single member of the Quadra team.

You can rely on our highly experienced and IPC CID+ accredited team of PCB Design Engineers to provide a full range of PCB Design Services that leave you free to focus on the design concept and product strategy. 

Our ISO 9001 accredited team deliver complex, high-speed multi-layered circuit board design layout, testing, library management and manufacturing services for hundreds of happy customers each year, using a wide range of PCB design software packages including;

  • Altium        
  • Mentor            
  • eCADSTAR and CADSTAR                 
  • PADS              
  • Cadence 

 Quadra PCB design and Manufacturing Services

  • Data Preparation 
  • Library Creation
  • UKAS-ISO-9001-1-150x150Circuit Board Design
  • PCB Layout Service
  • PCB Assembly and Manufacture
  • PCB Reverse Engineering
  • Reverse engineering
  • High-Speed PCB Design
  • Post PCB Layout
  • ECAD / MCAD Integration

 

Contact us now

Quadra announced as European CADSTAR Distributor of the Year for the 7th time

Quadra Solutions has become European CADSTAR Distributor of the Year for the seventh time in their 20 years as a distributor for CADSTAR. 

The award recognises the hard work and dedicated customer support that Quadra delivers throughout the year.

Steve Dobson, Managing Director, Quadra Solutions, said: “We are delighted once again to receive this award. We have recently added to the team at Quadra with a new salesperson, Lisa Kennedy and Richard Anderson in our PCB design team. Our consultative approach to working with our customers, backed by our vast wealth of knowledge and expertise, enables us to provide the best service for our customers.”

 

Jeroen Leinders, CADSTAR Worldwide Sales Manager, said: “ I’d like to congratulate Quadra Solutions in becoming European distributor of the year for the 7th time. There are exciting plans on the horizon and I’m sure Quadra will be at the forefront of helping us deliver these.”

For more information, see www.zuken.com/cadstar or www.quadrasol.co.uk

Top 3 Reasons why PCB design outsourcing could be good for business

When people talk about outsourcing any element of any business, people often think of the negative associated connotations, lack of control, job losses, a reduction in quality. etc.etc
But the benefits of PCB design outsourcing are often forgotten about. We thought we’d have a look at the top three reasons some people and businesses benefit from outsourcing.

Cost

By outsourcing your PCB design, it is possible to free up resources needed to help grow your business. Instead of spending time hiring staff for PCB design, or employing someone for that purpose, you can focus your financial resources on other areas that need them. Moreover, it can often be hard to find a fully qualified and experienced PCB designer that doesn’t require training/retraining.

Professional

You may have some experience in PCB creation, but when you outsource your design, you know you are getting professional service delivered by someone who regularly undertakes PCB design, making him more efficient and effective at the job at hand. These professional designers are usually highly skilled, highly experienced and carrying the right accreditations (IPC Certified Interconnect Designer) to complete the job correctly.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about purchasing the right software for PCB design or being a good artist.

Time

Keeping a project on the go and keeping to a timescale probably takes up every moment of your day. PCB design is probably just one small part of the overall project you are working on right now. And, even though it is an important part of creating your product it is a task that if not completed within the appropriate timescale, can cause delays for all other areas of the project.

 

Outsourcing PCB design gives you the opportunity to focus on other aspects of your business. In addition, by outsourcing your design you also save time on future product development. You don’t have to concern yourself with PCB design of future products because you’ll already have worked with a firm in the past. Then, you can focus on more important day-to-day activities to help your project/ business run smoothly.

For more information about PCB Design Services from Quadra Solutions contact us

Three reasons why IPC Certification should be on your training wishlist

It’s that time of year again. Yearly performance appraisals, staff planning and looking to the year ahead. But are you and your team ready for the new year? Do you have the in-house skills available? Are your team ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead? Is IPC Certification on your training wishlist this year?

Or is it time to look at investing in the right training?

 

The IPC regularly researches companies in the electronics industry and within one of these research surveys was found the reasons why people are using IPC courses and certification to enhance their knowledge and job prospects.

The research, which includes many Fortune 500 electronics companies, found that there were three main reasons people prised these courses above any other.

 

Reason 1. Outdated or Insufficient Knowledge

ipc cid+
Click Here to look at our Upcoming Course Dates

From 87 leading electronics organisations 57% of the respondents indicated that a lack of knowledge or outdated knowledge is the reason for staff to participate in a course or certification.

“This is no surprise to us. We often find that the people that attend our IPC courses are highly experienced PCB designers, with many years of service. However, over time their knowledge has become outdated or they have picked up bad habits. Many say that its a great way to refresh the knowledge they already had, but many say they plan to revisit old designs and adapt and amend their design processes.”

Reason 2. Buyer Expectation

The second reason for participation, given by 46% of the respondents, is that having an IPC certification is a requirement made by buyers of the products. IPC Certification ultimately means that the product the buyer is getting is more likely to experience fewer issues during manufacture.

 

Reason 3. High Quality, Fault-free Board Design

The final reason for participation, given by 40% of the respondents, is that IPC certification makes the difference between a faulty and a well-designed, fit for purpose printed circuit board.

 

More about IPC CID Certification

IPC Interconnect Designer Certification (CID) is the definitive training course for PCB designers and electronic design professionals.

IPC Designer Certification or CID (Certified Interconnect Designer) and CID+ are the industry’s only premier professional development programme targeted toward those working in the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design industry. The CID professional development programme ensures delegates are familiar with the foundations of design decision-making and ensures that IPC standards are embedded into their work from the start to avoid complications later in the process.

We have a full calendar of IPC CID and CID+ dates available now. For more information go to www.quadrasol.co.uk/ipc.

Have you read our PCB Design ebook?

10 Rules for Efficient & Effective PCB design | Download the Guide

Download our PCB Design Guide – 10 Rules for Efficient and Effective PCB Design

 

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