PDM: The Essential Foundations of Good Design Webinar

Do you have the essentials for good design? Is PDM a priority for your design flow?

Think of all the essentials you rely on daily: your home, your phone, your refrigerator. Now, think about your design and engineering work and all the essential tools you rely on. Is Autodesk Vault PDM on your list? If you’re not using Vault for product data management, it’s likely that you don’t know why you should—because people who use Vault can’t imagine being as productive without it.

Autodesk Vault PDM

Vault Data ManagementDuring this webinar, you will learn why Autodesk Vault is essential to effective design by helping you achieve such benefits as:

  • Fewer product errors
  • Faster processes
  • Reduction in lost documentation
  • Faster response times

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Why use Outsourced PCB Prototyping Services?

Outsourcing services to experienced and talented teams, like ours at Quadra, will save you time and money. Our PCB prototyping services remove your frustrations and prevent feelings of stress as we guide you through the process as expertly as we can.

But what if you are an established manufacturer with a continuous production line, broad in-house capabilities to manufacture fully populated PCB’s and have the resources to create your own BOM and manage the process from start to finish?

You’ll still benefit, and here’s how.

Collaborating with us, and deploying our turn-key services, will ensure that your production line runs optimally and doesn’t have to stop to make a small prototype batch of the next big thing. This is crucial to your efficiencies and ultimately to the health of your bottom line.

We have 22 years of experience in PCB design and outsourcing production services. Our skilled engineers work with a broad range of clients amassing real-world experience. The supply partners that we have established are closely managed by our team and are fully approved under industry-standard assessment schemes.


You’re an entrepreneur with a vision and need someone to make sense of it?

No problem, we’re all ears. As soon as you can, tell us your plans and we’ll pull your ideas together and turn them into a physical working model.


The importance of understanding the PCB Prototype Quote Process

We completely understand that the best part of the process is when our customers take delivery of their manufactured prototype. Getting the quote is all too often seen as a complex and laborious task. But, when you understand the process, and know the elements that go into it, then you may just get excited that bit earlier.

Knowing the purpose of the quote

The purpose of a quote for a PCB assembly is to establish costs, timescales, and details on what to expect when the product is completed. In contrast, the purpose of a quote for a PCB prototype is to identify the design’s manufacturability and any modifications that may be required prior to the circuit boards being mass-produced.

The three stages of the PCB prototyping quote process

When you break the process down, you’ll discover that there are three main phases: the Design Generation phase, the Design Package Evaluation phase and the Quote Generation phase.

The first two phases require collaboration from both parties as there are essential back-to-back communications to ensure the desired outcome. This is where knowledge of the process comes in handy to accelerate the process and to experience fewer challenges along the way.

  1. The Design Package Generation Phase: This is where you, the client, provide us with as much detail and documentation as possible. The more detailed data you have the better. Our experts can then check the feasibility of the request, ask for more information if necessary, and then start work on designing your prototype and draw up a draft.

Example data:

  • Schematics, or PCB layout if they already exist.
  • Footprint details of the desired finished PCB if applicable.
  • Connectivity and any constraints, again if applicable.
  • Approvals that must be met.
  • Any RFI or other environmental considerations.
  • (BOM) bill of materials.
  • Will anything be free issued and how (on reels) or loose, etc.

You’ll receive preliminary plans at this stage for approval. Once approved we move onto phase 2.

  1. Design Package Evaluation: This stage sees us deep-diving into the feasibility of the end design. Using our team of experienced engineers and planners with industry-leading software such as CADSTAR and Autodesk our team have the tools and the skills to quickly evaluate the whole project. If there are any errors, they will be identified during this phase and be addressed. Our team can also pressure test the supply chain and costing models for your BOM.
  2. Quote Generation. This is the final phase.


How to get an accurate quote with less stress

  • Effective communication is key. To realise your vision there must be regular communication. Plus, you’ll gain clarity during each stage of the quoting process and stay in control of your design.
  • For additional clarity, all documentation is kept up to date with dates, terms and conditions, expenses and the components used.
  • Gain confidence by doing some research yourself if you feel it necessary. We’re more than happy for you to do your own fact-finding to check the quality of the materials and components that we propose.
  • If you need to chat through your initial requirements for PCB prototyping and see if we’re a good fit for your needs, please get in touch with us.

Want to know more about PCB Prototyping? Contact us now

pcb design rulesQuadra Solutions | PCB Design Professionals

We specialise in PCB design software and solutions. Quadra is one of the largest PCB bureaus in the UK and helps support hundreds of businesses throughout the UK and beyond with PCB design projects. We have the knowledge that helps companies embed, enhance and extend their design flow.

Find out more about our PCB Design Services

Have you read our new eBook?

Click to download the ebook now

New Functionality in eCADSTAR 2021 – Creepage Checks

The creepage check within eCADSTAR’s PCB editor is a powerful tool and is so much more than a basic clearance check.  The voltage difference can also be changed based on requirements for a voltage difference range.  The flexibility and sophistication is down to the user control.



Creepage Check in Action

In this design I have maximized the input voltage to 600V at the power connector of our demo PCB Design, The first thing we need to do is define the voltage of the signals in the constraints browser. This is used in combination with the design rules to create the appropriate spacing to avoid creepage issues. In this demonstration, we will be focusing on the 600V signal.

pcb Creepage

Then in the Rule editor, there is now a new “voltage difference” tab Here is where we define the creepage rules. Here I have defined 3 clearance tables External_Coated, External_uncoated and Internal. These Rules are based on IPC standards which provides a formula for adequate clearances regarding creepage, you can use the formula or enter a defined value. This is therefore a clearance that varies with voltage difference but can also vary within a range of thresholds, making this a sophisticated solution for creepage rules. it is also a decision for the user if the voltage values are defined as RMS or Peak, as it is to define the voltage thresholds and values within the formulae.

Creepage Checker

From the report tab we can invoke the creepage checker. You can set a search distance around what is selected for a creepage check. eCADSTAR will check-in X Y & Z and even around the edges of the PCB

Once you have selected a signal, net, or the entire board a results dialogue will appear where you can filter by caution and fail results.

We can see from the results, creepage issues exist, creepage distance on the same external layers, for the 600V signal. 

The error line is helpful as it is a guidance as to where we need to rectify the creepage failure, in this example we will take the traditional approach of inserting a slot in between the signals, Using eCADSTAR’s slot command. You can see that this slot is not long enough to rectify the problem and the error line now shows a different path signal to signal. We can easily increase the slot length from the properties tab.

We can now see those violations have been resolved, we can also check the creepage path through this slot from layer 1 to 4.


So, what are the Key Benefits of the Creepage checker?

  • Powerful and advanced creepage design and check
  • Design right and with advanced creepage design rules
  • Reduce iterations and design re-work
  • Powerful rules specified to voltage difference, beyond traditional clearance
  • Clearance varies with voltage difference, as opposed to discrete values
  • Creepage design consideration integrated within design rules
  • Efficient and productive design environment
  • Improve design review efficiency
  • Creepage checks reduce overall design time and improve quality
  • Design and verify to IEC 62368-1 from the outset and during design process

For more about eCADSTAR 2021 click here

eCADSTAR – Built to Help You Deliver Results

  • PCB DE64-bit computing
  • Mouse and touch screen operation
  • Powerful graphics, enabling users to design in a native 3D environment
  • Advanced Collaborative design, allowing design activities to occur concurrently
  • 2D and 3D environments
  • Multi-core processor

For more information about eCADSTAR please contact us

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Quadra Solutions’ guide to PCB track length matching in high-speed design

To maximise the performance of a circuit design, the implementation of track length matching is key. In any circuit design, an electronic signal takes a certain amount of time to travel along the conductor to reach its end destination. It is crucial to identify the sections of a printed circuit board (PCB) design that requires length matching to guarantee that the signals arrive with accurate timing.


Track length matching is normally thought of as in pairs, but it also applies to buses with single-ended signals and differentially-driven buses. As CPU peripherals and other digital systems require faster-operating speeds, the propagation delays in a high-speed system, places tight tolerances on the allowed track length in a conductor carrying digital signals.

This article explores Quadra’s best practices for applying track length matching.

PCB track widths

So, what is Track length matching?

As the name suggests this is the laying out of a design that matches the lengths of two or more PCB tracks, also known as traces. These groups could be one of the following:

  • Single-ended tracks routed in parallel.
  • Differential pairs.
  • Multiple differential pairs in parallel.
  • Clock signals in either single-ended or differential pairs in parallel.


PCB tracks carrying digital signals do not necessarily need to be perfectly length matched. With copper surface layer tracking there will always be an amount of jitter on the rising edge, preventing signals routed in parallel to be perfectly length matched. The end goal is to reduce the length or timing mismatch below limiting values. The allowed length mismatch and timing mismatch are related to the signal velocity.


ecadstar header
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How do you know what track length is optimum?

Component datasheets, signalling standards and interface standards are key. There is so much standardisation these days that most high-speed components use one of the many signalling standards. Manufacturers should always have impedance and routing specifications available.

A length mismatch can also be converted to a timing mismatch using signal velocity, although extreme care must be exercised when selecting the velocity of a digital signal. Modern digital signals, generally run with edge rates much less than 1 ns, will have bandwidths reaching into the high GHz, and will only tolerate very small mismatches. Dispersion in the PCB substrate causes the signal velocity to vary with frequency. For example, FR4 exhibits normal dispersion below ~1 GHz, so lower frequencies will arrive at the receiver earlier than higher frequencies.


Clock Signals

Using system clocks to trigger every device in a chain of components is extremely difficult in large designs. This is, in part, due to the fact that each integrated circuit has different logic gate delays and rise timing. Typically, modern digital components use source synchronisation or embedded clocks. For embedded clocks signals it is best practice to route a track alongside the parallel data track. The clock tracks also need to be length matched to other data tracks.


Track length matching to prevent skew on parallel data buses

pcb tracks

Skew simply refers to a timing mismatch between the rising edges of two or more digital signals in a parallel bus. The signal propagating on the shortest trace will arrive earliest, triggering a downstream gate before the other signals on the bus. eCADSTAR allows you to define buses and differential pairs at the schematic stage, enabling you to enforce track length matching your layout which will keep any skew within tolerable limits.


Length matching in multiple single-ended nets is straightforward. Adding tuning structures to all tracks on the bus ensures they are the same end length.

If you have multiple differential pairs carrying parallel data, each differential pair must be matched, and the pairs then need to be matched to each other.


What About Analogue Differential Signals?

Analogue signals can also be routed as differential pairs; however, it is less common even at very high frequencies. Some manufacturers offer differential op-amps for high GHz bandwidth allowing for easier routing of analogue signals around a board.

Analogue differential signals require accurate length matching, just like digital differential signals. The difference is that analogue differential signals resemble 3-phase AC wiring, where an adjacent analogue ground plane is used as a reference for both ends of the pair. While digital signals do not explicitly need a ground plane, placing a ground plane adjacent to the digital differential pair is beneficial for the reasons outlined above.

eCADSTAR – Built to Help You Deliver Results

  • PCB DE64-bit computing
  • Mouse and touch screen operation
  • Powerful graphics, enabling users to design in a native 3D environment
  • Advanced Collaborative design, allowing design activities to occur concurrently
  • 2D and 3D environments
  • Multi-core processor

For more information about eCADSTAR please contact us

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Did you miss the “What’s New for eCADSTAR 2021” Webinar?

Did you miss the “What’s New for eCADSTAR 2021” Webinar?

eCADSTAR PCB design software 2021 release is here. eCADSTAR 2021 benefits from greater functionality and efficiency-enhancing tools to help support your PCB design. Join the webinar to find out more about how eCADSTAR is adding to its time-saving tools and providing with you more functionality and improved features to make your designs better.

What’s New for eCADSTAR 2021  – Webinar

The webinar will cover:

  • New Creepage Check feature
  • SPICE Controller feature to enable the Schematic application to interface with LTspice
  • RINF & EDIF Import
    • and many more exciting enhancements

Fill in the form below to catch up here with the on-demand recording

eCADSTAR – Built to Help You Deliver Results

  • PCB DE64-bit computing
  • Mouse and touch screen operation
  • Powerful graphics, enabling users to design in a native 3D environment
  • Advanced Collaborative design, allowing design activities to occur concurrently
  • 2D and 3D environments
  • Multi-core processor

For more information about eCADSTAR please contact us

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What’s new for eCADSTAR 2021 | PCB Design Software

This has been a time of change for everyone. In 2021, some things will be as they were before, but some will be different. In the world we live in now, you need fully-connected, efficient PCB Design Software.

What’s new for eCADSTAR 2021 | PCB Design Software

Check Creepage Rule Compliance in 3D


eCADSTAR2021 2D clearance

Check for creepage in 3D based on voltage differences and standards (eCADSTAR Advanced 3D and Ultimate only).2D clearance is always less than or equal to 3D clearance; but working to 3D creepage rules means you can design more densely, because clearance is measured by its true path. For example, making a slot in the PCB can allow other components to be placed more closely to a high-voltage avalanche diode bias supply.

electrical safety_eCADSTAR2021

Check electrical safety. Particularly important for designs with high-voltage routing such as LIDAR. Cross-probe to the canvas and view in 2D or 3D with traffic-light Pass, Caution, Fail color coding. 
Did you miss the “What’s New for eCADSTAR 2021” Webinar?

Fill in the form below to catch up here with the on-demand recording

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SPICE Simulation Control

Control SPICE simulation from Schematic EditorThe eCADSTAR SPICE controller will provide a tightly integrated engineering solution for easy simulation of analog circuits within eCADSTAR Schematics, making eCADSTAR a single point for PCB design and simulation. Engineers will be able to view graphical waveforms, conduct what-if analysis, change discrete component values and sweep simulation parameters using an embedded version of the free high-performance simulation software LTspice from Analog Devices.

eCADSTAR PCB Design Software | Productivity Improvements

Integrate external applications, adding them to the Quick Access Toolbar, so you can launch them without leaving eCADSTAR. eCADSTAR_2021.0_reportNow, if you select “Open Report in Excel”, a report in Comma-Separated-Values format called “report.csv” is opened as a spreadsheet, replacing multiple steps with just one.
You could already configure your own reports. Now make them accessible directly from eCADSTAR.Once you add the path to a user report parameter file (.prgx), you can select it for generation from a dropdown list.

user report parameter file_eCADSTAR2021.0

You can decide where to access user commands, both when you create them and when you edit them.
When you add or edit a user command, you can decide where to make it available for selection.
Now you can select power, ground, sheet connector, hierarchy connector and global signal symbols directly on the ribbon.hierarchy connector_eCADSTAR_2021
You can select symbols directly on the ribbon in Schematic Editor – a great time-saver, because engineers use these symbols a lot – often many times, even on the same sheet.

DXF drawing data

Now you can import DXF drawing data created by mechanical CAD systems in both Library Editor and Schematic Editor.DXF is a widely-used industry format in mechanical graphics applications. You may already have logos or symbols in that format. Now you can import them instead of redrawing them.

unique design-related information

Keep design information directly within schematic design data for reliable future reference. Enter unique design-related information directly with automatic recording of creation and modification times.
Customize sheet number format. Customize sheet numbering format and reflect block hierarchy.

enriched cross-reference information

Configure and display enriched cross-reference information on sheet connectors.You can configure the cross-reference format from the ribbon.

Optionally omit “I” and “O”

Optionally omit “I” and “O” from zone letters to conform to standards or to avoid confusion with one and zero.You can omit characters “I” and “O” from zone letters if you wish.
Import EDIF schematic data.Import EDIF 200 data so you can re-use IP from more external sources.


eCADSTAR PCB Design Software | Usability Improvements

Save and load views in Schematic Editor


Measure true 3D distances_eCADSTAR2021

Change angled trunk corners into curves and adjust radii on the PCB Editor canvas.Curved trunk corners can improve stress resilience and smooth-out track-to-track coupling discontinuities. Direct interactive editing means you can see exactly what kind of corner you are getting in real time.
Move (or duplicate move) trunks with full corner and via pattern retention.Move, flip and rotate trunks with no loss of via patterns or trunk geometry. You can do the same with duplicate-move, providing fast, easy re-use of trunk patterns for maximum PCB design consistency and symmetry.
Measure true 3D distances without extra calculations.Measure it like it really is in your PCB design.

eCADSTAR PCB Design Software | Power Integrity Analysis Enhancements


high-current vias

Override package-based parasitic models.Decoupling capacitors come in many package styles and all of them create different parasitics. Experiment easily, by swapping package-based models without the need to change design data. A bit close to the voltage limits with that decoupler? How about changing it to a 25V? That’s in a bigger package, but will its parasitics give you a problem?
Easily identify high-current vias. High-current vias harm power integrity. Need a bigger via? Need an extra via? The high DC current in this via is revealed by sorting the column on via current. You can then adjust or add vias in PCB Editor (shown above the Power Bus window in this image).
Configure cell buttons.Radiation windowThis button in the Radiation window has been configured to display the spectrum. Alternative functions are still available on the right-mouse-button menu.
Set impedance masks to check and measure against expected power bus impedance in PCB design.
impedance masks to check and measure_eCADSTAR_2021Impedance masks enable you to check potential local impedance hotspots against the expected impedance over a range of frequencies.
Reduce aliasing noise with windowing. Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) sampling is designed to work with a round number of complete waveform cycles. This is not always the case and aliasing can make results unreliable. Windowing techniques like the Hann window function counter this effect.
And when you have some frequency domain results, you can now configure a cell button in Analysis Result Viewer to view them more easily.
Configure a cell button for frequency-domain mode.

eCADSTAR PCB Design Software | Design Rule and DRC Enhancements

Choose PCB layer stack directly from Schematic Editor.PCB layer stack PCB layer stack
Layer stack decisions are often made before or during schematic entry. You can make those decisions right here in Constraint Browser as your design takes shape.
DRC options are saved and selected by default next time you work on a schematic.

DRC options_eCADSTAR_2021

As schematic entry progresses, the DRC check options usually progress. Now you don’t have to reselect those options each time you launch Schematic Editor.

For more information about eCADSTAR PCB Design Software please contact us

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Leading the Way in Dust Extraction | Autodesk Inventor Case Study

How Autodesk software and Quadra Solutions are helping Indusvent with their Continuous Improvement Project.


Indusvent is a specialist dust extraction systems and equipment supplier, operating nationally from three strategic locations across the UK. Their aim is to provide the most energy-efficient dust extraction equipment in the marketplace, setting new standards of performance while conserving energy consumption for the end-user. Indusvent has a history of over 50 years in the dust extraction business and has been drawing in 2D AutoCAD® for around 25 of those years.


Inventor Indusvent

While delighted with the ease of use and reliability of the AutoCAD software, Indusvent wanted to move away from drawing pieces of ducting and equipment line by line, as well as having to complete multiple iterations of elevations. They wanted a software solution that was 3D-based and would deliver a rapid return on investment (RoI). To facilitate this, Indusvent approached their IT solutions partner of around 15 years, Quadra Solutions.


 “I am always keen to find software solutions that enable us to continuously improve.”

Gary Madden, Regional Account Manager at Indusvent

Gary approached the Quadra team for guidance, who asked for a recent dataset and suggested
coming onsite to discover how they operated, understand the business objectives, the challenges
and make recommendations to move forward.

Using Indusvent’s dataset, Quadra advised investing in Autodesk Inventor®, which provides professional-grade 3D mechanical design, documentation and product simulation tools.

Inventor Case study



“Previously drawing a system ‘line by line’ may have taken Indusvent three or four days. With Autodesk Inventor they can now complete this task in under a day.”




Today, Autodesk Inventor is used across the full spectrum of Indusvent’s D&M workflow. Everything from a simple ducting modification, through to the modelling of a full £500,000 system.

To read the full Indusvent and Inventor Case Study fill in the form below


Autodesk Inventor tips

Autodesk Inventor Tips

Get our Autodesk Inventor eBook – 15 Top Inventor Tips to Boost your Productivity right now!

Download our Inventor Tips eBook | We are always looking for new ways to help our software users adopt, adapt, and advance! In the last few years, the manufacturing and engineering sectors have seen revolutionary changes and Quadra Solutions has been at the forefront of many of these technological advances.

Download now

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How to Export Large Inventor Assemblies with Shrinkwrap

Need to export a large design assembly, but don’t want to give out all of the detailed information? Want to export the assembly while reducing the file size? Hoping to improve performance in downstream processes by reducing assembly model complexity?  Export using Shrinkwrap can help.

Large assemblies can be tricky to work with. Some Inventor assemblies can be as large as 100,000 occurrences and 10,000 unique parts or more. An occurrence is a reference to a part or subassembly from the main assembly. A more typical large assembly probably contains 3,000 – 5,000.

With so many parts and sub-assemblies, it can be tricky to share your assembly with others and provide them with the right amount of information required.

Need to share a design with someone, but don’t want to give out all of the detailed information? The shrinkwrap command can help you model size, load time and details.

Why Shrinkwrap your Inventor Files?

What benefits do simplified parts provide?

  • Simple to use
  • Significant reduction in file size for large assemblies and complex parts.
  • Reduced time to open an assembly using a simplified assembly substitute Model State.
  • Improved performance when viewing or working with large assemblies and complex parts.
  • Protect intellectual property by removing features and internal components.
  • Improved performance as BIM content

So how do you Reduce your Inventor File Size using Shrinkwrap

shrinkwrap inventor assembly

000 occurrences with 1,000 to 2,000 parts.

Shrinkwrap works by reducing the number of faces in a part or parts within a subassembly. Use Shrinkwrap to create a simplified single part representation of an assembly to improve capacity and performance in downstream assemblies or applications. Shrinkwrap uses the derived component command in the background to create a single part from an assembly.

How to Export with Shrinkwrap

Creating a shrink-wrapped component is simple. The component is created from inside the assembly file, eliminating the need to derive the assembly into a new part. Not only is it all done automatically, but the substitute will normally be much smaller than the original derived part approach.

  • Select the Shrinkwrap command from inside the top assembly. The following dialog will appear, allowing you to create the shrinkwrap part.
  • Because you are creating a shrinkwrap from the top level assembly, the command will assume, by default, that you want to shrinkwrap all of the parts and subassemblies that exist at the top level.
  • As you progress through creating the shrinkwrap – you will be presented with the Derived Assembly dialog box where you can choose which parts and subassemblies will be added into the shrinkwrap.
  • Once you have accepted the settings in the Derived Assembly dialog and picked OK, not only will the shrinkwrap be created as an individual IPT, but a new Substitute Level of Detail will be added at the top assembly level.
  • Be absolutely sure to pick Save at this point to ensure that the Substitute Level of Detail is saved in the assembly.
  • After saving, you will find you can quickly toggle between the original assembly Master Level of Detail and the shrink-wrapped Substitute Level of Detail. During the save, the new shrinkwrap part file will also be saved.


Autodesk Inventor tips

Autodesk Inventor Tips

Get our Autodesk Inventor eBook – 15 Top Inventor Tips to Boost your Productivity right now!

Download our Inventor Tips eBook | We are always looking for new ways to help our software users adopt, adapt, and advance! In the last few years, the manufacturing and engineering sectors have seen revolutionary changes and Quadra Solutions has been at the forefront of many of these technological advances.

Download now

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Part Repetition in Inventor CAM

Part Repetition in Autodesk Inventor CAM

Part Repetition is a common goal in manufacturing. Multiple parts in the machine table, improved workflow, and faster manufacturing time. A simple straightforward way of achieving this is to use the pattern feature. To do so select the operation that you wish to repeat right click and select add to the pattern. You can then select the pattern type be it linear or circular for example.

For linear you need to set the direction. This can be selected on the edge of the component, sketch density or to a workplane.

Part Repetition

inventor cam
Inventor CAM

The spacing and instances can then be modified as can the direction and the order, be it by tool or by operation.
If uniformed spacing cannot be achieved and you prefer to use multiple dating positions such as g54 g55 and so on then open up the setup folder, select the post process tab and activate the multiple WCS offsets box.
You can then nominate the number of instances and the offset increments as well as tool and operation order, just as you did with patterns.

Upon completion, the outputted programme will now call up multiple offsets enabling you to manufacture as many components as you wish, each of them using an individual workpiece coordinate.

Autodesk Inventor tips
Autodesk Inventor tips

Get our Inventor eBook – 15 Top Inventor Tips to Boost your Productivity right now!

Download our Inventor Tips eBook | We are always looking for new ways to help our software users adopt, adapt and advance! In the last few years, the manufacturing and engineering sectors have seen revolutionary changes and Quadra Solutions has been at the forefront of many of these technological advances.

Download now

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Effective PCB design | How to ensure your PCB Trace Widths are Effective

Sarah Santangelli takes us through the importance of Trace Widths and what they mean for your PCB design.

What is Trace Width?

Trace widths

Trace width is an important design factor in PCB design. PCB trace could be analog, digital or power, from one junction to another.

The junction can be the pin of a component, a branch off of a larger trace or plane, or an empty pad or test-point intended for probing. Trace widths are often measured in mils, or thousands of an inch. A standard trace width for an ordinary signal (no special requirements) may be in the 7-12 mil range and be as long as a few inches, but there are many things that should be considered when defining the width and length of a trace.

Efficient Trace Width

To ensure effective operation in transmitting signal and power the importance of PCB Trace Width and resistance is crucial. So, what steps do you need to take?

Determine the standard track width to be used

  • It is important to balance the standard track size to be used within the design. Too narrow and too close means there is a higher chance of it shorting. If they are too wide and far apart, it can restrict the number of tracks in a given area and this may force the use of additional planes in the boards to ensure the PCB design can be routed. It is a balancing act that needs to be right.


Consider track size for lines carrying current

  • The thin tracks used in today’s printed circuit boards can only carry a limited current. Consideration needs to be given to the size of the trace for any that carry power rails rather than low level signals. The table below gives some track widths or a 10degree C temperature rise for different thickness copper boards.



Fix the printed circuit board pad to hole ratio and size

  • At the beginning of the PCB design it will be necessary to determine the pad and hole dimensions. Typically a ratio of about 1.8: 1 (pad : hole) is used, although sometimes a pad 0..5 mm larger than the hole is used as the measure. This allows for hole drilling tolerances, etc. The manufacturer of the bare PCB will be able to advise on the standards that are required for their process. The ratio becomes more important as the size of the pads and holes reduces, and it is particularly important for via holes.

Determine PCB pad shapes

  • Component libraries associated with PCB CAD systems will have libraries for the schematic and PCB footprints for the different components. However these may vary according to the manufacturing process. Typically they need to be large for wave soldering than for infra-red reflow soldering. Thus the manufacturing process needs to be determined before the design starts so that the optimum pad sizes can be chosen and used on the PCB CAD system and hence on the printed circuit board itself.


Need Support with your PCB Design?

Qyadra Solutions have been designing, assembling, and fabricating PCBs 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 PCB Design Services

UKAS-ISO-9001-1-150x150Our 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
  • PADS
  • Cadence

pcb design ebook
effective pcb design ebook
Have you read our PCB ebook yet? Read now

Quadra PCB design and Manufacturing Services

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


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