LONDON Board-level EDA software vendor Zuken Ltd. plans to introduce Hot-Stage 4, the latest version of its virtual prototyping environment, at the Design Automation Conference next month.
Hot-Stage is evolving into a constraint-driven pc-board design system that Zuken said will provide "right by construction" pc boards that have been guided in their design by electrical and manufacturing rules and thermal and electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) best practices. Hot-Stage is part of Zuken's Board Integrity flow.
Hot-Stage 4 includes a separate spreadsheet-based constraints manager, an automatic constraints wizard, a what-if editor, an embedded router, online simulation, verification and both electromagnetic interference (EMI) and thermal analysis.
In theory, Hot-Stage 4 allows engineers to solve signal-integrity, EMI, thermal and manufacturability problems without being bounced around the design spa ce in such a way that they could meet one constraint only by violating another.
An engineer enters constraints, and the tool synthesizes the design to meet the requirements. A tree browser allows design navigation, and a spreadsheet allows electrical constraints to be edited and constraint violations to be displayed within a single interface.
Layout 'with confidence'
Neil Bufton, product manager for Hot-Stage, said design engineers can "identify suitable device and board technologies prior to physical design and quickly constrain the design to meet requirements. Layout engineers can realize the board with confidence that the designer's requirements have been met and that the design will be manufacturable."
The what-if editor, Scenario Editor, can be used up front in the design process as a virtual scratchpad or when working with schematic packages from Zuken or other EDA vendors. It enables what-if experimentation with drivers, receivers, terminations and net topologies to ensur e realistic constraints are set. It allows experimentation in the same virtual environment to resolve problems with the physical design. The graphical interface can be used to edit net topologies or store user templates, which are then used to constrain the router.
The router uses simulation to derive signal-delay information. The router embeds the designer's intent into the physical realization while ensuring that all manufacturability rules are followed. An embedded simulator enables verification of critical signals and batch verification of the whole design.
Bundles are available for design, layout and EMC engineers on NT and Unix platforms, starting at about $22,000 per seat for a front-end-only design tool excluding physical tools. For the simplest version of Hot-Stage 4 with physical design, the license charge is about $27,000 per seat.