Gigatek Corp. uses PADS for accurate autorouting and time reduction

Gigatek creates about half of their circuit designs using PADS® schematic capture, and they sometimes pull OrCAD® schematics into PADS for layout. Larry Bartosch is Gigatek’s owner and senior designer.

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PADS autorouting is incredibly accurate.”

Larry Bartosch, Owner, Gigatek Corporation

The Problem:

“We service a complete range of customers,” says Larry. “We have a customer for whom all we do is produce a board with a connector for product testing. But, fifty percent of our work comes from large designs around BGAs with a lot happening on the board.” Gigatek recently completed a 22-layer RF board with 128 controlled-impedance differential pairs. “We do it all in PADS,” says Larry. Gigatek has been using PADS for many years. Larry says he’s looked at other tools in the market, but they don’t work as fast and accurately as PADS. He’s watched PADS change as new features have been added, which he has yet to explore. “Our work just doesn’t call for all the capabilities that PADS has to offer,” says Larry. “At least, not yet.”

The Solution:

Gigatek relies on PADS autorouting for much of their work. “PADS routes in minutes what would take me days to lay out manually,” says Larry. All autorouters leave some work that has to be cleaned up, according to Larry, but PADS leaves him with the least amount of work to do in order to complete the design. “BGAs are complex designs, and I do a lot of them. I route the diff pairs and then send them to PADS. In a couple minutes I’ve got a good autorouted design that takes me another hour or so to complete. With interactive routing, I’d spend days on it.” Gigatek designers have found PADS autorouting to be very accurate. With large BGA designs and all the traces involved, Larry says sometimes he has to be very precise about route lengths. When he sets the trace length with limits between 5.0 and 5.0 inches, PADS routes it to 5.0 inches exactly—without fail. Larry thinks the PADS design rules are easy to define. “Everything is pretty well spelled out,” he says. “You set a class and a group. You grab all your grounds and make a group. Make all your powers another group. Then define all the parameters for the groups. Send the design to PADS, and it pops out the other end. It’s huge to save so much time.” Larry likes not having to route one group first and then another and a third in succession, like in some other tools. He says, “PADS does all the groups at once and produces clean, accurate layouts.” For Gigatek that saves time and speeds up the design process. Finalizing the design is easy for the designers at Gigatek when they use the PADS push-and-shove capabilities. Larry says they appreciate that, when moving a trace in a large BGA layout, PADS maintains the spacing according to the design parameters, yet they can also force traces into channels when needed without violating design rules. “Again, it’s a real time saver.”

The Results:

 For Gigatek, serving clients quickly with a high-quality product is a result of using PADS in their design processes. Larry says, “We use PADS on all of our projects. Whether we are designing the circuit, capturing the schematic, or just laying out a simple board, all of our layouts are done in PADS. PADS autorouting has saved me a lot of time with highly accurate output.”

Whenever I evaluate other products, I find I always compare them to PADS, and they just don’t measure up.”

Larry Bartosch, Owner, Gigatek Corporation