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Downstream Technologies, LLC has announced the release of new versions of their industry-leading PCB post-processing solutions. CAM350® version 14.6 and BluePrint-PCB® version 6.6 build on previous releases in which the company further enhanced its support for flex / rigid flex and embedded component visualization in both 2D and 3D environments.
Today, flex and rigid-flex PCBs can be found in most electronic product markets including consumer electronics, automotive, medical and military. With these new software releases, DownStream expands support for customers who are designing PCBs with these materials. “In conversations with our customers we learned that most PCB CAD tools have little to offer in terms of Design for Manufacturing (DFM) analysis or PCB documentation for flex and rigid-flex components”, said Rick Almeida, one of the Founders of DownStream Technologies. “We collaborated with them to determine their analysis and documentation requirements and this release reflects our next phased, multi-release approach to meeting their needs,” he added.
For this release, DownStream focused on significant upgrades to existing DFM analysis capability to support Rigid-Flex and Inter-Layer analysis. Rigid-Flex analysis focuses on flexible conductive layers and coverlayers. Flexible trace layers are analyzed for conditions that potentially lead to trace fracture such as vias, trace corners, or solid copper areas in bend areas. Coverlayers are analyzed for missing exposures, minimum distance between exposures and many other common issues. Flexible layers are analyzed for conductors too close or mistakenly placed outside the boundaries of the layer.
The second area of focus is Inter-Layer analysis. This focuses on the interaction of layer material combinations in rigid-flex construction. For example, too much adhesive below a coverlayer may lead to adhesive squeeze out and contaminate adjacent conductive surfaces. The new release also allows the user to create custom constraints between two layer types for constraints like annular ring, coincidence, minimum gaps and many other conditions.
The Flex and Interlayer analysis will be offered as an additional module on top of DownStream’s current DFM option for CAM350 and DFMStream. In addition to Flex DFM, DownStream has also implemented a new API for CAM350 built around Microsoft’s Visual Basic. The new API supersedes the company’s current proprietary macro language, although DownStream will continue to support the current language.
Other enhancements to CAM350 include a new 2D graphics engine based on openGL, support for Net Bridges, and support for IPC-2581 format Rev C. The company also announced minor upgrades to their BluePrint-PCB documentation tool, including a 2D graphic upgrade as well as new capability to transfer a BluePrint panel document into CAM350 for panel design editing.
Both CAM350 V14.6 and BluePrint V6.6 are currently in a Beta test phase and are expected to be released to the market in Fall of 2021.
About DownStream Technologies
DownStream Technologies, LLC is a software and services company focused on helping engineering organizations optimize and automate the PCB Release Process. Our tools redefine how engineering professionals post-process PCB designs to create and distribute all the deliverables required for a complete PCB assembly release package. CAM350® provides verification, optimization and output generation to efficiently drive PCB fabrication. DFMStream® is a comprehensive, yet easy-to-use tool suite designed to help engineers and designers verify design and manufacturing rules on PCB design databases, Gerber and NC data any time during the PCB design cycle. BluePrint for Printed Circuit Boards® works with CAM350® (and other PCB CAD systems) to help users quickly produce comprehensive electronic drawings to drive PCB fabrication, assembly and inspection processes. More information about DownStream can be found at downstreamtech.com.