With the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) fresh in our minds, product design is the focus of today’s SMT interview with Erich Buergel, GM, Mechanical Analysis Division, and John Isaacs, director of market development, Mentor Graphics. Once in SMT production, each PCB is something of a standalone product — printed, populated with components, reflowed, etc., with the goal of most closely matching set circuit board assembly specifications. However, in the design
field, a PCB is one of many interacting elements in a complex environment, such as a high-power gaming system, a ruggedized cell phone, a server farm, a slim flatscreen TV, etc. Designing each PCB without reference to outside elements (enclosure, movement, operating environment) would fail endless prototypes and waste design time. By integrating package/PCB/system/building design, Mentor is hoping to encourage further inter-disciplinary collaboration and more product simulation pre-prototype. When Mentor Graphics acquired Flomerics late in 2008
, they entered the thermal analysis market decisively. A little over a year into the acquisition, Mentor’s Mechanical Analysis Division offers FloTHERM for PCB design, FloVENT for buildings, and FloEFD — thermal analysis embedded into mechanical design. Each of these lines is based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis and each works together in a comprehensive design flow, preventing costly errors caused by over-the-wall electro/mechanical/thermal design.