PCB Design

Our PCB team has extensive knowledge of PCB design for boards up to 32 layers. Working closely with conceptual designers ensures idealised placements and adherence to board constraints maximises performance of high speed and low noise circuitry.

We use most of the industry leading EDA tools, specialising in the Cadence toolchain. Our PCB engineers are able to implement complex and compact designs, manage impedance control and optimised power plane design whilst adhering to Design Rule Guidelines.

Our completed designs will be reviewed for board fabrication, manufacturability and test coverage as well as ensuring that they meet the regulatory constraints for sectors such as aerospace, low voltage directive, automotive and medical end markets.

The Hot Solder philosophy is that a schematic should read like a piece of music; attention to detail can make the difference between a PCB layout that screams and a PCB layout that sings dulcet tones of pure magic! Our PCB layout engineers will seamlessly collaborate with your hardware engineers with our engineering knowledge and accurately deliver on design intent.

  • Manage Constraints: We will define and review limitations upfront to shorten design cycles and reduce errors.
  • Design Reuse and Variants: Where possible, we will use the EDA tools to reuse existing, proven design IP to reduce risk and for better time-to-market agility.
  • Create and Manage Libraries: Our Layout Engineers can quickly and accurately generate schematic symbols and manage them in your libraries with care and attention to detail.
  • Design Documentation: Our PCB team have extensive experience in generating design documentation for the fabrication, assembly and testing of your designs.

In today’s fast-paced technological world, speed is everything. This is especially true in the world of PCB design, where high-speed design is a critical requirement. The demand for high-speed PCB design has grown exponentially over the years due to the increased use of high-speed digital devices, such as smartphones, computers, and tablets. To meet these demands, engineers must understand the principles of high-speed PCB design and the tools and techniques required to design and manufacture high-speed PCBs.

What is High-Speed PCB Design?

High-speed PCB design refers to the design and development of printed circuit boards (PCBs) that operate at high frequencies, typically greater than 50 MHz. These PCBs are used in various applications, including telecommunications, networking, computing, and other high-speed digital systems.

High-speed PCB design requires different design rules than conventional PCB design. High-speed signals are more sensitive to noise, crosstalk, and other electromagnetic interference (EMI) effects, which can affect the signal quality and cause errors or failures. Therefore, it is critical to design high-speed PCBs with precise signal integrity, power integrity, and EMI control.

Design Considerations for High-Speed PCBs

When designing high-speed PCBs, engineers must consider various factors that can affect signal quality, including:

  1. Impedance Control: Impedance matching is crucial to ensure the signal integrity of high-speed signals. Impedance control involves maintaining consistent trace widths, dielectric thicknesses, and via diameters to maintain a consistent impedance throughout the signal path.
  2. Signal Integrity: Signal integrity is essential to ensure that the signals are transmitted and received with minimal distortion and attenuation. This includes reducing reflections, crosstalk, and other noise sources that can interfere with the signal.
  3. Power Integrity: Power integrity is critical to ensure that the power supply voltage remains stable and noise-free, especially for high-speed digital devices. This includes minimizing the inductance and resistance of the power distribution network (PDN) and decoupling capacitors.
  4. EMI Control: EMI control involves minimizing the emission and susceptibility of electromagnetic interference, which can cause signal distortion and other issues. This includes controlling the routing of high-speed signals, using appropriate grounding techniques, and shielding sensitive components and signals.

Tools and Techniques for High-Speed PCB Design

Several tools and techniques are available to help engineers design and develop high-speed PCBs, including:

  1. High-Speed Design Software: There are multiple software tools that can help engineers design and simulate high-speed PCBs, such as Altium Designer, Cadence Allegro, and Mentor Graphics PADS.
  2. Signal Integrity Analysis: Signal integrity analysis involves simulating the signal path and checking for signal quality issues such as reflections, crosstalk, and attenuation. Several simulation tools are available for this purpose, including HyperLynx and Signal Integrity Studio.
  3. Power Integrity Analysis: Power integrity analysis involves simulating the power distribution network and checking for power quality issues such as voltage drop, noise, and ripple. Several simulation tools are available for this purpose, including PowerSI and Sigrity PowerDC.
  4. EMI Analysis: EMI analysis involves simulating the electromagnetic emissions and susceptibilities of the PCB and checking for EMI issues such as interference and susceptibility. Several simulation tools are available for this purpose, including CST Microwave Studio and Ansys HFSS.


High-speed PCB design is critical to meet the demands of modern high-speed digital systems. Designing high-speed PCBs requires a thorough understanding of signal integrity, power integrity, impedance control, and EMI control. With the right tools and techniques, engineers can design and develop high-speed PCBs that meet the performance and reliability requirements of today’s high-speed digital systems.

Flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to combine the benefits of both flexible and rigid circuit boards. These hybrid circuit boards are a combination of flexible and rigid circuit boards, offering many advantages over traditional circuit board designs.

Flex circuit boards are thin, flexible circuit boards made from materials such as polyimide or polyester. These materials allow the circuit board to be bent or twisted without breaking, making them ideal for use in applications where space is limited or where the board needs to conform to a specific shape. Flex circuit boards are also lighter and more durable than traditional circuit boards, and they can be used in a wide range of applications, from consumer electronics to medical devices.

Rigid circuit boards, on the other hand, are made from materials such as fiberglass or epoxy and are much thicker and more rigid than flex circuit boards. They are commonly used in applications where durability and strength are required, such as in industrial equipment, automotive applications, and aerospace applications.

Flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards combine the benefits of both types of circuit boards to create a more versatile and adaptable design. These circuit boards typically consist of a rigid base layer and one or more flexible layers, which are connected using a variety of methods, including through-hole technology, surface mount technology, and wire bonding.

One of the main advantages of flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards is their ability to be designed to fit a specific shape or size. This allows them to be used in applications where traditional circuit boards would be too large or too rigid to fit. For example, flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards can be used in wearable technology, where the board needs to be flexible enough to conform to the shape of the body.

Another advantage of flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards is their ability to reduce the number of components needed in a design. Because the flexible layers can be used to route signals and power between the rigid layers, fewer wires and connectors are needed. This can reduce the size and weight of the overall system, as well as the number of potential failure points.

Flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards can also improve reliability and reduce the risk of failure. Because the flexible layers are less susceptible to vibration and mechanical stress, they can provide a more robust and reliable connection between the rigid layers. This can be especially important in applications where the circuit board is subject to frequent movements or vibration, such as in aerospace or automotive applications.

In conclusion, flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards offer many advantages over traditional circuit board designs. By combining the benefits of flexible and rigid circuit boards, these hybrid designs can provide greater versatility, reduce the number of components needed, improve reliability, and reduce the risk of failure. As technology continues to advance and new applications are developed, it is likely that flex and rigid hybrid circuit boards will continue to play an important role in electronics design.

Our Hot Solder PCB Design Engineers will take your printed circuit layout through a comprehensive and mature constraint set developed to overcome noise vulnerability, power dissipation, overheating, impedance issues, and other common failure points.

The world of printed circuit board (PCB) design is constantly evolving, with new technologies and techniques emerging all the time. In order to keep up with these changes, designers must be knowledgeable, skilled, and up-to-date on the latest developments. One way to demonstrate this expertise is through IPC CID (Certified Interconnect Designer) qualification, a comprehensive certification program that covers all aspects of PCB design.

IPC CID is a globally recognized standard in the PCB industry, with an emphasis on practical skills and knowledge. The program is designed for individuals who are involved in PCB design, manufacturing, or assembly, including designers, engineers, technicians, and managers. IPC CID certification is awarded to those who pass a rigorous exam that covers a wide range of topics related to PCB design, including design principles, materials, fabrication processes, and quality control.

One of the primary benefits of IPC CID qualification is that it helps to ensure that designers are able to create high-quality PCBs that meet the needs of their customers. By demonstrating their expertise through IPC CID certification, designers can differentiate themselves from their peers and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. This can lead to increased job opportunities, higher salaries, and greater professional recognition.

Another advantage of IPC CID certification is that it provides a structured and standardized approach to PCB design. The program covers a wide range of topics, including design principles, materials, fabrication processes, and quality control, which helps ensure that designers follow best practices and industry standards. This can result in more efficient and effective design processes and improved product quality.

IPC CID certification is also beneficial for companies that employ PCB designers. By encouraging their employees to become IPC CID certified, companies can demonstrate their commitment to quality and excellence in PCB design. This can improve customer satisfaction, increase sales, and greater brand recognition.

To become IPC CID certified, individuals must complete a rigorous training program and pass a comprehensive exam. The training program includes classroom instruction, hands-on exercises, and practical applications of the principles covered in the program. The exam covers a wide range of topics, including design principles, materials, fabrication processes, and quality control, and is designed to test the knowledge and skills of the candidate.

In conclusion, IPC CID qualification is an important standard in the PCB industry, providing designers with the skills and knowledge needed to create high-quality PCBs. By becoming IPC CID certified, designers can differentiate themselves from their peers and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Companies that employ IPC CID certified designers also benefit from improved product quality, increased customer satisfaction, and greater brand recognition. Overall, IPC CID certification is a valuable investment in the future of PCB design.

Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design is an essential component of modern electronic product development. PCB library management is a crucial aspect of the PCB design process that involves the creation, organization, and maintenance of the library of components used in PCB design. In this article, we will discuss the importance of PCB library management, the challenges associated with it, and best practices for effective library management.

Why is PCB Library Management Important?

The PCB library is a repository of components that are used in designing a PCB. It contains a wide range of components such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, ICs, connectors, and many others. The library serves as a central resource for designers to access these components when needed. A well-managed PCB library ensures that components are consistent in terms of specifications, dimensions, and other parameters, which results in accurate and reliable PCB designs. Library management also improves efficiency and reduces design errors, as designers do not have to spend time creating components from scratch or searching for suitable components.

Challenges in PCB Library Management

Managing a PCB library can be a challenging task, especially for organizations that deal with a large volume of PCB designs. Some common challenges include:

  1. Version control: Managing multiple versions of a component can be confusing and time-consuming. It is essential to keep track of changes made to components and ensure that the latest version is available for use.
  2. Component consistency: It is important to maintain consistency across all components in the library, including part numbers, descriptions, and parameters such as footprint and pinout.
  3. Component accuracy: Components must be accurate in terms of their specifications and dimensions to ensure that they can be used in PCB designs without causing errors or problems.
  4. Component availability: It is essential to ensure that all components in the library are available for use and that they can be sourced from reliable suppliers.

Best Practices for Effective PCB Library Management

To ensure effective PCB library management, the following best practices can be followed:

  1. Standardization: Establish standards for component naming, descriptions, parameters, and footprint. This will ensure consistency and accuracy in the library.
  2. Version control: Implement a version control system that tracks changes made to components and ensures that the latest version is available.
  3. Regular updates: Regularly update the library with new components and remove obsolete or outdated components.
  4. Testing and validation: Ensure that all components are tested and validated before they are added to the library.
  5. Supplier management: Establish relationships with reliable suppliers and regularly review the availability of components in the library.
  6. Training and education: Provide training and education to designers on using the library and best practices for component selection.


PCB library management is a critical aspect of PCB design that requires careful attention and management. Effective library management ensures consistency, accuracy, and reliability in PCB designs, which results in better product quality and reduced design errors. By following best practices such as standardization, version control, regular updates, testing and validation, supplier management, and training and education, our clients can manage their PCB libraries effectively and efficiently.

While signal integrity analysis begins with simulations at the pre-layout phase and can be used to define layout constraints, post-layout simulations analyze geometry-dependent signal integrity in your board as your PCB layout matures. The results of these simulations are a valuable asset during board bring-up when compared against actual measurements.

How do parasitics in your board affect signal integrity?

Essentially parasitic signal integrity effects are functions of board geometry. There are various examples of these:

Crosstalk arises from both capacitive and inductive coupling. Capacitive coupling only occurs on adjacent traces, while inductive coupling isn’t limited to only adjacent but ALL traces within the magnetic fields of the aggressor traces. 

Transmission line behaviour models can be used during the pre-layout phase to calculate required impedance values, but for better results, simulations should be conducted during the layout process. 

The design approach of controlled impedance routing is key to the success of high-speed PCB design because, at high frequencies, traces no longer act like simple connections and ensuring the impedance is controlled will preserve the integrity of these signals while reducing potential electromagnetic radiation. In uncontrolled lines, reflections can degrade signal levels at the receiver and lead to a stair-step response with digital signals. 

At Hot Solder we have experience across a number of leading EDA tools:





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