Altium Vault

Achieving the right balance

The successful design of electronics products is all about balance. During the early stages you channel your energies into the "creative chaos" that drives innovation, then move towards more formal techniques leading ultimately to transforming the design into a rock-solid set of instructions for manufacturing. This transition gives rise to a number of challenges surrounding the management of the design data - Which version is the one in production? Where do I find the abandoned prototype because the power regulator circuit can be reused? How do I manage my component libraries such that I can get rapid early stage schematics without compromising production later on?

Altium Vault address these questions and adapt your existing methodologies into a robust data management solution designed specifically to manage the data created from Altium Designer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  

Altium Vault is for large enterprises isn't it? Do you have anything for smaller organisations?

   

Good quality data management is not a function of company size, it's more of an ethos. Being able to version control and life-cycle manage components in your library, for example, is pretty much a universal need. Similarly, being able to properly document and archive all of the data associated with your product development, is again fundamental.

 

 

I already use database libraries, what more can an Altium Vault do for me?

 

 

Up until recently, Database Libraries offered the most robust library management capabilities for Altium customers. The system however relies heavily on the database and the parameters contained within it and then maps this data primarily to the schematic symbol. Altium Vault offers a higher level component concept with symbol, footprint and other models correctly represented as Items and therefore each have individual version and lifecycle states. The component lifecycle is visible within the data instantiated from the library so it is easy to see if components approved for prototyping are being targeted at production data (as an example).

As an aside, there are migration tools which will allow customers to import Database Libraries into their Altium Vault.

 

 

How do I protect my data?

   

Altium Vault is simply a repository which sits on your network, behind your firewall (it does not sit in the Cloud). Altium Vault has the ability to backup and recover your repository.

 

 

In my company, engineers are always changing stuff and this leads to inconsistencies in production data and a whole load of duplication.

   

This is not uncommon. Often customers have "process" in place to help here but fundamentally exposing your engineers to the full capabilities of Altium Designer without any form of constraint can lead to problems. Altium Vault has features specifically written to help here. You can control the templates used for new projects, new schematics and new PCBs. You can preconfigure the entire Altium Designer environment so every system on your network has the same toolbars, setup and suchlike. Furthermore, you can restrict the release process such that engineers are not allowed to release data into the Vault unless they have used the correct templates. This allows you to control the deployment of Altium Designer across your organisation and means you can ensure that everyone is using the same version of the software and your administrators can control when updates are released.

 

 

So how does it all work?

    Basically you decide the structure, naming conventions, revision numbering and life-cycle states for your data (this can be different for component and release data if you wish). Then you set up your Vault and SVN. Having done this your design data is revision-controlled in SVN until you decide to make a formal release and at that point data is then validated and ultimately stored in the Vault. One of the benefits of this formal release process is that the system keeps track of the entire development history of your project. This allows you to see how many Prototype phases you've done, or how many Version changes. It also allows you to instantly see the data used for Production - that's all the data, the output files, everything is in one place and immediately accessible.


Introducing Altium Vault

Altium Vault connects all aspects of the electronics design process in order to achieve design goals. It helps the design team to maintain data reliability without compromising productivity or innovation. Altium Vault integrates directly with Altium Designer and serves to manage your design team’s workflow and ECAD data in a robust way. It protects the integrity of your designs and helps your entire organisation become more efficient. 

The Vault provides a central platform to support your design team, allowing you to easily manage and automate all those crucial details that can take time away from designing.

Component obsolescence is a big issue for us, so the Altium Vault Technology helps a lot. The fact that we can store component manufacturer's data in the Vault and continuously update when a component becomes obsolete, is of great value to us!

PS - Chief Systems Engineer, EW Simulation Technology Ltd.

  • Altium Vault extends your capability to store and manage design data so the design team can use, list and share design data when required.
     
  • Altium Vault allows you to quickly and accurately document a design when it is ready for release. It bundles up and formats the files your manufacturing team needs; all in a streamlined, automated, secure and controlled way.
     
  • Altium Vault allows you access to real-time supply chain data giving you assurance that the ‘building blocks’ in your design are managed and approved to the appropriate standard.

 Altium Vault key features

 


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