Gauss Stack PCB Stackup Designer and Simulator

Along with Avishtech’s leading edge Gauss 2D Electromagnetic Transmission Line Field Solver, the Gauss PCB Stackup Design & Simulation tool can be used to develop sophisticated printed circuit board stackup configurations for aid in the development and manufacture of printed circuit board designs of virtually limitless size and variety. A streamlined, straightforward to use, clean-interfaced solution to an ongoing concern in the industry, Gauss Stack offers users the ability to easily develop PCB stackup designs for use in manufacture or prototyping. By using the in-built Gauss 2D engine, users can build stackup designs quickly without significant trial-and-error using impedance analysis to calculate trace impedances or synthesis mode to find trace widths for given target impedances.

Avishtech’s feature-rich offering also acts as the front-end input for a series of highly advanced research & development and design simulation software beyond anything else in the market: allowing for advanced design for reliability virtual testing, warpage simulation, and, dimensional stability simulation, the last two of which are both industry first solutions to ongoing major problems in development and manufacture of PCBs and packaging solutions!

The Design for Reliability capability allows users to get automated checks for validating several aspects of the practicability, manufacturability, and reliability of their designs. Gauss does the math for you to make sure that your designs have enough resin content to fill voids, that all features are dimensionally sufficient to sustain the particular choices of grades of glass and copper, that retained copper percentages and layers are within reason, among other checks, all of which adds up to higher reliability of board designs and a more robust manufacturing process.

The Warpage Simulation capability allows users to perform a simulation on the complete stackup to determine the warpage behavior under stress by simulating the cyclic conditions to which the board will be subjected during processing and use. Warpage, especially in packaging applications, is a major cause of waste and scrap. Validation of choice of materials and stackup can prevent much of the headache, and lost time, money, and effort currently devoted to reruns and rework in the manufacturing process.

The Dimensional Stability simulation capability offers something never seen before in the industry: the ability to predict dimensional stability problems in printed circuit boards, during the design stage, without needing to run a long series of scout batches, which lead to massive waste and expensive material scrap. This industry-first solution allows a user to bypass this by allowing for “Virtual Scout Batches” as a replacement for physical scout batches, saving immense amounts of time and money, while also improving the final board design, thereby improving performance.

Gauss Stack’s simulation and design capabilities allow users to solve some of the most challenging and expensive problems in PCB manufacture!

In addition to providing board level thermomechanical properties, as well as providing reliability predictions for Plated Through Holes, Microvias, and Solder Joints, Gauss Stack allows users to catch numerous additional failure modes at the stackup design stage. Gauss Stack’s advanced simulation capabilities allow users to catch issues related to Manufacturability, such as Resin Starvation and Glass Stop, which can cause CAF issues, voiding, and drill-induced crazing,  Warpage, which is especially relevant for asymmetric and hybrid stackups, and even Dimensional Stability, to allow fab shops to accurately compensate designs to avoid registration issues, without running scout lots for each new stackup design.



Design for Manufacturability

In the typical design process, insufficient resin content can lead to glass stop, where the glass comes into contact with copper, with no resin to act as the interface, which can cause problems related to CAF, crazing, and voiding.

Gauss Stack will catch cases of glass stop with high accuracy by not only assessing available resin against etched copper, but also accounting for the effects of dielectric filler and conductor roughness.


Warpage Simulation

In the typical design process, an asymmetric or hybrid PCB will exhibit warpage – even changing a single layer can result in significant warpage, which can render your boards inoperable or unmanufacturable.

Gauss Stack allows you to simulate for warpage behavior and work iteratively within the tool to find an alternative construction that minimizes or eliminates warpage, even with hybrid or asymmetric stackups.



Dimensional Stability Simulation

In the typical design process, scout lots, which are costly both in terms of time and money, are required to prevent registration issues that can leave your board inoperable.

Gauss Stack’s Dimensional Stability service will provide, with very high accuracy, the movement for each layer of your stackup, so that you can compensate your designs for successful registration without a scout lot!

Key Features of Gauss Stack PCB Stackup Designer and Simulator

With Avishtech’s Gauss Stack, you not only get an extremely easy-to-use and visually elegant stackup design tool, but also the industry’s only complete simulation environment for PCB stackups. The software is extremely rich and features:

  • Extensive Vendor-Specific Materials Library: Gauss Stack includes a large vendor-specific dielectric materials library that is fully integrated with Gauss Stack’s electromagnetic and thermomechanical simulations, allowing you to design a stackup in minutes and run a battery of simulations and analyses rapidly.
  • Electromagnetic Simulation: Gauss Stack contains within it the full functionality of Gauss 2D (our 2D Field Solver), which enables full electromagnetic simulation of the stackup layers you have designed in Gauss Stack, to help design for impedance.
  • Design for Manufacturability Checks: our PCB stackup tool goes the extra mile, by helping you design stackups that are manufacturable and reliable. Gauss Stack checks to make sure that your designs have sufficient resin, appropriate properties, and more, to avoid problems before the prototype or manufacture stage. Gauss Stack also includes reliability predictions for plated through holes, microvias, and solder joints.
  • Glass Stop: unlike other PCB stackup design tools, Gauss Stack helps you avoid major problems like glass stop. Glass stop is when there is not enough resin for a particular retained copper percentage to fill the gaps in the copper upon pressing. This results in regions of your PCB having exposed ends of glass fiber bundles, without any resin surrounding them, leading to reliability issues and reduced board life. Gauss Stack checks your stackup for compatibility between your resin contents and retained copper percentages and points out any suspect layers that may be likely to result in glass stop.
  • Reliability Predictions: Gauss Stack allows you to obtain predictions for reflow survivability, thermal cycling cycles to failure, and cycles to failure after a fixed number of reflow cycles (such as in typical reliability test methods) for Plated Through Holes and Microvias, along with relevant stress and strain data. Gauss Stack also provides Solder Joint reliability predictions for cycles to failure for a given component and imposed service conditions.
  • Dimensional Stability Simulation: our most exciting and groundbreaking feature, Gauss Stack goes where no other PCB stackup tool, or any software in the industry, for that matter, can, by enabling highly accurate and fast dimensional stability simulation. This allows you to take a PCB stackup design and determine relative expansion and contraction of each layer relative to each other, allowing you either to revise your design to build more dimensionally stable stackups or to compensate for the predicted deviations when laying out the board during manufacture, leading to immense cost-savings for PCB board shops (by eliminating waste from scout batches) and to overall better performance of board designs.
  • Warpage Simulation: even the slightest asymmetry can lead to significant warpage on your board. Gauss Stack allows you to predict warpage and iterate through to find the ideal stackup that minimizes or eliminates warpage even for highly asymmetric and hybrid builds!
  • Multiple Dielectrics Per Layer: Gauss Stack allows you the flexibility to build PCB stackups with multiple dissimilar dielectric materials per prepreg or core layer. Beyond the simple value of capturing this in your stackup for prototyping or manufacture, Gauss Stack also uses this information to more accurately model your stackup, both for electromagnetic simulation (through the internal Gauss 2D engine) and the in-built thermo-mechanical simulations (including dimensional stability and warpage simulations).
  • Build Virtually Any Rigid Board: With the flexibility that Gauss Stack provides, you can build virtually any PCB stackup of arbitrary number of layers and size, combination of glass styles, and construction (core/cap, foil, or HDI), with all of these being accurately simulated both in terms of electromagnetic behavior and in terms of dimensional stability and warpage analysis, all housed in a single, easy-to-use tool.
  • Design Advisor: Gauss Stack acts like an advisor to your development process, providing you with insights into geometric and material constraints on your design that could lead to problems in prototyping and manufacture, ensuring that your stackup is physically possible, something that is not often obvious without carrying out several concurrent calculations.
  • Pressed Thickness Calculation: unlike some of the more basic PCB stackup tools, Gauss Stack calculates the pressed thickness of your stackup.
  • Easy Export of Data: Gauss Stack allows you to export your PCB stackup design, as well as your simulation outputs (both electromagnetic and dimensional stability/warpage) to Excel or .csv format, for use in your favorite analysis environment. Gauss Stack also allows for export to IPC-2581 format for use in other EDA software, including layout tools.
  • Rapid Construction: in Gauss Stack, with the ability to mirror the construction, apply a set of properties to all layers of a particular type (e.g. “Prepreg”), and apply a set of properties to each copper layer style, you can build an arbitrary PCB stackup in just a few keystrokes and clicks.
  • Mapping Out Vias: Gauss Stack allows you to account for vias in your PCB stackup design by adding this to the pictorial representation of your stackup, to help with routing of lines and traces.

​With all these features and this enhanced functionality, packed into an intuitive, easy-to-use, elegant, and modern PCB Stackup Design and Simulation tool, Gauss Stack is the clear choice for your PCB design and simulation needs.