Avishtech Introduces Latest Generation of Its Revolutionary Gauss Stack PCB Stack-Up Tool
New Tool Provides All-in-One Solution for Electromagnetic and Thermomechanical Simulations, Manufacturability Checks and Reliability Prediction for High-Frequency, High-Data Rate Product Implementations
San Jose, Calif., March 01, 2021 — Avishtech (www.avishtech.com), the leading provider of innovative EDA stack-up and 2D field solver solutions, today announced the availability of the latest version of its Gauss Stack PCB stack-up design and simulation solution. This version includes an extensive dielectric materials library that enables rapid specification and implementation of a complete stackup design that includes both electromagnetic and thermomechanical simulations, fully integrated, with no additional user input of material data required. Gauss Stack accurately predicts resin starvation and glass stop issues and provides board level thermomechanical properties including coefficients of thermal expansion in all directions—X, Y and Z axis (both above and below Tg).
Keshav Amla, Founder and CEO of Avishtech notes, “Today’s high data rate products including 112 Gbps/channel and 5G/mmWave applications have very little ‘wiggle room.’ A slight mistake in one area can quickly render a design inoperable or unmanufacturable. Prior to this point in time, there was no EDA product that enabled a real Multiphysics approach, where product developers can carry out electromagnetic and thermomechanical simulations, manufacturability checks and reliability predictions. The process consisted of ‘best guess’ estimations that had to be verified through the building of a test vehicle board. And, if there were problems detected at the test-board level, the only solution was to go back to square one and start the process all over again. This led to time-intensive and expensive rework that could then impact critical time-to-market windows, competitive advantages and overall profitability of a product line.”
“What we have done with Gauss Stack is to effectively bridge the gap between the design and manufacturing processes,” continues Amla. “Now, instead of just applying ‘best practices’ and hoping that the PCB you design will sync up with the characteristics of the dielectric material you have selected, with Gauss Stack, you can move forward with a right-the-first-time design that meets your performance characteristics but is also manufacturable, reliable and profitable.”
The specific features of Gauss Stack include: the ability to accurately model insertion loss by accounting for ground plane losses; the accurate prediction of resin starvation and glass stops that includes the effect of dielectric filler and conductor roughness; the ability to accurately simulate the PCB thermomechanical properties that are critical for reliability predictions; the further simulation, based on these board level thermomechanical properties, of plated though-hole reliability, microvia reliability and solder joint reliability; the ability to perform simulations for the impedance and frequency and roughness dependent losses associated with dielectric materials, for the full stackup with one click; and the additional ability to perform synthesis to simulate line widths required to achieve a target impedance, again for the full stackup with one click.
Amla continues, “At the higher level, Gauss Stack enables you to predict failure modes at the stackup design stage. Prior to now, product designers weren’t able to predict how resin content, glass weave, retained copper %, and other aspects of their designs would impact the board level properties or the manufacturability and reliability of their boards. And, with today’s high-frequency, high-date rate designs, these are often the hidden ‘gotchas’ that determine whether your product will work as designed or even if the product can be successfully manufactured. Gone are the days when designing for just one attribute was sufficient.”
While numerous EDA toolsets contain massive amounts of information in the form of libraries, the ability to quantify and qualify that data in a meaningful way is not always possible. Amla explains, “But, we haven’t just built another iteration of the same mouse trap—a broad-based laminate database. Instead, we have incorporated into Gauss Stack a level of intelligence in the form of a proprietary algorithm that is able to extract detailed mechanical properties at the polymer level that are critical for the afore-mentioned thermomechanical simulations that Gauss Stack conducts. Based on these simulations it’s possible to determine how these properties will impact the design, manufacturability, long-term operability and reliability of the end product. We have done extensive validation of our predictions on several built test vehicle boards and all of our results have been within experimental error.”
Lee Ritchey, Founder and President of Speeding Edge who is widely regarded as one of the leading industry experts in PCB design states, “Extensive and meaningful innovation in EDA toolsets is a rarity in this industry. Toolset developers might offer tweaks of their products here and there that are of some value but it’s rare that a new toolset comes on the scene that can be a real game changer. Avishtech’s Gauss Stack is such a tool. It provides insight into those material characteristics and performance metrics that can make or break a design in terms of their predictability and reliability once the product is manufactured.”
Marc Licciardi, Founder of DfX Engineering, is an early adopter of Avishtech’s Gauss Stack. He notes, “What Avishtech has built with Gauss Stack is not just an incremental change, but, rather, a fundamental shift in how I can design PCB stacks. It allows me to catch manufacturability issues like resin starvation and glass lock/glass stop, which can also cause CAF and other related issues, as well as predict the reliability of the solder joints and vias, on top of impedance and loss modeling, all at the design stage, rather than learning of these issues many months into the development process. Gauss Stack empowers me to virtually prototype several different stackups to compare them in terms of manufacturability, reliability, and signal integrity and help identify which stackup fits the right balance of requirements to take products to market faster, without having to build test vehicle after test vehicle.”
Product Availability and Delivery
Gauss Stack is available now. Instead of the traditional pricing methodologies of a toolset license per seat, Avishtech utilizes a subscription-based customer fulfillment model. Each year, an Avishtech customer buys an annual subscription, based on their design needs criteria, and all the enhancements, additions and technology advancements made to the product during that subscription period are included in the subscription price. System software requirements include: OS Microsoft Windows 10 (64 bit); Recommended CPU—64-bit Intel i7 Quad Core processor running at 4.0 GHz or better (Requirement: 64-bit Intel Dual core processor running at 3.0 GHz); Recommended memory—16 GB or higher (Requirement 8 GB or higher).
Avishtech is a San Jose, CA-based high technology company founded in 2015 on the principle of using a multidisciplinary approach to build the materials-driven technologies of the future. Avishtech’s Gauss line of simulation and design software embodies its long-standing commitment to rigorous and thorough research and development, coupled with its core goal of achieving the highest levels of performance and reliability. For more information about Avishtech and its products, please visit www.avishtech.com or telephone +1-408-650-6726.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What new/improved features are incorporated in this tool upgrade?
Answer: As with every innovation we make to both our Gauss Stack and Gauss 2D toolsets, our overall focus is on continually upgrading and fine tuning our simulation and design environment so that we can predict a greater number of failure modes at the stackup design stage. This iteration of the product includes an extensive dielectric materials library that enables the rapid specification and implementation of a complete design stackup that includes both electromagnetic and thermomechanical simulations. Gauss Stack could already predict the compliance matrix components, which serve as the primary inputs for reliability prediction models related to plated through holes and solder joint cycles to failure, but this version of Gauss Stack also includes this functionality for predicting plated through hole, microvia and solder joint reliability. This information is critical to avoiding serious failure modes and, up to this point in time, has not been available through any other methodologies or toolsets.
- Which specific aspects of the product development process benefit from these upgrades?
Answer: Along with improving the overall PCB stackup design process, we provide a much more robust bridge, previously not available, between the design, manufacturing and reliability efforts. In addition to these root-level design improvements, through its products, Avishtech provides significant business and fiscal benefits by enhancing the “time-to-market” development process, avoiding costly respins, eliminating the need for test boards and reducing the number of field failures that are associated with longer term product problems such as solder joint degradation.
- Which existing/new customers will gain the most benefit from these innovations and which technologies/market drivers make these innovations necessary?
Answer: Basically, any company involved in designing complex, multilayer boards will benefit from the use of Gauss Stack. In particular, our technology and toolsets provide significant improvements in the current and next iterations of high frequency, high data rate designs. >112 Gbps and 5G/mmWave/Microwave products have very tight, unforgiving design parameters. A slight error in any one of the steps in the design flow can render a design inoperable or unmanufacturable. That’s why it’s crucial to be able to perform electromagnetic and thermomechanical simulations, manufacturability checks and reliability predictions before sending a PCB to layout, because a board that’s optimized for signal integrity, but can’t survive reflow during assembly is not a viable design.
- What are the specific benefits realized from this latest generation of Gauss Stack?
Answer: Gauss Stack accurately predicts resin starvation and glass stop issues and provides board level thermomechanical properties including coefficients of thermal expansion in all directions—X, Y and Z axis (both above and below Tg). While these aspects were present previously, the latest version accounts for the effects of filler and conductor roughness in its resin starvation and glass stop checks and now includes functionality to predict plated through hole, microvia and solder joint reliability, based on those thermomechanical properties.
The specific features include: the ability to accurately model insertion loss by accounting for ground plane losses (Gauss Stack and its sister product Gauss 2D are the only tools that account for these – other tools exhibit up to 20%+ error, because they cannot account for this); the accurate prediction of resin starvation and glass stop that accounts for the effect of dielectric filler and conductor roughness; the ability to accurately simulate the PCB thermomechanical properties that are critical for reliability predictions; the simulation of plated though-hole reliability, microvia reliability and solder joint reliability; the ability to perform simulations for the impedance and frequency and roughness dependent losses associated with dielectric materials, for the full stackup with one click; and the additional ability to perform synthesis to simulate line widths required to achieve a target impedance, again for the full stackup with one click. In addition, in Gauss Stack, there is a Causal-Huray model which has been shown to be very accurate for modeling copper surface roughness effects on impedance. High frequency, high data rate designs are particularly impacted by the roughness of the copper surface. Beyond the impedance effects, this roughness increases loss at high frequencies due to skin effect loss, so accurate modeling is key. There is also a prediction of orthotropic mechanical properties (those properties that depend on the direction in which they are measured).
- Aren’t there other EDA toolsets in the industry that deliver these same sorts of capabilities?
Answer: Firstly, there are no other tools that can predict the thermomechanical properties for a printed circuit board. The primary reason for this is that modeling the woven composites that build up these boards is a hard problem but is one that we have solved in Gauss Stack. These thermomechanical properties are then used to predict reliability for Plated Through Holes, microvias, and solder joints, again, an industry-first. Plus, all of these simulations are conducted in a fully integrated manner with our materials library, using polymer-level materials properties that are extracted directly from vendor-provided construction lists. Additionally, Gauss Stack is the only tool that can accurately predict glass stop / resin starvation, by accounting for the effects of dielectric filler and conductor roughness. All of this is on top of signal integrity simulation capability that not only exhibits the highest accuracy in the marketplace, but is the only one (along with sister product Gauss 2D) that accurately model loss, by accounting for ground plane losses.
- How are successive iterations/innovations of Gauss Stack delivered to its customers?
Answer: Unlike the traditional EDA per seat licensing business model, Gauss Stack and Gauss 2D are provided via a subscription service.
All customers for the Gauss tools are upgraded to the latest version for free as part of their software subscriptions. It’s important to note that, despite the vast feature set and key differentiators found in its Gauss products, Avishtech’s offerings are very affordable, especially when compared to other vendors’ toolsets.
- Given the content and information that is provided in Avishtech’s Gauss Stack and Gauss 2D toolsets, how easy are the toolsets to learn/use?
Answer: We have put considerable time and energy in making our tools easy to learn and use. The ease-of-use is a core aspect of Avishtech’s design and development philosophy. Successive iterations of our toolsets will all have the same look and feel so that it will be easy for product developers to get up to speed on the new features and capabilities of our upgraded toolsets.
- What is the long-term company/technology/product roadmap for Avishtech?
Answer: We will continually improve and refine our Gauss Stack and Gauss 2D products to ensure that they address the continual evolution of the technology challenges that our customers face in developing their next-generation and beyond end products. We are also committed to educating the industry user base by sharing what we learn about these technology challenges and how they can best be addressed through a comprehensive, inclusive, predictive design approach.