Historically, developing library footprints, symbols, and 3D models that accurately reflect component manufacturer data sheets and take PCB manufacturing and assembly into account has been tedious, time-consuming, and often prone to errors. In this PCB Librarian and library tool-focused blog series, I continue to explore companies that provide, support, and accelerate electronics product design with tools specifically focused on these critical PCB design building blocks. (For other posts on this topic click here.) In this post, I will be providing insights from my conversation with Frank Frank, product architect for Ultra Librarian.
Ultra Librarian is a design acceleration tool developed internally by Accelerated Design (AD), a former full-service PCB design bureau. It allows the user to accurately create PCB design content and libraries that can then be exported for use in various PCB tools. In 2017, EMA Design Automation, a Cadence Channel Partner, saw Ultra Librarian’s potential benefit to the broader electronics design community. So EMA-EDA acquired AD and migrated the company to become Ultra Librarian. This acquisition expanded the marketing and business development of Ultra Librarian and enabled Frank’s team to focus on their core expertise in electronic design automation (EDA) part creation, library tools, and services.
THE ADVANTAGES OF A PART SELECTION PORTAL
Access to Ultra Librarian products and services starts with the company website. Primarily, it serves as a portal to over 16 million free symbols, footprints, and 3D models. If you cannot locate a specific part, a staff of more than 15 librarians will create it for you for free with an average turnaround time of 48 hours. All created parts pass an internal 84-point review, a peer review, and if the requester is the manufacturer of the part, they too have a review and approval cycle. All parts are built to IPC, manufacturer-suggested, or user-specified standards. Schematic symbols are built to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. In addition to free parts by request, Ultra Librarian’s staff also builds components directly for major component manufacturers like Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Microchip TE Connectivity, and more.
Ultra Librarian parts can be outputted in over 25 distinct formats. In support of 3D design and MCAD collaboration, nearly 85% of the parts also provide free 3D STEP models that match the ECAD footprint rotation, origin, and other more. Ultra Librarian’s website search results provide accurate component availability, compliance, pricing, and more through connections to manufacturer and supplier data through APIs. Direct portal integrations are also currently available for OrCAD, eCADSTAR, and Quadcept design tools.
SOFTWARE, SERVICES, AND OTHER CONTENT
In addition to part search and free downloads, the Ultra Librarian web portal offers several other services and features:
- Virtual Librarian Services (VLS): Ultra Librarian will build electronics design company parts to the companies’ standards.
- Ultra Librarian software: This is the part creation tool itself. Users can create their own parts to their company or personal standards and export them in the CAD format(s) they use. Users can modify the underlying formulas and the graphics for full customization. The tool also can also “scrape” data directly from a PDF data sheet and use this data to quickly create both symbols and footprints. Footprints can also be created by reading a 3D model.
- Reference designs: Ready-to-use reference designs are available for download in multiple CAD formats to help jumpstart the design process.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM ULTRA LIBRARIAN
Ultra Librarian was developed to take the time-consuming, error-prone, and often tedious process of part creation off engineers’ plates so they can focus on designing products. It is one of several major companies in the electronic component symbol, footprint, 3D model, and library provider tool space. Ultra Librarian has a long history of developing calculators to accelerate library development and one of the largest catalogs of free CAD models available for download, including component manufacturer verified models. In July 2022, Ultra Librarian launched an Autodesk Fusion 360-Integrated CAD Library App in the Autodesk App Store. Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D modeling, CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB software platform for product design and manufacturing.