Marlborough, MA (PRWEB) April 20, 2013
DownStream Technologies, LLC today announced the launch of FabStream, an integrated printed circuit board (PCB) design and manufacturing solution targeted at the DIY electronics market that consists of small businesses, start-ups, engineers, inventors, hobbyists, and other electronic enthusiasts.
Our vision for FabStream was to create an intuitive PCB solution for a complex part of the electronic product development process. FabStream offers at no cost to the casual DIY user comprehensive, yet easy-to-use PCB design tools integrated with PCB manufacturing, said Rick Almeida, Founder of DownStream Technologies and Managing Director of FabStream. We wanted FabStream to support those individuals who are less experienced in PCB design and manufacturing by eliminating design pitfalls that can lead to problems getting a board produced.
The FabStream service works in three easy steps. First, the user logs onto the FabStream website (http://www.fabstream.com), selects a FabStream manufacturing partner and downloads the design software. Next, they proceed to create PCB libraries, schematics and board layouts. Finally, the software leads the user through the process of ordering PCBs on-line with the manufacturer. Users pay only for the PCBs they purchase. The service is largely Internet-based so FabStream can be accessed globally and is available 24/7/365.
DIY users tend to be generalists responsible for many aspects of product development from circuit, software and mechanical design, through procurement, assembly and field test. As a result design volume is often low, making the purchase of commercial design software prohibitive, and where assistance with more complex parts of development, such as PCB manufacturing, can be beneficial. FabStream also works in larger corporations where engineers may require a quick proof of concept to validate circuits before committing to a formal engineering implementation. FabStream enables these individuals to quickly develop a short-term prototype. Once the circuit is proven out, it can be implemented into the corporate design automation flow.
An Integrated Approach
FabStream starts with the SoloPCB Design software customized to each manufacturing partner. All of the manufacturers production capabilities are built into SoloPCB, allowing the user to work within the manufacturers constraints right from the start. Design changes can be made and then verified through an integrated analyzer that compares the modification to the manufacturers rules using a quick pass/fail check, helping the user keep the design in synch with manufacturing.
SoloPCB does not contain any CAM outputs. Instead, a secure, industry-standard IPC-2581 manufacturing file is automatically extracted, encrypted and electronically routed to the manufacturer during the ordering process. The IPC-2581 file contains all the design information needed for manufacturing, eliminating the need to create Gerber and NC drill files which can be problematic for individuals unfamiliar with PCB manufacturing. The use of IPC-2581 makes SoloPCB the first PCB design tool to use the standard exclusively between design and manufacturing.
SoloPCB Design Software
The free SoloPCB Design software consists of commercial-quality schematic capture, PCB layout and auto-routing in one, easy-to-use environment. To deliver commercial-level software for free, the base technology was acquired from a leading Electronic Design Automation software company headquartered in North America and then, enhanced to automate the flow between design and manufacturing. The acquired base technology has been used by hundreds of high tech companies around the world for many years, validating that the core functionality is well proven in the field.
Free software for PCB manufacturing is not new, but many of the current offerings limit design size and layer count and lock the user into a single manufacturer. FabStream differentiates itself by the depth of the technology that SoloPCB supports. PCBs up to 16 layers can be designed and priced. Complex PCB technologies such as blind and buried vias as well as controlled and matched impedance are supported and priced through an automated RFQ process. The software remains consistent between manufacturers so that users can choose the manufacturer that best meets their technological, delivery, and budgetary needs.
Software development is DownStreams core competency so the company wanted the same level of expertise for PCB manufacturing. DownStream has created a network of PCB manufacturing partners to offer varying levels of service and a wide array of manufacturing alternatives. Our business arrangement with our partners allows both parties to do what theyre good at, allows us to continue to focus on software development, while delivering quality and affordable PCB manufacturing, said Almeida.
FabStream has signed six inaugural manufacturing partners including Bare Board Group, Inc. and Mass Design Inc. in North America; Allfavor Circuits in Shenzhen China; WEdirekt, a division of W