Mentor Graphics Corp. announced the first phase of a new systems design enterprise platform to address today’s printed circuit board (PCB) systems challenges of increased complexity, changing team demographics, and systems-aware design requirements. The Mentor Graphics Xpedition™ platform significantly simplifies and accelerates the development of the industry’s most challenging designs. By combining an intuitive design environment with designer-driven automation, the Xpedition platform addresses the changing responsibilities of designers, including global team-based organizations, so that users can perform at expert levels for optimum productivity. The result is shortened product development cycles, minimized design re-spins, and improved product quality. The first phase of the launch announces new Xpedition PCB layout technology.

“The Xpedition platform is our most significant product in years, resulting from our commitment and response to our customers’ inputs by delivering the most advanced solution in the industry,” stated Henry Potts, vice president and general manager of Mentor Graphics Systems Design Division. “The new platform, by building upon the strength of our current market-leading solutions, is designed for accelerated adoption and deployment. I’m gratified that early feedback from customers validates the ease of adoption as well as the ground-breaking advances of this solution.” 

Advanced Automated Layout Technologies

The Xpedition PCB layout platform, the first announced phase of the new Xpedition flow, addresses key challenges of today’s systems designers:  placement planning for performance and reuse; efficient routing of complex, dense topologies; and electro-mechanical optimization. A key feature in this platform is Sketch Router™ which provides the designer with extensive interactive control of the auto-assisted routing process by delivering hand-routed-quality results in dramatically reduced time – a significant industry advancement.

“Sketch Router is incomparable to anything available today, and I was really surprised at how easy it is to use— it quickly became second-nature,” stated John Medina, owner of High Speed Design Services. “The quality looks like a hand route, and I would bet that most people could not tell the difference.”

With the complexity of high density boards, multiple layers, design and space constraints, the need for an environment that enables collaboration across multiple disciplines within an enterprise is imperative. The platform is an easy-to-use, highly productive design environment that delivers automated component planning and placement, auto-assisted interactive routing, and 3D design development—even for individuals or teams relatively unfamiliar with complex PCB layout design.

Major Xpedition PCB Layout Features and Benefits Simplified planning and placement

  • Streamlined placement using engineering-driven hierarchical component grouping methodology – an industry first;
  • User-managed netline visualization for groups, individual parts, or regions of a design;
  • Circuit management to organize, modify and protect critical component and route group data.

Accelerated routing

  • The Sketch Router enables user control over trace location, routing styles and even a selection of via patterns—with quality that matches manual routing so closely that clean-up is usually not needed;
  • Simplified visualization and repair of design rule violations;
  • Efficient, high-quality routing and tuning of differential pairs including automatic phase matching, symmetrical pad entry, and curved traces;
  • Improved visualization of route connections and obstacles in the path.

Design in true 3D

  • A fully-integrated environment that uses the same selection, planning, and placement functionality for 2D and 3D – unique to the industry;
  • Reduces ECAD/MCAD iterations with photo-realistic visualization using accurate 3D parametric models of components and enclosures – an industry first;
  • Includes a library of more than four million vendor parts, with easy tools to import and align imported models or create using templates;
  • Enables definition of 3D design constraints and dynamic checking during the placement process;
  • Import and visualize multiple boards within the context of the mechanical enclosure.

Intuitive, efficient design environment

  • Graphical user interface (GUI) redesigned for ease of access and usability;
  • Design aids that make the environment easy to learn and retain, including personalization to focus on most-used functionality;
  • Improved management of components and nets to capture engineering intent and simplify access to critical data.


The Xpedition platform will be available to early adopters in March – general availability is mid-year 2014.  Contact a local Mentor Graphics sales representative for additional product information, or visit the website: