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New paradigm in collaborative PCB thermal design

FloTHERM® PCB is a radical new collaboration tool for product marketing, electrical and mechanical engineers that accelerates the conceptual thermal design of printed-circuit boards.

Features and Benefits

Model Building

Direct interfaces to Mentor Boardstation and other popular board layout tools that automatically extract and build:

  • Board outline, cutouts, and thickness
  • Component position, size, and orientation
  • Layer Stackup
  • Detailed descriptions of the copper content (traces, pads, vias, etc) in image format. These images are transformed into a thermal conductivity map (with user controlled resolution) for the board with a novel and unique image processing technique.

Property sheet driven construction of electronics objects and cooling solutions:

  • Components
  • heatsinks
  • Thermal vias
  • Daughterboards
  • Shielding cans
  • Potting compounds

Fully integrated library capability

  • Pre installed with a comprehensive Component Library
  • Fully customizable
  • Direct library item swapping
  • Automatic library item swapping for components

Import capability for part models and library folders generated with other Mentor thermal tools such as FloTHERM and FloTHERM PACK.

Update functionality for the board layout. A layout change can be imported without loss of other model settings and data (eg, heatsink geometry, power definitions, etc)

Environment Definition

The thermal environment that will house the PCB is parametrically defined. There are options available for:

  • Card Slots
  • Natural Convection
  • Forced Convection
  • Conduction Cooled
  • Solder Reflow Ovens

For more advanced scenarios, pre-solved FloTHERM analyses can be imported to form a complex, 3D description of the surrounding air flow and temperature fields.

Solving and Results

The state of the art FloTHERM PCB solver predicts airflow and temperature in a matter of minutes for most designs -- no user interaction required for gridding or solving.

Customized results are created with single mouse clicks. Plots are available for:

  • Junction Temperatures
  • Case Temperatures
  • Average Temperatures
  • Thermal margins

Sortable, tabular views of the data are generated automatically.

Multiple designs can displayed side by side for easy results comparison.

Fully customizable reports are available for export. Reports can contain any combination of board inputs, environment settings, or result plots and tables. Reports are available in HTML or CSV formats.


Command line operation is supported. Users can load designs, import board data, solve, and create reports without opening the software.

Application Examples

Attempting to satisfy an increasing number of PCB design constraints is putting more pressure than ever on designers. The risk of failure of either functional performance or reliability increases with each new generation of design. One of the fastest emerging design tradeoffs is between thermal compliance and signal integrity. High clock speed, coupled components need to be close together to ensure no signal degradation. Unfortunately, such components also dissipate significant power; thus, they need to be as far away from each other as possible to reduce component temperatures.

The ability to accurately predict the thermal performance of a PCB early in the development process is becoming more critical than ever before. A key limitation of tools designed to simulate the performance of PCBs early in the design process has been their inability to take into account the effects on thermal conductivity of localized concentrations of copper. A recent improvement in these design tools has been the ability to model the effects of copper concentration on thermal conductivity in the board. The latest generation of PCB design tools makes it possible to model copper concentration at whatever level of detail is desired, down to the level of modeling each individual trace.

System Requirements

Windows 32 bit

Supported operating systems:

  • Windows 7 (Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions)
  • Windows Vista (Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions)
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Windows Server 2008, Standard and Enterprise editions

Hardware requirements:

  • 1 GB RAM, 2 GB recommended
  • Approximately 80 Mbytes free disk space to install
  • Recommended minimum of 2 GB additional free disk space for practical project data storage.
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