Altium: Designing for the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next technological frontier that engineers, designers, makers, entrepreneurs and, dreamers of all stripes, is moving towards. In the IoT era, everyday objects are imbued with “intelligence” and connectivity – your wine fridge, detecting you are low on your favorite merlot, talks to your local vintner, and places an order for you, which in turn is delivered to your door by a drone.

Fantastic? Maybe…but maybe not – intelligent vending machines already do similar things.

Designing for the IoT requires a seamless integration between mechanical and electrical systems. SOLIDWORKS, the acknowledged leader in designing mechanical systems, provides you with the tools to design for IoT era.

Figure 1 PCB model in SOLIDWORKS

Altium Inc., a SOLIDWORKS solution partner, is the leading developer of electronic product development solutions dedicated to unifying the different design disciplines involved in electronics product development. Altium products ensure that all electronic engineers, designers, developers, and their organizations take maximum advantage of emerging design technologies to bring smarter products to market faster and easier. Founded in 1985, Altium has headquarters in Shanghai, China; sales offices in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan; and resellers in all other major markets.

Altium Designer, combines schematic, ECAD libraries, rules & constraints, BOM, supply chain management, eco processes and world-class PCB design tools in one easy to use, native 3D enhanced, unified environment, increasing your entire team’s productivity, efficiency and reducing your overall  costs and time to market.

PCBWorks is Altium’s professional PCB design tool engineered specifically for SOLIDWORKS Collaboration.

PCBWorks provides effortless integration with SOLIDWORKS for a unique ECAD/MCAD collaboration experience. Its simple to learn, SOLIDWORKS-like interface, enables engineers to start designing instantly. The electronic and PCB component models are utilized in their native SOLIDWORKS compatible formats. This allows users to open components and boards in SOLIDWORKS natively, which greatly enhances productivity and user experience.

The image below is an illustration of this seamless integration at work. The PCB model (left) is available within SOLIDWORKS (right) where it can be engineered in the context of the surrounding mechanical structures. The component placements are optimized for space, performance and manufacturability, keeping in mind the mechanical constraints. In the example below, the PCB shape is shown to be modified to accommodate the wheels of the car and the drill holes to keep the board in place. The PCB models, once within SOLIDWORKS, are available to all the other SOLIDWORKS modules such as Electrical, Simulation, Plastics, and Costing.


Using SOLIDWORKS and Altium as platforms for connected devices, engineers have tools that streamline product conception, design, simulation, costing, molding and 3D printing.

To learn more about Altium and their portfolio of ECAD products, visit

The next engineering paradigm, Engineering 4.0, extends design data to downstream departments in the right format at the right time; resulting in a more efficient product development process. Read our article and infographic to learn how you can make your IoT projects stand out with Engineering 4.0.


Shyam Venugopal

Shyam Venugopal

Shyam is a Product Portfolio Manager at SOLIDWORKS. He has a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas and an MBA from Boston University. He has worked as an applications engineer for the microelectronics/semiconductor industry and has been with SOLIDWORKS since 2012.
Shyam Venugopal