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See what market experts predict for various markets related to SI, PI and EMI applications.

3D Components and Service Strategy

August 31, 2021

In the past, if a vendor wanted to sell a connector into a server system, they’d have to send their customer an s-parameter model, and the customer would stitch a variety of component models together for simulation. That system worked for decades. However, simulating with s-parameters models only represents part of the solution. As data rates increase to 112 Gbps PAM4 and beyond, connectors want to interact with their environments more and more, so designers need to solve and simulate the entire signal channel. That said, vendors want their connectors designed into products. It’s impossible for them to make s-parameter models for every scenario, but, unfortunately, sharing virtual component models leads to intellectual property concerns. This is an overview of how Ansys 3D components with design encryption offered a way for Samtec to share designs with their customers, allowing them to design Samtec interconnects into their systems.


“Ansys HFSS has supported encrypted models for a fairly long time, but what they didn’t support was encrypted components within all of the different tools—especially the HFSS 3D layout,” said Scott McMorrow, Chief Technology Officer of Samtec’s Signal Integrity Group. “That was the key to allowing us to develop libraries of encrypted components. Once that piece and an external link to the tool were both available, it made compelling sense to develop the solution.” 


Nearly a decade ago, Samtec chose to build Ansys 3D simulation software into their own design process as an engineering sign-off tool because it proved accurate, tightly correlated, and user-friendly. “We trust the solver so much that we design all of our connectors, all of our boards, and all of our breakouts virtually,” said McMorrow. “90% of the time, the physical measurements are correlated to known simulation results. Until recently, that wasn’t possible.” 


Until high-performance computing, it was difficult to do enough simulations in a short enough time for a full analysis. Now, it is possible to perform hundreds of simulations with manufacturing and component variations. As long as manufacturing stays within the established tolerances, this process helps to nearly eliminate component failures. 


Beyond go-to-market advantages, 3D components play a role in Samtec’s customer service strategy. “Because we’re a bleeding edge components provider, we’re getting a growing number of technical support requests from our customer base. Our partnership with Ansys is a key strategy to make design easier for the customer,” said Matthew Burns, Technical Marketing Manager at Samtec.

To accommodate a diverse range of use cases, Samtec offers its customers a package that includes evaluation kits (and measurement results), all documentation for connectors and cable assemblies, and all simulation results.


“There’s always going to be the mechanical engineer who wants the real-world sample. Even in that case, they want the digital twin more and more,” said McMorrow. Samtec has operated with a Sudden Service® philosophy since the 1970s. While they’re still providing physical component samples, the goal is to have 3D component models at the ready, so if a model isn’t available in the Ansys HFSS 3D component library, they can provide same-day service. For designers with Ansys HFSS, Samtec models are included with the software upon installation, and if a component is missing from the pre-loaded library, HFSS links directly to the Samtec website to access an expanded component selection.



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