This article examines the growing usefulness of computer-aided engineering (CAE) programs for the design of electronics packaging. CAE combined with expert interpretation, can help manufacturers quickly satisfy demand for increasingly small yet reliable products. Currently, three classes of software specifically support electronics packaging design: integrated computer-aided design (CAD) CAE software, general-purpose CAE software, and specialty CAE software solutions. The integrated CAE software emphasizes automatic creation and updating of finite-element-analysis (FEA) models based on CAD geometry. The effectiveness of this associativity between CAD and FEA depends on the product behavior to be evaluated and the quality of implementation. CAE simulation can calculate the maximum acceptable loads on pins, as well as the vibration characteristics of components. Solids-based CAD helps detect interference problems across components, as in these exploded views of a disc drive and a headset. While several general-purpose CAE suppliers permit engineers to build customized environments for automating model creation, specialty suppliers such as Pacific Numerix deliver the specific automated capabilities and connector libraries.

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