How does Library Management work?
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    How does Library Management work?

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    Article summary

    How does library management work?

    Every component library starts with a set of project files.

    Create a component library repository

    Create a location for your designs. This can be as sophisticated as a git repo, or a shared network folder.

    Discuss the location and logistics with your team before implementing. The most important thing is that everyone will reference the centralized library instead of creating their own.

    Separate symbol and component files by function

    Separate components into separate files by function. Each one of these component types have different common attributes and are easier to maintain and fix.

    • Resistors

    • Capacitors

    • Connectors

    • Power regulation

    • Level translators

    • High speed digital

    • Radio frequency

    Sometimes it’s easier to understand an example. Check out one of these library examples to see how we separate components.

    AllSpice.io example library

    Celestial Altium library

    Wurth Altium library

    Pair symbol libraries with footprint libraries

    Ensure that symbol libraries and footprint libraries have synchronized names and known folder locations. If the libraries get separated, they have a tendency to diverge.

    For example:

    /symbols/Resistors.schlib

    /footprints/Resistors.pcblib

    Create a new component process

    The best way to keep a library correct is to have a new component process. This can be as formal as your team needs. This prevents new and untested components from being added to the library and that all components in the library are tested and approved.

    • Email

    • Spreadsheet

    • Issue Tracker (Jira, MS Teams)

    • Git repo workflow

    Update component attributes

    Whether you keep your attributes in a symbol library or in a separate intlib/dblib, updating the component attributes will help ensure your BOM and purchasing are correct.

    You may want to start with an empty library file and merge the library file as you add and review the attributes.

    Important fields are Manufacturer, Manufacturer Part Number, Distributor, Alternate Parts, Related footprint.

    Remove duplicates

    One you have a library, it is important to find and delete duplicate components. If you have more than one copy of the information, it’s easy to only fix one copy, with the other copies remaining for reuse.

    Fix component errors

    Engineers often fix errors as they see them. It’s important to make sure the fixes get into the library as they’re made.

    It’s also important to set aside time each product release to prune the library of incorrect parts.

    In the example above, an engineer modified a 10K resistor partnumber with a 5K reference designator. The wrong part would be ordered if this component were used.

    Dedicated resources to library management

    Not every team needs a full-time parts librarian. Each designer should know how to properly maintain a library even if you have a dedicated librarian. Discuss and agree with the team how much time to budget and add to the schedule to ensure the components are correct.

    Any improvement is an improvement

    Even small changes to habits can bring about a huge improvement to the quality and reuse of components. It’s better to do several small improvements than postpone all improvements.


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