RS Components launches new design resources and unrivalled gateway to connect engineers

Introducing RS’ fully featured PCB tool and the industry’s most comprehensive parametric search engine for electronic components and free 3D model library.

Singapore, 6 July 2010 :

RS Components, the leading distributor of electronic, electro-mechanical and industrial products, today announced the launch of DesignSpark, the centrepiece of its initiative to provide an authoritative online design environment for engineers. DesignSpark will feature the first RS-created free design tool, DesignSpark PCB, a PCB drawing and layout tool which comes with a unique range of functions and features.

DesignSpark is an online gateway that gives engineers trusted and reliable information and resources, bringing together design information, user generated reviews and new free-of-charge tools to speed up the design process. With the DesignSpark PCB drawing tool, users will have access to a full suite of video tutorials, examples and a parts library. Engineers can create schematics that target any sized PCB with any number of layers, and import designs created in other PCB design software.

RS is also launching two brand-new online design tools for engineers – the industry’s most comprehensive, vendor-independent parametric database of electronic components and a certified 3D CAD model download platform – under their initiative to build an authoritative online environment to support their latest design needs.

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The new platforms help customers to simplify and speed up their design process, building a trustworthy online environment with information, tools and services to support design concepts.

DesignSpark, an unrivalled gateway to online design support and resources with RS’ revolutionary free design tool, DesignSpark PCB

Richard Huxley, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific at RS Components commented, “DesignSpark cuts through the mass of inconsistently presented design information on the internet, providing engineers with a reliable gateway to information, reviews and resources they can trust at every stage in the design process. DesignSpark is more than just a website, it provides the electronic engineering community with an environment where they can not only find design tips and reviews that help inform the start of new designs, but also connect with partners, exchange ideas and contribute to a variety of valuable information sources available from across the internet which are relevant for the whole design cycle.”

A major feature of DesignSpark is a library of independent reviews for development kits and evaluation platforms, provided by engineers, for engineers. This feature will allow users to post comments and star ratings for each kit. Initially, it will cover a range of up to 1100 microcontroller, microprocessor, analogue and FPGA development kits, with new kits being regularly added.

DesignSpark also gives users’ access to a dedicated Design Centre, containing technology tips and hints posted by DesignSpark members. The centre will keep engineers up-to-date with the latest design trends, as well as containing links to the range of RS website tools, making component selection and integration into design software packages fast and simple.

The partner portal has been specifically created in order to allow DesignSpark members to connect with companies and individuals who can help provide information, support or resources that will enable faster design development. Featured partners already include a mix of component manufacturers, design consultants and contract electronics manufacturers, with new partners being added on a daily basis.

DesignSpark also offers free-of charge access for members to a range of design tools, hosted in the Spark Store. Included in the store is the first of a range of new tools launched by RS, DesignSpark PCB; a fully featured PCB design tool. Visitors simply need to register as a DesignSpark member to unlock the full functionality of DesignSpark PCB.

DesignSpark PCB comes with a component library that can be extended and shared – through DesignSpark – with other engineers. Details of the components used from the library form the basis of the Bill of Materials generated by DesignSpark PCB. This can then be used to create an order or quotation request through the usual RS web portals.

As part of an ongoing commitment to deliver an unrivalled authoritative design environment for its customers, RS launched three new platforms in May this year. Component Chooser - the world’s largest and most extensive parametric search engine of electronic components, the introduction of 20,000 downloadable 3D CAD models onto its website and a strengthened Embedded Development Platform (EDP) product line which enables rapid prototyping and proof-of-concept through a new partnership with ARM to target microprocessors based on the mbed virtual development environment.

The new platforms launched today, DesignSpark and DesignSpark PCB, are available to any engineer at www.designspark.com. Users will be invited to register in order to join DesignSpark and have access to thousands of development kit reviews, design centre information and free applications in the Spark Store, as well as connecting with other engineers and online resources supporting new designs.

Design Spark PCB

DesignSpark PCB, a fully featured PCB design tool available free of charge to all without limitation, making it a market-leader in free PCB design software currently available to engineers.

DesignSpark PCB is available to all members of DesignSpark, the new online gateway to information, resources and reviews also launched today by RS at www.designspark.com. One of the key features within DesignSpark is free access for members to a range of design tools, hosted in the Spark Store. Developed in partnership with Number One Systems, specialists in the design of electronics CAD software, DesignSpark PCB is the first RS-created free design tool to be made available via the Spark Store.

DesignSpark PCB comes with a range of functions and features that are unique to any free-of-charge PCB design software. Users will have access to a full suite of video tutorials, examples and a parts library. Engineers can create schematics that target any sized PCB with any number of layers, and import designs created in other PCB design software. Fully (auto)routed and design-rule checked designs can then be exported in a number of file formats including IDF, DXF and standard Gerber/manufacturing format, giving engineers faster progression into mechanical design.

DesignSpark PCB is free to download from the DesignSpark website. Visitors simply need to register as a DesignSpark member to unlock the full functionality. DesignSpark PCB also comes with a component library that can be extended and shared – through DesignSpark – with other engineers. Details of the components used from the library form the basis of the Bill of Materials generated by DesignSpark PCB, which can then be used to create an order or quotation request through the usual RS web portals.

As part of an ongoing commitment to deliver an unrivalled authoritative design environment for its customers, RS launched three new platforms in May this year. Component Chooser - the world’s largest and most extensive parametric search engine of electronic components, the introduction of 20,000 downloadable 3D CAD models onto its website and a strengthened Embedded Development Platform (EDP) product line which enables rapid prototyping and proof-of-concept through a new partnership with ARM to target microprocessors based on the mbed virtual development environment.

The new platforms launched today, DesignSpark and DesignSpark PCB, are available to any engineer at www.designspark.com. Users will be invited to register in order to join DesignSpark and have access to thousands of development kit reviews, design centre information and free applications in the Spark Store, as well as connecting with other engineers and online resources supporting new designs.

Component Chooser – the industry’s most comprehensive parametric search engine for electronic components

The world’s largest and most extensive parametric search engine of electronic components, the Component Chooser, provides an instantly accessible and consistent search and compare tool for 260,000 semiconductors, passive and electromechanical components from the world’s leading suppliers.

Richard Huxley, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific at RS commented, “RS is seen as a trusted and reliable partner by electronics engineers around the world at every stage of their career. We sat alongside our customers, looked at how they work today and considered the part that RS can play in helping them use their time more effectively. The platforms we have created are based on that work and offer customers an end to end online experience that will meet their needs today and tomorrow. It ensures that we will continue to be the professional home for engineers as their work and personal lives change in the face of new information sources and communication opportunities online.” He continued, “Developing our online environment will be a major part of our customer service focus in the years to come.”

Component Chooser will enable engineers to rapidly speed up accurate search and selection of electronic components across manufacturers with a number of unique characteristics, including side-by-side comparison across the database of products. In implementing it, the company has doubled the number of searchable attributes across its range of components, and completely normalised their presentation. The new search engine can be accessed directly at /cc.

Component Chooser is the world’s largest and most extensive parametric search engine of electronic components, providing an instantly accessible and consistent search and compare tool for 260,000 semiconductor, passive and electromechanical components from the world’s leading suppliers.

Component Chooser will enable engineers to rapidly speed up accurate search and selection of electronic components across manufacturers with a number of unique characteristics, including side-by-side comparison across the database of products. In implementing it, the company has doubled the number of searchable attributes across its range of components, and completely normalised their presentation. The new search engine can be accessed directly at www.rs-components.com/cc.

Component Chooser classifies components according to 5 million attributes, each of which is searchable. Customers will be able to search on all attributes and compare products side by side. The search results provide links to support documents such as datasheets, as well as 3D models where available. It is being launched in multiple languages in Europe and Asia Pacific in April 2010 and will link to other online design tools being launched by RS, giving engineers support at each stage of the design process. The technology ranges covered will expand further during the course of the year and Component Chooser will be offered on multiple platforms.

Component Chooser is one of three new platforms launched to provide engineers with an authoritative online environment to support their latest designs. In addition to Component Chooser, RS also today announced the introduction of free, certified 3D CAD model downloads and an enhancement of its EDP embedded development environment.

Comprehensive Free 3D Model Library – of certified 3D and 2D CAD models of electromechanical components, downloadable free of charge

The service provides free and simple access to the most comprehensive online library of electromechanical CAD models available today.

RS partnered with TraceParts, a leading digital engineering 3D content supplier to offer the service. Visitors to the RS website will see a rotating 3D model of parts where a model is available, with links to "classic" images to show details of colour or surface finish. Registered users can request the model from the database, which is converted into the file format chosen by the user depending on their CAD package. The first 20,000 of its 45,000 electromechanical components are available now. The remainder are under development and will continue to be added to the TraceParts database in up to 23 neutral and native formats freely available in the coming months. The TraceParts database also serves a number of other important CAD Vendor websites, giving users a number of different ways of accessing the models.

“The use of 3D CAD models in the electronics industry continues to increase,” added Richard. “Creating models for use in CAD packages can be a time-consuming process, hindered by the largely non-standardised formats used by a wide variety of CAD packages. Some 3D CAD models are available from manufacturers but these can be hard to find or only available on request. RS is offering a comprehensive range of certified 3D models that can be downloaded in all major CAD file formats, free of charge, from a single source.”

3D CAD Models is a comprehensive library of certified 3D and 2D CAD models of electromechanical components, downloadable free of charge. The service provides free and simple access to the most comprehensive online library of electromechanical CAD models available today.

RS partnered with TraceParts, a leading digital engineering 3D content supplier to offer the service. Visitors to the RS website will see a rotating 3D model of parts where a model is available, with links to "classic" images to show details of colour or surface finish. Registered users can request the model from the database, which is converted into the file format chosen by the user depending on their CAD package. The first 20,000 of its 45,000 electromechanical components are available now. The remainder are under development and will continue to be added to the TraceParts database in up to 23 neutral and native formats freely available in the coming months. The TraceParts database also serves a number of other important CAD Vendor websites, giving users a number of different ways of accessing the models.

The comprehensive nature of the RS library is unmatched in the industry, bringing the true benefits of 3D CAD modelling to its customers for no extra charge and without the need to download or install additional software. Each model is automatically displayed by an embedded viewer, compatible with all standard Java-enabled web browsers.

A further advantage of the new RS service is that a unique image will eventually exist for all product variants. Previously, families of products were often represented pictorially by one particular popular or high level variant of the product range.

The 3D models is one of three new platforms launched to provide engineers with an authoritative online environment to support their latest designs. In addition to the models, RS also today announced a comprehensive, vendor-independent parametric database of electronic components and an enhancement of its EDP embedded development environment.

About TraceParts

TraceParts is a leading digital engineering content company, offering customers progressive business solutions through powerful web based products and services. TraceParts helps customers improve marketing efficiencies by increasing the value of their existing digital product data. The tracepartsonline.net CAD portal is freely available to millions of CAD users worldwide. For more information, please visit tracepartsonline.netwww.traceparts.com

What Customers Are Saying

Steven Miller (UK): As a Designer, I have been selecting from RS’ vast range of products for many years. The problem in the past was that each component had to be 3D modelled to be included in the assemblies – at additional cost and time – to the client. This is a huge advancement, RS. Please continue to grow your 3D inventory as this is a designer’s dream and gives you the advantage as a preferred supplier. Thanks!

Brent Barton: I’m impressed. 3D CAD has always appealed to corporate management owing to their ability to visualise designs from 2D engineering drawings. However, creation has been time-consuming. Without a doubt, this system will save a lot of time. It’s wonderful that this system is supported by Autodesk products, a useful feature as I have used their 2D systems before. Thanks for the excellent demo.

Bernd Sirozynski (Germany): Simply brilliant. Helps you to visualise the product and make your decision from there. This definitely sets RS apart from other suppliers.

Edward Wiech (Australia): What a great idea! Magic.

About RS Components

A part of Electrocomponents plc, RS Components (RS) is one of the largest global catalogue and web-based distributors of electronic, electro-mechanical and industrial products.

Operating under the trading brands of RS Components, Radiospares, Radionics and Allied Electronics in the U.S., the Group serves nearly 1.6 million customers in over 80 countries worldwide. Through operations in 27 countries and 16 warehouses, RS distributes 450,000 products from over 2,500 suppliers.

The Group has an annual turnover of over £925 million and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, please visit our market leading website at www.rs-components.com .