SOLIDWORKS, PCB Design, Q&A with TriMech

Q&A With Matt Fawcett: Featuring SOLIDWORKS PCB

By Matt Fawcett on January 5, 2017

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Our Q&A blog series looks at different members of our team and their perspective on the most current 3D printing and SOLIDWORKS CAD technology. This month’s Q&A features Matt Fawcett, SOLIDWORKS PCB Sales Director.

Meet Matt Fawcett, SOLIDWORKS PCB Sales Director

1. Describe yourself in five words or less.

ECAD guy in MCAD space.

2. What are you most passionate about?

Family (I know…typical and boring). I have two kids. Ryan is 8 years old and Nate is 5 years old. They are at an age where everything is fun. They say funny stuff, and they want to hang with me. I figured those days will be gone in a few years!

Professionally, I believe in the digital sales model, and I think SOLIDWORKS PCB fits that mold. When we sold the Altium product, it was exciting and a true team environment. We all celebrated each other's wins, provided feedback when we struggled and were driving for the same common goal. It was awesome and I want that feeling back! 

Matt's Role at TriMech

3. What's your role at TriMech and your background in engineering?

I lead the PCB Team focused on selling SOLIDWORKS PCB and the SOLIDWORKS PCB Connector. We are a digital sales group which means most of our activity is web-based and phone based. We have a small team but very experienced in the PCB space.

I started my career working for my dad’s company. He owned a small material handling company where I was able to work in a variety of roles: warehouse, inside sales, outside sales and even accounting for a short while.

After leaving the family business, I went to Newark Electronics to sell components on a circuit board. From there, I went to Altium as a territory manager then a VAR Channel Manager for East Coast and Canada. That’s when I met CADD Edge (now TriMech) and moved over to build the ECAD team. Over the past 4 years, we have worked with Altium, Mentor Graphics and now SOLIDWORKS PCB. It’s been a wild ride but a great learning experience. 

4. After spending much of your career in the ECAD/electronics field, what would you say is the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry?

The ECAD industry is constantly changing. Mentor Graphics and Cadence have owned the PCB market in the US for many years (90’s, early 2000’s). Altium has been taking over market share and now have an agreement with SOLIDWORKS.

SOLIDWORKS PCB will have a home as a less expensive solution to Altium but much of the same functionality. There is a need in the mainstream PCB space for a fully functional PCB design tool under $8K, and SOLIDWORKS PCB answers that need.

5. What has been your favorite memory at TriMech?

I was fortunate to attend the 2014 club trip to Cabo. It was our (my wife and I) first real vacation after having two kids. We had a blast – all inclusive resort, ATV’s on the beach, swimming with dolphins. It was amazing.

Going In-Depth With SOLIDWORKS PCB

6. What is your favorite thing about SOLIDWORKS PCB?

The integration with Solidworks is solid and it’s unique to Solidworks. Best-in-class capability which every company can use (if they’re doing electronic design).

7. Can you explain what competitive advantages SOLIDWORKS PCB offers to clients’ workflows?

We break them down into three bullets:

  1. Unified Design – One program to design your boards (Mentor & Cadence have 3-5 programs)
  2. Mechanical Integration – Direct integration with SOLIDWORKS which minimizes the need for DXF, STEP and IDF file formats. Overall, it improves collaboration between mechanical and electrical departments
  3. Price – There is not a more powerful PCB design tool at this price on the market. SOLIDWORKS PCB is the next step up from hobbyist but capable enough to be a primary PCB design tool for an organization with a large design team. 

8. What is your favorite accomplishment, experience or story about SOLIDWORKS PCB?

Customers recognize the need for this ECAD/MCAD integration. Many customers have been looking for a simple way to integrate with SOLIDWORKS, eliminate STEP/IDF and get the copper into the MCAD space for analysis. When we demonstrate the capabilities, customers just “get it”.

9. How does SOLIDWORKS PCB impact your work, the industry, other 3DP or CAD technology? Where do you anticipate it going from here?

SOLIDWORKS PCB is just the beginning of SOLIDWORKS entering the PCB design market. Here are some questions which are interesting to think about (this has not been validated by SOLIDWORKS....just our assumptions/hopes/dreams)

  • What if Dassault's purchase of CST provides a full family of analysis products for the SOLIDWORKS PCB products?
  • What if SOLIDWORKS can get SOLIDWORKS PDM and SOLIDWORKS PCB to work together? What if we can put the PCB libraries into the PDM system? It would make it easier for the analysis of a customer's designs.
  • What if SOLIDWORKS becomes one of the largest players in the PCB design market?

With the wave of IoT (Internet of Things), electronics are being forced to be smaller, run faster and fit into smaller enclosures. This challenge will force customers to focus on electronics cooling analysis to better understand how these electronics will function in unique, tight environments.

If SOLIDWORKS can build an ecosystem that ties all these pieces together, manages all the data, models, assemblies and documentation under one fluid umbrella, then SOLIDWORKS wins. Nobody has this capability now, but it feels like SOLIDWORKS is building it.

For more insight from Matt, watch one of his past PCB webinars or browse our on-demand PCB webinar library.