Information and communication technology (ICT) is an essential tool in designing and manufacturing products. There are three key areas of ICT in the designing and making process: modelling and simulation, computer-aided design, and computer-aided manufacture. Modelling and simulation
Electronic circuits can be modelled in real life using a prototyping board - also known as a breadboard. However, this can be time consuming and uses real components, which can be damaged. Computerised simulation software can be used to test circuits without the need to physically build them. In addition, the computer simulation can be saved and edited. Simulation software can also be used to simulate control programmes for programmable interface controllers (PICs). Typically, flowchart symbols can be placed or dragged on-screen. The action will be simulated to ensure that they operate as intended. Advantages and disadvantages of using modelling and simulation Advantages
Doesn't require any physical components, so money isn't wasted on expensive parts ·
Speeds up production process.
You can save and edit ideas, which makes it easier and cheaper to modify your design as you go along. ·
You can choose pre-drawn circuits or system blocks, which speeds up the process even further. Disadvantages
The software itself can be expensive so initial costs are high. There are free software packages though. ·
Staff need to be trained how to use the software, which also adds to costs. ·
Requires a PC.
It doesn't always accurately simulate 'real world' circuits or ideas, so may not be as effective as a prototyping board. Computer-aided design (CAD)
When a circuit has been finalised, a printed circuit board is usually designed and manufactured. Specialist software can be used to plan where the tracks, pads, strain holes and mounting holes will be on the PCB. The diagram below shows a PCB which has been designed using CAD.
CAD software can also be used to design the structure or...
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