Parent article: Vault-Driven Electronics Design
Related article: Managed Schematic Sheets
The term 'Design Reuse' has become something of a cliché in the marketing of engineering products, perhaps primarily driven by how little of this actually happens. The same design task is performed over and over. However in electronics design, design reuse is practiced every day by every engineer using off-the-shelf integrated circuits. These devices are a package of electronics that someone, somewhere has designed, tested, documented and sold to the world at large. Every customer of this device is reusing this design in a very rigorous way.
In comparison, the real practice of design reuse in the rest of the design process is generally very poor and most likely consists of a variety of glorified copy and paste tools.
Although design reuse is not the primary objective of the released Item, it is a natural side-effect of this approach to design. The concept of the Item, as a package of design content, is based on the user of the item not knowing (and not needing to know) what is inside the Item. Therefore, like integrated circuits, the Item, and with it the design content, will be used in the bigger design without change by the user. All the user should care about is adding the functionality of that content to his own design.
To this end, the Design Data Management System caters for the ability to formally release a schematic sheet (or tree of sheets), along with any associated Harness Definition files, into a target Item (and revision thereof) in a target vault. Once the sheet has been released, and its lifecycle state set to a level that the organization views as ready for use at the design level, the sheet – which is now referred to as a Managed Sheet – can be placed into design project schematics.
Formally release a sheet of design circuitry that can then be re-used in other design projects requiring that same functionality.