In recent years Ansys has released 3D encrypted components for Ansys HFSS. This feature allows users to simulate their complex structures in HFSS and pass completed designs to their customers while suppressing sensitive materials, objects, or structures. Encrypted models also allow for password protection for internal editing and for controlled customer use. A truly fantastic addition to HFSS that increases the ability to move further into system-level simulations instead of single components while protecting the intellectual property created during the design process. Figures 1 and 2 depict a simple coax cable with and without hidden modeling sections.
In the recent software update, 2022 R1, Ansys has released a beta feature for 3D components in HFSS 3D Layout. This now allows for users to create a layout component for entire PCBs or sections of PCBs that can also be made into encrypted components. By encrypting PCB components, users can obfuscate stack-ups and ensure that material properties are hidden from end-users. This also allows for data, meshing, and solutions to remain encrypted within the component and on the hard disk.
Figure 1. Simple Coax Cable (No hidden encrypted models)
Figure 2. Simple Coax Cable (Internal Sections Hidden from Customer View)
For this blog post, we have created a novel trace to showcase the 3D encrypted modeling process. Figure 3 shows the trace. After model creation, the user can export a Layout Component which allows the user to create an encrypted or fully encrypted component. In the case of a fully encrypted component, the stack-up, material information, and layout details are completely hidden. The only thing visible to the end-user is the pin names and the black box. Figure 4 shows the dialog box for the component creation. The resulting black box is shown in Figure 5. As you can see, the novel trace information is now hidden from the end-user, but the solution information resides within the component save folder.
Figure 3. A novel trace on a multi-layer PCB
Figure 4. Layout Component Dialog Box
Figure 5. Final Encrypted PCB Component
3D Layout components are a new beta feature for 2022 R1 which allows for HFSS 3d Layout users to create black-box components for their end-users. These black-box models can be safely shared with password protection to ensure the intellectual property within the model remains safe while also allowing end-users to simulate using highly accurate PCB models. Within the setup there are options users can set for the level of hidden information including stack-up, material properties, as well as entire PCB traces. This allows for flexibility depending on the level of protection a designer needs. In the end, this new feature allows for the ability to share more simulation information that increases the fidelity of system-level simulations without fear of losing IP.
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