A New Approach to Autorouting - Dragon Router

First-time automatic routing of even complex and high-speed boards

Dragon - Zuken AutoRouting PlatformOur current climate means that engineers must continue to deliver more in less time, continually adapting the way they work. For PCB designers and engineers, autorouting can be one method for saving time and money. Historically, autorouting has been quicker than manual routing, but the perception was that the results were often not fit or did not look the same as manual routing results. At the same time, setting up the router is perceived as a black art, or near impossible requiring an expert in the autorouting tools. But autorouting has now truly come of age; since the birth of the world’s first concurrent autorouter introduced by Zuken in 2004. Zuken now introduces the next generation routing environment the Dragon routing platform. Zuken’s routing technology is no longer about intelligence alone, it focuses on strategic implementation, and combines the two within a single environment that can be used by all – from trained engineers to specialist designers

At the core of the Dragon Router is the Routing Strategy Environment (RSE), and unlike traditional autorouting platforms it allows easy setup and control of all of the routing tools. This moves away from traditional settings-based routing to introduce the concepts of strategy and target-based routing – these are two of the key concepts introduced with the Dragon routing platform.

RSE uses a Routing Consultant to guide users through an optimal routing process. It analyzes designs for potential routing problems and suggests a routing strategy for best results. This includes a set of initial automatic expert checks to identify potential blockers to routing and suggestions on appropriate actions to fix these. Using the information gathered from these checks, the Routing Consultant will generate a routing strategy in order to route designs.

To do this, the Dragon Router platform has access to a number of new innovative routing algorithms. This includes a new tuned native 45-degree autorouter for single trace. This is optimized for high performance in high density areas and achieves shortest total net length and via count. It also introduces an integrated new native 45 degree Differential Pair autorouter based on recent advances in network theory. This routes differential pairs in order to minimize skew and uncoupled length.

The entire routing process can be expressed as a number of steps in order to route your design:

  • Step 1: Automatic pre-routing checks and identification of routing blockers
  • Step 2: Defining strategy and targets using the new Routing Consultant
  • Step 3: Running the routing strategy using new innovative routing algorithms
  • Step 4: Review results and modify strategy


The new Dragon Router platform eliminates the requirement for expert tool knowledge, making the routing process transparent and easy to set up. RSE introduces the key concepts of strategy and target based routing and has access to a number of new innovative routing algorithms that are used seamlessly in order to complete defined routing tasks. It also allows users to interrupt a running strategy in order to use interactive routing tools to make minor design modifications, continuing with the Routing Strategy afterwards.

The Dragon Router is available for CR-5000 users from revision 11.