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Intelligent, efficient PCB design data transfer to manufacturing has been a hot topic for the last three years. A small group of companies created the IPC-2581 Consortium in mid-2011. Since then, many companies joined the effort to get IPC-2581--an open, neutral, intelligent format--adopted. It has been a wonderful journey that witnessed unprecedented collaboration amongst PCB design and supply chain companies, innovation with stack-up exchange, and last but not least, steady progress toward adoption. This article provides an update on IPC-2581 Consortium activities that include collaboration, innovation, and adoption status.
The IPC-2581 Consortium for an open, neutral, global standard has been growing steadily and now has more than 60 corporate members and 48 associate members. Corporate members include PCB design and supply chain companies from PCB ECAD companies such as Altium, Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics, Zuken, ADIVA, Downstream, and WISE Software, to name a few. Members also include companies that provide software to EMS, fabrication and contract manufacturers such as AEGIS, Cimnet, Direct Logix, Easy Logix, GraphiCode, and Polar Instruments. Other members are EMS providers, contract manufacturers, fabrication companies, and IPc.
The IPC-2581 Consortium has achieved unprecedented collaboration between PCB design and supply chain companies. When the consortium was founded, there were several initial challenges. Through collaboration, the consortium has:
- Developed software to export/import IPC-2581 data;
- Developed methods to test and validate data generated by software companies;
- Created an initial set of publicly available sample test cases ;
- Conducted multiple three-way meetings between a design house, their ECAD supplier, and their fabrication/manufacturing suppliers;
- Identified areas in the 2581 specification that were ambiguous, design and implement changes to clarify the spec; and
- Identified improvements needed to make the data hand-off even more efficient.
Read the full article here.Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.