True MCAD-ECAD Architecture: A Common-Sense Approach

At DAC 2000 in New Orleans, I came upon a spritely elderly lady named Hilary Kahn, who introduced me to what she and her students had done at the University of Manchester with the EDIF 4.0 standard. Perhaps there was a pre-Harry Potter spell that she cast onto my inquisitive mind, but I actually saw mechanical and electrical tools (although they were the lesser EDA tools of the day) interact with the same design data for their specific engineering needs. This integration was not at the scale of my white paper, but I believed in the goodness of a more integrated design environment than what was currently commercially available.

When I approached a major EDA tool vendor at that show about what they were working on to integrate this standard, I was greeted with a stern, “We will never consider it, because we cannot expose our proprietary IP!” Although I understood the IP argument made complete business sense, I still believed at some point in the future that the engineering masses, the merging EDA companies, and the power of computers and networks would be at a state where all of these current barriers would be gone.

In the 2000s, all of these barriers did erode. Even the claim that EDA proprietary IP was sacred is no longer valid, as major companies have switched from one EDA vendor to another on multiple tools. Companies have recreated their IP on to their new EDA systems, and have now gone forward designing products with their new EDA vendors’ tools and their IP.

But despite all of this progress, a true MCAD-ECAD collaborative integrated design process tool environment has never materialized. In the simplest Dr. Phil terminology, EDA vendors still don’t get it.

The goal of the following roadmap is to create a complete bi-directional, fully integrated tool within the next five years. By 2020, a true cost-affordable MCAD-ECAD tool needs to be available to every project engineering team.

To read this article, click here.

This column originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

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2015

True MCAD-ECAD Architecture: A Common-Sense Approach

02-12-2015

Despite a lot progress, a true MCAD-ECAD collaborative integrated design process tool environment has never materialized. In the simplest Dr. Phil terminology, EDA vendors still don’t get it. The goal of the following roadmap is to create a complete bi-directional, fully integrated tool within the next five years. By 2020, a true cost-affordable MCAD-ECAD tool needs to be available to every project engineering team.

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True MCAD-ECAD Architecture: A Common Sense Approach

01-28-2015

In this month's edition of The Town Crier, Dan Smith describes his vision for the future of MCAD-ECAD collaboration. He offers the following roadmap on behalf of all engineers who have been waiting for a true MCAD-ECAD tool for years. The goal of this roadmap is to create a complete bi-directional, fully integrated tool within the next five years.

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The Town Crier: IPC's Holiday Gift to Industry - Dieter 2.0

01-09-2015

IPC's Dieter Bergman was a caring, giving man to all he met. Dieter was the "face of IPC," and it is to his empty pedestal that we all cast our gaze. This assembly of the curious is looking for the next icon of IPC's technology direction. That icon will be known simply as "Dieter 2.0."

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2014

HDI Design Education: Is Anyone Interested?

06-11-2014

Columnist Dan Smith first became aware of HDI design methodology in 1997 when a co-worker came back from a training class taught by Happy Holden. Over the next few years he became an expert on the subject, even developing a four-day training workshop. But interest in HDI seems to have disappeared. What does the design community think of this reduction in HDI education?

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The Town Crier: HDI Design Education: Is Anyone Interested?

06-11-2014

Columnist Dan Smith first became aware of HDI design methodology in 1997 when a co-worker came back from a training class taught by Happy Holden. Over the next few years he became an expert on the subject, even developing a four-day training workshop. But interest in HDI seems to have disappeared. What does the design community think of this reduction in HDI education?

View Story

Differential Education 101 for PCB Designers

04-16-2014

What is the state of PCB designer education in 2014 and where is it going? Where should it be going? Columnist Dan Smith's new column will focus on PCB design, design processes, education and a host of topics important to PCB designers.

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