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46 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2019 we only look at adoption if the mandate comes from higher-ups in the organization. It works the way we do it now, so why change? While this is understandable, it is not ideal. Better practices and methodologies continue to be introduced and are evolving along with the industry (Figure 1). One of these is IPC- 2581, now known as Digital Product Model Ex- change (DPMX). If you haven't heard of it be- fore, you're not exactly alone. The standard it- self was developed in the early 2000s but was not able to gain any ground at that time. Fast forward to 2011, which is when sever- al companies regrouped with the goal of re- invigorating the consortium. As a result of their efforts, it now is rapidly gaining atten- tion and support from ECAD vendors and con- tract manufacturers (CMs) alike. Jim Pierce, a manufacturing engineer at Axiom Electron- ics, is seeing the wave, "Industry demands re- quire innovation and automation to stay com- petitive. To meet those goals, we are striving towards paperless and more automated pro- cesses." Pierce adds, "Working with a single IPC-2581 file allows us to not only achieve our objectives but also ensures that the customers' needs are also met." IPC-2581/DPMX and Industry 4.0 An IPC-2581/DPMX proof of concept was executed under DMDII 15-05-06 (System De- sign Using the Digital Thread). DMDII (now MxD) was an institute created under the Na- tional Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). This started as an effort through a fund that was set aside to en- courage individual insti- tutes to invigorate and promote new manufac- turing initiatives in the United States. Each par- ticipating organization was tasked with raising money that would then be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $70 million in support of their efforts. Part of the criteria was that each institute must have an educational organization on board with the overall goal be- ing to close the gap between research and im- plementation. From a board design perspective, the idea was to develop a format that would contain all of the information required to manufac- ture and assemble a complete design without the need for any manual intervention (i.e., paperless and completely machine-driven). This resulted in a $2-million project call that was answered by both a large telecommuni- cations company and an equally large aero- space and defense company, which led to a detailed report focusing on PCB design digi- tal factories. Jamie Wise, vice president of WISE Soft- ware Solutions, has been a strong proponent from the beginning, "As one of the founding members of the IPC-2581 Consortium, we are pleased to witness the rapid adoption of the IPC-2581 specification as the format of choice for design, fabrication, and assembly." Wise continues, "IPC-2581 is the EDA transfer so- lution the industry has been waiting for. All of the essential EDA data is supported, includ- ing stackups, bills of materials (BOMs), fabri- cation notes, drawings, etc. It's great for going digital/paperless." The Benefits of IPC-2581 As mentioned earlier, the current formats re- quire many individual files (i.e., artwork, sol- der mask, solder paste, drill, pick-and-place, Figure 1: Digital data transfer offers benefits for every stakeholder in the manufacturing process.

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