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Design007-Nov2021

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NOVEMBER 2021 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 47 during the PCB design cycle. e best solu- tion is to incorporate proper management processes to keep all the design data in check; we'll look more into how to do that next. Data Management e first step of good data management is to decide who owns what. is pivotal point can actually end up becoming a sticking point for some design groups, as data ownership gets swatted back and forth between personnel like a shuttlecock in a badminton game. e important thing to remember here is that it isn't nearly as important who owns the data as it is that the data is actually owned by someone. In other words, if the design group is going to own its own data, that's fine. If, on the other hand the company's IT department is going to own the data instead, that's fine too. As long as someone has the responsibility for ensur- ing that the design data is available, secure, and part of the regular workflow of the design group, the actual ownership isn't as important. So don't let the little detail of ownership derail anyone from setting up proper data manage- ment processes. Speaking of those processes, it is essential to have good data management processes in place. ese processes need to clearly outline who is responsible for data ownership, as well as what each individual user's data responsi- bilities are. Additionally, file security protocols should be in place, and the processes should specify generation and storage procedures for users to prevent data losses or corruption. e processes should also outline what data should be generated for specific vendors, and what the standard manufacturing file sets should con- tain. ese data management processes should also detail the company's archival and vault procedures, and where to go with additional questions. Another important part of effective data management is to ensure that the right data is being created and collected in the first place. As we mentioned earlier, a lot of data can be generated by the PCB design process, and you don't want to get swamped by every single sub- library or system file in your design directory. On the other hand, you don't want to casually delete a seemly innocuous file that actually con- tains some key traceability data in it either. So how can this dilemma be managed efficiently? While it may seem like data hoarding is the right way to go, we also know that it can cre- ate its own mess of problems. ankfully there appears to be an answer to CAD file organiza- tion in some new design data automation tools. Many design teams are turning to database solutions for file generation such as the IPC- 2581 file format generators. CAD systems using this format will automatically add the necessary fabrication and assembly files into an IPC-2581 formatted database, making out- put file generation for your manufacturers quick and simple. As Patrick Davis, a prod- uct management director for Cadence Design Systems, said in the September 2021 issue of Design007 Magazine, "I don't need dumb data. I need something that allows us to actually communicate back and forth efficiently." With tools like IPC-2581, you can be sure that all the data that is needed for manufacturing is included in one easy-to-access database. Whether you use design automation like IPC-2581, or you come up with your own data management processes and procedures, the important thing is to keep at it and not be overwhelmed by design data. With the proper data management and a clear delinea- tion of who is responsible for what, you can keep the piles of data under control. Until next time, friends, keep your file systems neat, clean, and organized; and of course, keep on designing. DESIGN007 Tim Haag writes technical, thought-leadership content for First Page Sage on his longtime career as a PCB designer and EDA technologist. To read past columns or contact Haag, click here.

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