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20 The PCB Design Magazine • March 2014 Would a book be convenient if the chapters weren't bound, scattered among different loca- tions, required translation, and handwritten? That's akin to what PCB manufacturers face ev- ery day when piecing together Gerber files, drill files, board drawings, notations, netlists, BOMs, and pick-and-place coordinate files, to interpret what designers expect them to build. That collection of files, none of which (except the Gerbers) share the same format, is almost always the way PCB designs are submitted for fabrication and assembly, except for a relatively few designs that are output in the ODB++ unified format. But salvation from the hodgepodge of design documentation is at hand, however, thanks to Revi- sion B of the IPC-2581 standard for formatting PCB CAD data, which was released in late 2013. In my November 2013 column, I wrote about how this standard con- solidates all the data for a design into a single file that manufacturers can easily read, check to verify that the design is ready to build, and then use to drive CAM tools. The imple- mentation of RevB by the CAD tool companies, DFM software vendors, and the CAM sector is underway. But there is far more in store for IPC-2581 to document designs as the standard evolves, as I learned from a recent conversation with Gary Carter. He is the senior manager of CAD engineering at Fujitsu Network Commu- nications, and a founding member of the IPC- 2581 Consortium. Carter first pointed to what the revised standard already enables. "With the PCB stackup section that's been incorporated in RevB, we've eliminated the need for a profile drawing entirely," Carter be- gan. I won't steal his thunder about that provision, other than to say it will facilitate interplay between a PCB designer and manufacturing resources at the outset of a proj- ect to nail down the by Amit Bahl sierrA CirCuiTs DESIGN FOR MANuFACTuRE Documenting Intent With IPC-2581 feature column

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