Design007 Magazine

PCBD-Apr2014

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8 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2014 by Andy Shaughnessy i-COnneCT007 THE SHAuGHNESSy REPORT Out With the Old, In With the New? column I like to travel, even for work. I'm lucky that I don't have to do back-to-back turnarounds. But after a week in Las Vegas covering IPC APEX EXPO and the Design Forum, I was hap- pily flying back home on a half-full 757. When was the last time you had three seats to yourself? I counted back: 10 years ago, flying from Salt Lake City to Billings, Montana. The Mandalay Bay Convention Center is a good venue for APEX, but you wind up walking 20 miles each day. Somehow, you're always one mile from where you need to be in 10 minutes. The show kicked off with the Design Fo - rum on Monday, March 23, with design experts speaking throughout the day. Editor Kelly Dack and I shot a variety of video interviews with the movers and shakers in the design community. It's always nice to catch up with PCB design- ers and design engineers. And I had to marvel at how Anne Marie Mulvihill, IPC's manager of design programs, managed to herd all these cats again for another year. Speaking of IPC, I spoke with President John W. Mitchell and discovered that he lives near me in metro Atlanta, and he designed PCBs in the past. For years, PCB designers felt, often accu - rately, that IPC was giving the design communi- ty short shrift. But Mitchell sounded determined to change that. How many of you ever thought IPC would be led by a man who had PCB design experience? During APEX, we held a panel discussion on data transfer formats, with Altium's Ben Jordan moderating. Karel Tavernier of Ucamco, which owns Gerber, joined Mentor Graphics' Dave Wiens, who represented ODB++, and Hemant Shah of Cadence Design Systems, who is active in developing the IPC-2581 standard. Note: No one was injured during filming of this panel. The data seem to favor ODB++ and IPC- 2581, which were both developed precisely for transmitting PCB design data to manufacturers. Both are backed by technologists working to make these formats better. Both are clearly more efficient than Gerber, which was originally developed as a machine control language. Yet most designs are still out - put in Gerber. We can publish ar- ticle after article about the benefits of the newer formats, but design- ers still prefer Gerber. When I ask them why, they say that they're used to it, so what's the problem? Most designers have never used anything else. Will the designers of the future opt out of the tried-and- true Gerber? Gold Watch Time? So Rick Hartley is really retir - ing. From his "day job" at L-3, that is—not from PCB design instruc- tion.

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