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74 I-CONNECT007 I SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE 2018 by Happy Holden I am home from another IPC APEX EXPO. I have been going to these things for more than 38 years, and I learn something each year. I spent most of Monday attending the Design Forum, which is a set of classes specifically targeted at PCB designers. Up first was Dana Korf, an old hand at tooling and front-end engineering. He presented "Printed Circuit Board Factory 4.0," a comprehensive program he and others are undertaking to develop a completely digital fabrication data package in a single .XML file, as outlined in Figure 1. The unfortunate truth is that less than 10% of all new orders arrive at the PCB fabricator's facil- ity with complete, accurate design data; most have missing or incorrect data. Another big issue is that a lot of the preliminary or front- end information is in the form of drawings and specifications that require reading and inter- preting, and sometimes even further investiga- tion, as it is often conflicting data. Dana wants IPC APEX EXPO 2018 is on the Books! all of this data to be digital in order to drive a modern Industry 4.0 factory. Dana went over the progress since the 1970s culminating in the current IPC-2581 standard, and additional software added to cover what the OEM is sending and what the factory needs. The digital modernization covered information for the BOM (ECAD and MCAD), mechanical fabrication, stackup, material requirements, impedance requirements, plating and surface finish, artwork, drawings, notes and require- ments for acceptability. This information can support the requirements of the enterprise business system PLM/ERP. Dana concluded with an appeal to have IPC specifications and UL information created in electronic form instead of the current paper-only format. Then Jan Pedersen of Elmatica presented "CircuitData, an Open Source Language for Interchanging PCB Specification" CircuitData is an open standard that was created to help facilitate the use of data exchange formats, not replace them. This will be a language for OEMs

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