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48 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 sentation going through that whole process, and then he said, "If you were to send me ODB, I wouldn't have had to do any of that." That statement applies to IPC-2581 now as well. All of these different files are disconnected, and by sending these intelligent formats, I don't have to do any of that. Almeida: It's a funky thing when you think about it. We take an intelligent design—a sin- gle entity—and split it into all these different files that have no relationship. Then, we ask a third party to read this drawing or these notes and put all that information back together again correctly to build the board where these ODB++ files and IPC-2581 files already do that for them. Otherwise, it's like taking a chicken, making chicken nuggets out of it, and then try- ing to make a chicken out of it again. Fugitt: With IPC-2581, one of the things that all the CAD systems do have is the ability to remove some of that intelligence and still send out a good portion of it, so if you do have secu- rity concerns, there are ways, especially with IPC-2581, to provide just what that part of the industry may need. A fabricator doesn't need to know what components are going on the board, right. Why send it to them and be wor- ried that they're going to steal your design? I don't think a lot of designers realize that. They think they have to dumb it down to Gerbers in order to ensure their security. Matties: The choice for the designers is do they want more control over the output or to relin- quish the control to the fabricator and let them interpret and then verify back? Almeida: I'm not sure they even look at it that way. I think it's more of this thinking that it had better come back correct. Matties: But on a scale, the risk is much higher when you go the route of not owning the notes yourself. Almeida: It does create more risk when you leave it up to somebody else to make those decisions. But most of the time, it's an accepted process that goes on, and it has happened for years and years. Now, individuals are assuming responsi- bility for processes that have even less under- standing of what occurs back there, so they're more reliant on the manufacturer to get it right. Matties: That goes back full circle to the idea that in collaborative manufacturing, early com- munication is more necessary than ever. Almeida: Exactly. We wanted to build as much manufacturing knowledge into the tools as we can so that these engineers can at least have more guidance going through the process. We can attribute layers in groups so that all of the copper layers appear as copper, all the dielectric looks like dielectric, masks look like masks, and so forth. The other piece we do as well is that with design analysis, we're able to allow board engineers to pick their fabricators and outline or profile all of their specifications and requirements. Matties: You must have that fabricator data available, and my understanding is not all of that is always available. Almeida: Not all of it, but you usually can get it. A lot of your prototype shops typically provide all their specs online. With your bigger produc- tion houses, you typically can call them, and they'll tell you. They want to work with you ahead of time. They don't want to have these delays. The delays cost them money as well because they have to start and stop jobs mid- process. They're more than willing to share those specifications with you. It's just a ques- tion of making sure that the communication happens. And that's where the onus falls on the OEM to change their processes to `resolve that delay. It's unnecessarily lost time to mar- ket, especially now when you have products that have short product life cycles of 12 months or less. Every week counts. Matties: My understanding is that some fabri- cators offer incentives and price discounts for complete and accurate data packages.

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