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DECEMBER 2020 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 69 ing XML with tags. By using XML with tags for DFX, any tool vendor can document DFX is- sues and any other vendor can read the issues automatically by creating tools that look for and process the data associated with the tags. The DFX part of IPC-2581 Rev C is very ro- bust and allows for any kind of DFX issues re- lated to components, board fabrication, board assembly, PCB stackup, PCA testing, and data quality. The standard allows for inclusion of pictures, binary images, and external referenc- es, as well as references to internal data. Looking at the Benefits With IPC-2581 Rev C, OEMs and vendors can now use the same open and intelligent data format to exchange complete DFX informa- tion to report build and assembly issues, ask for waivers, and get approvals or rejections for waivers. Due to the standard being open to ev- eryone, the format of the DFX data allows all tool vendors to have a common format for ex- changing all this data. Now that IPC-2581 Rev C enables automat- ed tools to manage DFX data, there are new opportunities for the PCB software industry to flourish with new and innovative DFX soft- ware. Such software could be used to auto- matically collect the incoming DFX data into a database and distribute tasks to certain job functions. Tools such as this could speed up responses to DFX issues which in turn allow the PCBs and PCAs to be built with minimal delay. Summary The IPC-2581 consortium members and the IPC 2-16 committee members spent a lot of time and discussions adding a more compre- hensive set of DFX capabilities in the IPC- 2581 Rev C standard. The end product is a robust format that allows the PCB and PCA industry to report all DFX issues using auto- mated tools that will benefit both OEMs and vendors. Software vendors can finally create new and innovative tools to obsolete the de- cades-old process of attaching spreadsheets to emails to report DFX issues and get waiver approvals. PCB007 IPC-2581 is a standard by the industry for the industry. To learn more about IPC-2581 revision C, follow the IPC- 2581 Consortium page on LinkedIn. To get regular updates, join the IPC-2581 Consortium mailing list at www.ipc2581. com. You can join the IPC-2581 Consortium to influence the future direction of this standard. Terry Hoffman is a technical leader in electrical engineering at Cisco Systems. Figure 2: IPC-2581 Rev C Solution improves the DFX processing and communication by creating an open standardized format using XML with tags.

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