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40 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 Feature Article by Hemant Shah and Patrick Davis CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS Introduction PCB design and manufacture has become exponentially more complex as modern elec- tronics providers strive to meet consumer demand for greater connectivity and perfor- mance. In the current process, two major pain points need to be overcome to achieve an effi- cient design and manufacturing process that results in first-time-right products that go to market quickly. e first pain point is time to manufacture— the flow from end of design to start of manu- facturing is dependent on multiple commu- nications and shared files between the design house and the manufacturing partner. e industry-standard Gerber file format-based package contains a set of files with data in dif- ferent formats, along with documentation/ notes/instructions, forcing the manufacturer to go back and forth with the design house customer to ensure that their interpretation is correct. An additional problem is that the data in Gerber files doesn't match what is in the netlist or in the instructions, leaving the man- ufacturer to determine which one is correct. is back and forth is done in written form so that the manufacturer can document what the overriding instructions are. e second pain point is the design for man- ufacturing (DFM) analysis that all manufactur- ers run on the data to see if the design violates any of their manufacturing rules/guidelines. ey can bend the rules to some extent in some instances, but if there are many violations, the customer must be told that either the design cannot be manufactured, or if manufactured, the yield will not be high, and therefore the cost to the customer will be high. e feedback from DFM analysis tools from the manufacturer is in electronic paper, such as Excel spreadsheets, HTML code, PowerPoint slides, Word docu- ments, and email. is electronic paper is then read and interpreted by the design engineer/ PCB designer and correlated into elements in the design. e DFM feedback and this sec- ond round of back-and-forth communication IPC-2581: An Open, Neutral, Efficient Data Transfer Format

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