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July 2014 • The PCB Magazine 61 intelligent formats such as ODB++. Many have already taken the step with ODB++, attesting to the benefits of having a more streamlined design-to-manufacturing hand-off process. Over a million different PCB designs have been processed into manufacturing using the ODB++ format since its introduction. It works, and is widely implemented by some of the largest electronics OEMs in the world, as a standard part of their NPI business process. What limits the implementation of ODB++ more widely? Why do people still use all those fragmented narrow-scope data formats such as Gerber, Excellon, netlist, component-placement list, etc? I would suggest that the reason is not technological; it is a combination of business and human factors. Firstly, it costs money to change a business process; tools have to be upgraded. But in order to gain the time/cost/ quality advantages, an investment has to be made, and that is nothing out of the ordinary. Secondly, there is a perception that continuing to use the old method is not only free but also "safe," whereas to use the new method is expensive and "uncertain." The "safe" versus "uncertain" part is the human part. There is an jargon-acronym for it: FUD, which stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. The same was true when the Gerber format was introduced. Using it required a high level of investment, and it took time for the industry to see that the benefits outweighed the uncertainties even though the idea of it was obviously a good one 50 years ago. Hand-drawn artwork was still used for many years after, even though a better method (Gerber data) was available. It took time for the industry to make the change. But change is inevitable if businesses intend to advance given the complexities of today's systems designs. This is why I advocate ODB++ as the new data format standard. Julian Coates Director of Business Development Valor Division of Mentor Graphics Corporation JULIAN COATES' REBUTTAL continues IPC-7092: Embedded Standard Update by Real time with...IPC aPeX eXPo 2014 industry icon (and allegedly retired) Vern Solberg, from Solberg technical consulting, discusses recent updates to embedded components standards with guest editor dick crowe on the show floor at iPc aPex exPo 2014 in las Vegas. realtimewith.com CliCk To View VIDeo InteRVIew

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