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24 The PCB Design Magazine • September 2014 Intelligent, efficient PCB design data trans- fer to manufacturing has been a hot topic for the last three years. A small group of compa- nies created the IPC-2581 Consortium in mid- 2011. Since then, many companies joined the effort to get IPC-2581—an open, neutral, in- telligent format—adopted. It has been a won- derful journey that witnessed unprecedented collaboration amongst PCB design and supply chain companies, innovation with stack-up ex- change, and last but not least, steady progress toward adoption. This article provides an up- date on IPC-2581 Consortium activities that include collaboration, innovation and adop- tion status. The IPC-2581 Consortium for an open, neu- tral, global standard has been growing steadily and now has more than 60 corporate members and 48 associate members. Corporate members include PCB design and supply chain compa- nies from PCB ECAD companies such as Alti- um, Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graph- ics, Zuken, ADIVA, Downstream, and WISE Software, to name a few. Members also include companies that provide software to EMS, fabri- cation and contract manufacturers such as AE- GIS, Cimnet, Direct Logix, Easy Logix, Graphi- Code, and Polar Instruments. Other members are EMS providers, contract manufacturers, fab- rication companies, and IPC. Unprecedented Collaboration The IPC-2581 Consortium has achieved un- precedented collaboration between PCB design and supply chain companies. When the con- sortium was founded, there were several initial challenges. Through collaboration, the consor- tium has: • Developed software to export/import IPC-2581 data • Developed methods to test and validate data generated by software companies • Created an initial set of publicly available sample test cases • Conducted multiple three-way meetings between a design house, their ECAD supplier and their fabrication/ manufacturing suppliers • Identified areas in the 2581 specification that were ambiguous, design and implement changes to clarify the spec • Identified improvements needed to make the data hand-off even more efficient feature by Hemant Shah and Ed Acheson CADenCe DeSIGn SySTeMS IPC-2581 Adoption Update

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