Members of the IPC-2581 Consortium, the collective group of PCB design and supply chain companies devoted to enabling, facilitating, and driving the use of IPC-2581 in the industry, have fabricated the industry's first PCB by transferring the design data to manufacturing in the IPC-2581 format, while reducing overall fabrication time by 30%. This is another big step forward since the consortium validated the format earlier this year.
The bare board was fabricated with a PCB design from Fujitsu Network Communications. Fujitsu exported the fabrication data contained within a single-file of the IPC-2581 format from the Cadence Allegro PCB Editor. The assembly pallet was constructed and the IPC-2581 data augmented and validated using VisualCAM from WISE Software. Finally, the bare board was fabricated by CC Electronics in the UK. This 12- layer bare board is a typical optical plug-in module consisting of BGAs, QFPs and SFPs, components rotated at odd angles, a series of complex milled cutouts, the use of split planes, positive and negative plane layers, high speed nets with controlled impedance, differential pair, and matched length constraints.
"We received the entire PCB design in one single file from Fujitsu, and fabricated the board with the help of Photo Data who did the photoplotting for us," said Phil Wain, senior IT and front end engineer of CC Electronics, UK. "The whole process of managing this data on our side was very efficient; the time spent on this design was 30 percent less compared to similar designs using traditional, multiple file formats to describe the PCB design."
This industry's first PCB fabricated using IPC-2581 is a big milestone for the IPC-2581 Consortium, and also illustrates great advances for the whole PCB design and supply chain industry toward improving efficiency and reducing costs, as well as developing an independent, vendor-neutral and open standard.
"The process of working with WISE Software and CC Electronics was very smooth and efficient," said Gary Carter, senior manager, CAD Engineering Department at Fujitsu Network Communications. "With IPC-2581 data from the Cadence Allegro PCB Editor, there was no need for additional communications, iterations to explain, edit, and update the design data."
The IPC-2581 Consortium will show this PCB fabricated using IPC-2581 at PCB West in Santa Clara, California, on September 26 at the IPC-2581 Consortium booth #217. Additionally, at PCB West, consortium members will demonstrate how their design/DFM/CAM tools produce/consume IPC-2581 based design data at the IPC-2581 Consortium booth, as well as at their own booths.
Founded in August 2011, the membership of IPC-2581 Consortium has grown to 36 PCB design and supply chain companies. New members who joined the consortium in the past six months include Orbital Sciences Corporation, Polar Instruments, PTC, Qualcomm, PCB Libraries, Cimnet, Cisco, Velux, Sedona International, Photo Data, CC Electronics, and, more recently, QLogic. In addition to advocating IPC-2581 as an open, neutrally maintained global standard data transfer format though various communication channels, another goal of IPC-2581 Consortium is to establish confidence within the industry towards this new standard. A technical work group was created to validate that the IPC-2581 data is identical and complete for the fabrication, assembly, and test of printed circuit boards. An aggressive three-phase test plan has been made and the first stage of the plan has already been successfully completed.