Jan Pedersen: CircuitData Enhances Current Data Formats

Reading time ( words)

Shaughnessy: So, when someone is sending 2581, Gerber, or ODB++ files to the CAM guy, are your files a part of that? How does it work?

Pedersen: It's additional to the Gerber. The Gerber is fabrication data. That's how you make the board. That's the image of the board, more or less.

Holden: The output of a CAD system, or even IPC-2581, is still not sufficient to build a board. There are all of these specifications, notes, drawing—all kinds of additional paperwork, files, etc. And then you try to incorporate that data into a tooling scheme so they output it for a digitally-run factory. But until it's all data in the computer, you cannot output it.

Pedersen: You always have notes that you want to incorporate. There are notes and drawings, corporate requirements that come in as a note.

Holden: The worst part is the revision files. The OEMs, if the product is out there and it's on model D, model E, and model F, and a part becomes obsolete or bad quality and they replace it with this other part, they change the land pattern, but everything else is the same and eventually it'll reach obsolescence. And even in obsolescence the OEM has to manage that. They're shooting out files to fabricators and to assemblers but they’ve still got this genealogy of this product until it's totally dead. And some of these products have to live 20−30 years, by law.

Pedersen: Let’s say you design a board and you want gold. You call it "flash gold." I don't know that is in America but in China that's electrolytic gold. It's used as an etching resist. Some people use the word "flash gold," but they mean ENIG.

Holden: That's not what flash gold means [laughter].

Pedersen: But they're using different languages, and different words. That's a good example. If you're following one language, everybody understands what you want. And that language is digital, so when you read the file you can have it pre-translated to simplified Chinese.

Holden: It's never easy to translate into Chinese [laughter].

Pedersen: But it reads in as “green oil,” you know what I mean? Because in Chinese, they call solder mask green oil.

Holden: It has to be a data dictionary. So that they can take this data and the two characters for it may be green oil.

Pedersen: We are using T-50, I think it's called, the IPC standard terms, as far as it's defined. If there are new words, then we need to develop that.

Holden: We have 12 different Chinese sets of characters for mouse bites [laughter]. Because it's the rodent that runs in the forest eating on the bamboo tree, that's what the characters actually mean for mouse bites. Because in the English, German, or Russian, you can translate mouse bites into those languages. In Chinese, you have to use specific characters and you can't invent a new character like you can in any other language.

Pedersen: So we're trying to simplify the understanding and the communication of the article specification.

Shaughnessy: So what's been the response of the fabricators to CircuitData?

Pedersen: It's very good. Those that we have been talking with have said "Yes, we need it." We get a million different kinds of documents in, and if we can do everything digitally, like you say, then they are very happy with it. As I said, I support 2581, and I'm part of the consortium, but we only receive a handful every year.

Holden: What you need are some leaders like Ericsson or Nokia.

Pedersen: We have former Ericsson with us today, and this system would be beautiful for those kinds of companies. If they can implement this, they can communicate internally, accurately and everybody knows what you mean.

Shaughnessy: If people want to get involved, where can people go to find out more?

Pedersen: You go to www.circuitdata.org. Everybody can join. And we are also searching for people for the CircuitData board.

Shaughnessy: And it's an open source, so they can help create it?

Pedersen: Absolutely. It's completely open-sourced. It's free of charge. And to program this into your own ERP system, it should take between two and five days. That's affordable. At Elmatica, we say that we are successful if we have one customer and one supplier with us. We have already gained a lot. That is how much you actually win by using it.

Shaughnessy: Anything else you want to add?

Pedersen: The one thing I maybe would want to add is regarding the laminate database that we have launched. I think this is the first digital database that allows you to search for the laminate you want. You can search either by parameter, like DK, or whatever you want…CTI, volume, etc.

Holden: Can you send us a copy of that?

Pedersen: Sure, of course.

Holden: One of the things you need, if that's really an extensive database, is an output format for the stack-up software in Polar Instruments.

Pedersen: Yes, we will use it in the stack-up in CircuitData.

Holden: Because Polar needs the material characteristics. They have their own schema, but if you could translate from your database to their database, then Polar can import that.

Pedersen: I'm sure we can talk with Polar about that. And that's the first thing we'll do is talk with people like Polar.

Shaughnessy: I appreciate your time, Jan.

Pedersen: Thank you both.

Holden: Thank you.




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