Northbrook, Ill.--March 24, 1998--At the IPC board of directors meeting on March 9th, the board voted to take a strong position in encouraging industry adoption of the new IPC GenCAM standard for transferring design requirements and manufacturing expectations from computer-aided design systems to computer-aided manufacturing systems for printed board fabrication, assembly, and test.
GenCAM is an IPC data transfer standard being documented in a series of standards identified as IPC-2510. This series consists of a generic GenCAM description standard (IPC-2511), plus seven "significant" sectional standards (IPC-2512 through IPC-2518). Harry Parkinson of Digital Equipment Corp. and chairman of the IPC Data Transfer Solution (DTS) Committee first described the "significant seven" data sets needed by the electronics interconnection industry. His committee has worked for the past two years to finalize the syntax and semantics of GenCAM.
A number of software developers for CAD and CAM systems are actively working with IPC and the Data Transfer Solution Committee to finalize the standard, demonstrate proof of concept, and develop commercially available GenCAM inputs and outputs. Among those companies who have made a commitment to provide a GenCAM input or output areGenrad, Inc., IGI, OrCAD, Ohio Design Automation, Advanced CAM Technologies, Graphicode, Myrus Design, Inc., Wise Software Solutions, Router Solutions, Inc., and Electronic Tools Co.
Many other software companies who have participated in the development of the GenCAM standard are expected to announce their commitment to GenCAM to improve the way data is transferred from design to manufacturing.
The IPC-2510 GenCAM Standard is nearly complete and is expected to be published by July 1998. With a number of companies already developing GenCAM-compliant CAD outputs and CAM inputs, this new standard is gaining significant momentum.Adding to this momentum is the work of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), which is developing a compliance test module to verify the syntax and semantic content of the GenCAM file. This compliance test module (CTM) will be used by software tool developers to insure they are developing tools that meet the requirements of the standard and will be available to users to ensure files created or received by their systems are consistent and robust GenCAM files. NIST expects to be a test bed for mapping of other software to GenCAM, including the mapping of other software for taking archived legacy data and upgrading the files to the new GenCAM syntax and semantics.
As the IPC-2510 Standard nears completion for final balloting, the start of these implementation activities continues to provide clear definition of what should be restrictive in the GenCAM format and what should be allowed as a user discretion.
Demonstrations of the capability and robustness of the GenCAM format were held at the recent PCB Design Conference West and NEPCON West '98. There will be additional presentations made at the IPC Printed Circuits Expo in Long Beach, Calif., April 28-29, 1998.
People attending these demonstrations and software developers are providing significant input to the Data Transfer Solution Committee, which will analyze the lessons learned and implement the suggestions made prior to final balloting this spring.
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