SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING NEWS
Herndon, VA — The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) today issued an industry-wide call for participation for a new project the organization is proposing to accelerate the convergence of competing approaches for CAD data exchange formats used by the electronics industry. Through this project, industry participants will leverage the strengths of existing standards (i.e., GenCAM, IPC-2578) and solutions (i.e., ODB++) to recommend a common course of action for future standards work through the well-established process of IPC.
Initial groundwork was laid last week at the APEX 2001 conference, where more than 30 industry leaders met to discuss the objectives and structure of the project. More than 20 companies and organizations, including 10 from the OEM and EMS customer base, participated in discussions. In addition, a number of survey questionnaires were received from individuals unable to attend the meeting.
“Last week’s discussions provided meaningful feedback and a number of suggestions to improve the value of the effort,” said Jim McElroy, executive director and CEO of NEMI. “Most importantly, however, was the strong input from the vast majority of those who attended the meeting, as well as those who provided email feedback to our questionnaire, that this project is very important to industry and that their companies would participate.”
“We want industry involvement in this important initiative,” continued McElroy. “Broad participation from industry, especially from the user community, will help ensure that the project meets its goals. Now is the time to stand up and be counted! We encourage organizations to actively participate in the project, and because it is a standards convergence project, it is open to any interested organization. Sign-up information will be posted on the NEMI website ( http://www.nemi.org ).”
NEMI’s convergence project will focus on solving a long-standing problem for the electronics industry — the exchange of complete, accurate and intelligent data between the people who design printed circuit boards (PCBs) and printed circuit assemblies (PCAs) and the people who manufacture them. Inefficient data exchanges based on methods more than 30 years old are estimated to cost the electronics industry hundreds of millions of dollars every year in scrapped product, delivery delays and unnecessary design revisions and manufacturing cycles.
The project’s objective is to lower the industry-wide cost of design exchange through the consolidation of existing CAD/CAM exchange formats and standards to promote the development of software solutions built on a single, consensus-based exchange format. The intention is to develop a technical recommendation for a CAD/CAM data exchange format that can be widely adopted in a timely manner. This single CAD/CAM data exchange format will combine the strengths that GenCAM, ODB++ and other related specifications have to offer. NEMI plans to increase industry support for this work further by submitting the recommended exchange format to RosettaNet for incorporation in future Partner Interface Process (PIP) specifications in their new Manufacturing segment (7A Design Transfer), which was created to contain this sort of exchange.
Project work will be divided between two groups: the technical team, which will develop a recommended XML-based format for the exchange of CAD/CAM information, and the convergence management team, which will be responsible for all the non-technical issues, including the scope, timeframe and overall goals of the project.
Professionals involved in any aspect of PCB/PCA design and manufacture are encouraged to go to http://www.nemi.org to complete the feedback questionnaire and to sign up for the project. Participation in the technical team is open to all with a vested interest in the outcome of this work. NEMI is also accepting nominations for participation on the convergence management team as well as leadership roles for both teams. Project work is scheduled to begin in late February.
The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative’s mission is to facilitate leadership of the North American electronics manufacturing supply chain. Based in Herndon, Va., the industry-led consortium is made up of more than 50 electronics equipment manufacturers, suppliers, industry associations and consortia, government agencies and universities.
NEMI roadmaps the needs of the North American electronics industry, identifies gaps in the technology infrastructure, establishes implementation projects to eliminate these gaps (both business and technical), and stimulates standards activities to speed the introduction of new technologies. The consortium also works with government, universities and other funding agencies to set priorities for future industry needs and R&D initiatives.
Web site: http://www.nemi.org