Last year was a watershed year for the IPC-2581 standard. A broad cross-section of printed circuit board software suppliers, OEMs, equipment suppliers, manufacturers, and service suppliers, having implemented IPC-2581 both in trial and in production use, provided significant positive feedback to the IPC 2-16 committee regarding their experiences utilizing the standard to produce PCB products.
Working closely with the IPC-2581 Consortium's Technical Committee, many of these adopters proposed feature enhancements leading to IPC-2581B Amendment 1, published in January of this year. This release supports the most comprehensive set of industry requirements for printed circuit board fabrication, assembly, and test in a data-centric, open, license-free, industry driven standard format. On behalf of the IPC 2-1-6 Committee, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all who participated in this effort.
That stated, we recognize there is still more work to be done. Moving forward, the 2-16 technical committee is actively soliciting input from industry for the next major revision of the IPC-2581 standard. Regardless of your present IPC-2581 adoption status, we want to hear from each of vou. The objective of this next round of enhancements is to eliminate risk and inefficiency in your day-to-day operations, and streamline your production processes. To accomplish this objective, we need to understand where each of you experiences "bottlenecks" requiring inordinate amounts of time and effort to be expended to collate, review, and interpret your customer's drawings, documents, and data. This may include activities necessary to transform, translate, and re-enter the information, and/or where you encounter the need to pause design or manufacturing operations to solicit additional information from the customer/supplier to insure their requirements/information are adequately understood and verified. The intent is for IPC-2581 files to be complete and consistent in the initial delivery, and that its content be structured in a machine-readable form to enable automated design and manufacturing operations from producer to consumer throughout the product life cycle. This, once achieved, eliminates manual, labor-intensive and error-prone human interactions wherever they exist.
Industry-proposed enhancements are already being captured by the technical committee. Examples include:
- Support for bareboard stack-up structures including multiple zones for flex and rigid-flex
- Enhanced ability to communicate comprehensive requirements for impedance-controlled elements
- Representation for fabrication and assembly including embedded component technologies
- Support for multi-level bond pads and wire-bond constructs
- Enhanced support for complex drilled and milled features
- Enhanced support for complex via structures
- 3D model support for conveying complex assembly details
- Enhanced DFx collaboration
- Embedded schemas, external links, and other methods of defining comprehensive requirements for a product
- Support of variant bills of materials
- Enhanced support for polarized parts
Please take a moment to consider this solicitation for input. lf you are the correct point of contact in your organization, I would respectfully request a response regarding your interest in participating in the requirements definition process. lf there are other subject-matter experts within your organization better suited to discuss these specific (or any other) requirements, please forward this request to them and, if deemed appropriate, pass their contact information to me to plan follow-up with them directly.
Gary J. Carter
IPC 2-16 Committee Co-Chair