Show & Tell: IPC APEX EXPO 2018 is on the Books!

Happy Holden | 05-08-2018

I am home from another IPC APEX EXPO. I have been going to these things for more than 38 years, and I learn something each year.

I spent most of Monday attending the Design Forum, which is a set of classes specifically targeted at PCB designers. Up first was Dana Korf, an old hand at tooling and front-end engineering. He presented “Printed Circuit Board Factory 4.0,” a comprehensive program he and others are undertaking to develop a completely digital fabrication data package in a single .XML file, as outlined in Figure 1. The unfortunate truth is that less than 10% of all new orders arrive at the PCB fabricator’s facility with complete, accurate design data; most have missing or incorrect data. Another big issue is that a lot of the preliminary or front-end information is in the form of drawings and specifications that require reading and interpreting, and sometimes even further investigation, as it is often conflicting data. Dana wants all this data to be digital to drive a modern Industry 4.0 factory.

Dana went over the progress since the 1970s culminating in the current IPC-2581 standard, and additional software added to cover what the OEM is sending and what the factory needs. 

The digital modernization covered information for the BOM (ECAD and MCAD), mechanical fabrication, stackup, material requirements, impedance requirements, plating and surface finish, artwork, drawings, notes and requirements for acceptability. This information can support the requirements of the enterprise business system PLM/ERP. 

To read the full version of this article which originally appeared in the Show & Tell Magazine, click here.