from my limited understanding of IPC-D-356 and how it is used at the
board shop level the issue is not quite as you state below. Using IPC-D-356
the board shop can check the original netlist (in IPC-D-356 format) against
the Gerber generation to determine the correctness of the Gerbers as well a
generating test programs from the netlist. If you send only Gerber they have
no check other then the netlist that is generated from their Gerber CAM
software. No cross-correlation from the original source database.
        The earlier comments about buggy software don't really come into the
picture because it is not intended to be buggy. If it is buggy then it 'has'
to be fixed or the software is not IPC-D-356 compatible. What states that
the netlist which Protel now generates is correct? We only know through
experimentation and use, what's the difference with any data output format?
        In short IPC-D-356 covers all board fabrication and test
intelligence held within the original database. Is that not better then
sending a bunch of line & circle drawings on their own with no other
correlating data? Testing at some shops is nothing more then taking a well
inspected board compared against a Gerber printout and setting it as a
"golden" sample, is that sufficient? What if the board had an unseen error?
Is that more or less valid then sending an IPC-D-356 format netlist?

        As for the original question about obtaining a IPC-D-356 netlist
format, I don't think anybody mentioned using 
ECAM from ACT. My understanding is that they 'may' have been the first to
support and generate IPC-D-356 format. Not cheap but my experience with them
is they are reputable and will correct bugs in a timely fashion. That was
before PADS bought them, who was bought by Innoveda, etc., etc..

Brad Velander,
Lead PCB Designer,
Norsat International Inc.,
#300 - 4401 Still Creek Dr.,
Burnaby, B.C., V5C 6G9.
Tel. (604) 292-9089 direct
Fax (604) 292-9010
website www.norsat.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Terry Harris [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2001 5:26 AM
> To: Protel EDA Forum
> Subject: Re: [PEDA] Export an IPC-D-356 format Netlist for PWB
> MFGcircuittesting
> It is a lot simpler to check a test netlist matches a design 
> database or
> another netlist  than it is to generate a good test netlist 
> in the first
> place. 
> That is why I suggest the board house ought to be doing the work from
> Gerbers with a tool they understand and matches their 
> plotting and testers.
> If you want to feed a netlist in what ever format to or from the board
> house for cross checking before PCBs are manufactured that is cool.
> Cheers, Terry.

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