Greetings all,

I may have missed some of this thread, but I wished to jump in to agree that 
the proprietary interests of the software companies is a major setback to 
progress on a good replacement for gerber format data.

I know several "CAM" operators that love odb++ and the Valor "Genesis" 
package but they work in baord houses that have BIG customers (like 
Motorola) that always give them the data in the same format, same layer 
naming conventions, same polygon pour structures,... and exacting design 
rule checks already done before it ever goes out to them so the programs 
automatic features always work well and they bought the Plotting, electrical 
testing and automated Optical inspection equipment from the same supplier as 
a complete package. Most shops don't have that luxury.

I worked in manufacturing for 20+ years before getting into design 10 years 
ago, and I still get my hand in manufacturing a bit. I've used the 
Genesis/odb++ system and ONCE it is set up and scripted it works well until 
one needs to make simple edits or work with old legacy data and then it's a 
show stopper!

The scripting process was tedious & painful and never was completely 
successful in this application since it had to meet requirements for at 
least 15 different customers at a time. It generally costs a board house 
over ~100K per seat (yes $100K and ~35k for additional basic editor seats) 
with licences that time out and disable the package unti renewed (that was 
bad when it timed out a month too soon) and the tech support people tend to 
misunderstand requests and do not seem to understand the need for 
flexibility. to edit a file that needs minimal cleanup, but just a couple 
minor edits to a file & get clean data to the older Gerber/Barco 
photoplotter and AOI machines was almost impossible (I speak from personal 
experiance as of last August)

This often added great delays to quick turn projects that with an old gerber 
editor like Lavenir took just a few minutes to do. Genesis has some very 
good features and some of the plug-in filters for automatically cleaning up 
bad data. These are pricey also and seldom needed since most layout packages 
these days produce pretty clean data when driven by an experienced hand.

So until the proprietary issues can be set aside and a simple truly 
compatible data format is established a good board house will have to have 
many seats of software and well trained techs to handle ODB++ AND GEN-CAM 
data AND a solid basic gerber editor like Lavenir, Gerbtool or Cam-Cad Thus 
driving their tooling prices up.

Although the gerber editors are getting better with new input filters for 
the new formats they are not quite there yet. It's like DXF input filters - 
nobody ever did seem to get it exactly right. Even AutoCAD had trouble 
reading dxf's it could generate for many years.

The old gerber format will be with us a long time because the old basic 
structure is still there underneath all the newer stuff and there are a lot 
of shops that will be keeping it regardless of all the new "leading edge" 
stuff that comes and goes.

Best regards to All
Evan Scarborough

>From: "Steve Smith" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>Reply-To: "Protel EDA Forum" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>To: "'Protel EDA Forum'" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>Subject: Re: [PEDA] file formats for PCB manufacturers
>Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 15:12:22 -0400
>That pretty much the same thing he said 8 years
>ago.  I've had some board houses tell me that they
>love Valor's ODB++ and they are pushing the format
>as the new standard.
>A improved standard to replace Gerber would be great
>but you need the various vendors to drop their
>self-interest in their own formats and that's not going
>to happen any time soon.
>Steve Smith
>Product Engineer
>Staco Energy Products Co.
>Web Site:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Jeff Adolphs [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> > Sent: Thursday, July 19, 2001 2:00 PM
> > To: Protel EDA Forum
> > Subject: Re: [PEDA] file formats for PCB manufacturers
> >
> >
> > It was Dieter Bergman I was talking about at a IPC Workshop
> > April 2001.
> > He also said (I'm paraphrasing) All of the PCB Designers need
> > to apply
> > pressure on the PCB Manufacturers to start accepting GenCAM
> > which is far
> > superior and will give us much better PCBs. Garbage in - garbage out.
> > Quality in - quality out. Gerber simply does not supply enough data
> > and can be misinterpreted in many ways.
> >
> > Dieter was very interesting and I did learn some things.
> >
> > I looking forward to the next workshop I can attend. Probably
> > around 2011!!
> >
> > Jeff Adolphs
> > Lake Shore Cryotronics, Inc.
> > Westerville, Ohio, USA
> >

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