How to use the Circuit Data Project

If you work with Printed Circuit Boards, in any part of the supply chain, you already know that transmitting the data needed to actually fabricate the boards are a pain in the neck. In Elmatica, where I work, we have been doing this for 45 years, and even though we try to create less of a burden for our suppliers and customers, we know that the files we send has to be reinterpreted into other systems in a manual manner. This language is about changing that. To begin with it aims to be a supplement to the files that are currently sent, such as gerbers, odb++ and IPC-2581, so that all aspects of the manufacturing not provided is answered. As the standard evolves, we want it to replace the need for transmitting the files throughout the supply chain. This can be done by providing the different parties with only the information they need, and leave the exchanging of files to the first and last part of a set supply chain - the OEM and the manufacturer.

To use the format, you start out by reading the documentation. Then you prepare your internal systems to be able to both send and receive this kind of information. Over time, we believe that there will be several systems available that will help you utilise the format and we are currently working on two:

  • Commodity.live - a platform for the exchange of product data
  • A PCB specification tool that will help you specify a PCB through a graphical interface. The system will then generate a file for download or upload directly to commodity.live.

Another way to use the language is to specify profiles. Profiles are meant to replace the current way of exchanging PDFs with "requirements". The current method involves writing down in you own words the defaults, "do's" and "dont's" that every part of the supply chain needs to know. With this format, you can set your requirements in a machine readable format that ensures compliance.

The third way of using this is to specify a capability. This allows you to send out a set of manufacturing capabilities to your clients. The goal is to minimise the number of RFQs that are sent out to non-capable suppliers, to benefit both the suppliers and the clients.

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