Outlining the Future

I will never forget so many weekends of my youth spent holding my eyelids open with my thumbs while my good friend Dieter Bergman lectured about the need for a new data transfer format. It made me the man I am today … tired, grumpy and frazzled …

An email yesterday from one of my old cohorts on those committees reminded of those happy times. Dino Ditta, whom many readers will remember as the founder of Router Solutions, has spent the past year working on a website designed to be an open community-based portal for creating, managing and sharing accurate 2D and 3D component package models.

“The goal,” he tells me, “is to have thousands of users generating the models using the templates we provide, and then let the global user community share the work product.”

The project is called WikiComponents.com. I checked it out and say it holds promise. Some of the more interesting features include a user rating system (users can give a thumbs up or down to a particular part outline, and — and this is key — all thumbs down must include a comment as to why the rating was given), and a built-in peer review will spur changes to poorly conceived ones.

Dino says he will work with IPC, Jedec and others on component outline and land pattern standards. Given the up-and-down history of the tool providers and standards organizations in keeping up with parts libraries, this is definitely worth a look.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

3 thoughts on “Outlining the Future

  1. A wonderful idea…
    Thanks for the info.

    Too bad our industry couldn’t have established some standards for the CAD systems along time ago….

  2. Will this take the place of PCBMatrix.com (now a part of Mentor)? Tom Hausherr offered a much better platform for this.

  3. WikiComponents is centered around the ability to capture, manage and distribute accurate models of the component packages. This is very different than PCBMatrix which focuses on the ability to generate land patterns. Since the PCBMatrix tools utilize component package data as the input to their land pattern generator, it would be possible (and may even make sense) for both tool sets to work together. Our perspective is that the component package models are pre-competitive in nature as they are a basic building block that anybody working in the electronics design or manufacturing arena must have access to in order perform their job properly. Therefore a Wiki approach seems to solve the needs of the community without putting the burden of this massive undertaking on any single company. Our goal is to have the most complete and accurate component package library and make it available to the masses for whatever task deemed appropriate, be it land pattern generation, DFM analysis, mechanical design or a host of other potential applications.

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