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Product Data Exchange (PDX) Standards

IPC Publishes Final Specifications for Three Product Data Exchange (PDX) Standards

Standards are Result of Collaborative Effort between Key Industry Players, NEMI, IPC and RosettaNet

Herndon, VA, USA. November 12, 2001.

The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) today announced that IPC has published final specifications for three Product Data eXchange (PDX) standards developed by NEMI's Virtual Factory Information Interchange Project (VFIIP). These specifications provide standard interfaces for exchanging data within the manufacturing supply web so that companies can increase efficiencies, shorten time to market and improve return on investment (ROI).

Barbara Goldstein, strategic advisor to the director of NIST's Electronics and Electrical Engineering Lab and a co-leader of NEMI's VFIIP, says that use of these new data exchange standards will translate into improved productivity and significant savings for OEMs and electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers.

"Today, EMS providers have teams of people whose full-time jobs are to interpret customer data. The larger the EMS provider and the more customers it serves, the more staff it must have to build and maintain hundreds of translation applications to import and export data between its systems and those of its customers and suppliers," said Goldstein. "With the standards-based interfaces that the PDX specifications enable, EMS providers can realize significant cost and time savings by not having to develop and maintain a separate proprietary system for each OEM. They can also free resources to focus on more value-added services. OEMs will benefit from faster turnaround times and lower costs. Another key benefit of these standards is that they allow the automation of some information exchange tasks previously done by hand and, therefore, help eliminate errors that can be costly and time-consuming."

IPC-2571 (Generic Requirements for Supply Chain Communication), IPC-2576 (Requirements for Supply Chain Communication of As-Built Product Data) and IPC-2578 (Requirements for Product Design Configuration) received ratification from IPC in August and were published November 9 (IPC-2571 and -2578) and today (IPC-2576). Combined, these three XML-based standards describe how PDX will work with other related standards and formats; they facilitate quote, manufacture, configure, test and kit interactions among supply chain partners; and they define how the build history of boards and final assembly are exchanged. These specifications will, for example, enable trading partners to automatically load bill of materials (BOM) information, update and track approvals of engineering change orders (ECOs) and encode approved vendors lists (AVLs) and approved manufacturers lists (AMLs).

Participants in the Virtual Factory Project include Agile Software Corporation, Celestica Inc., GenRad Inc., Georgia Institute of Technology, Ingenuus Corporation, Intel Corporation, IONA(R), Lucent Technologies, META Group, NIST, Nortel Networks, Peregrine Systems, PTC, SCI Systems Inc., Solectron Corporation, Universal Instruments and Valor Computerized Systems.

A Study in Collaboration

Jim McElroy, executive director and CEO of NEMI, said that, because so many companies were involved in development of these standards, IPC- 2571, -2576 and -2578 have already achieved broad industry acceptance and have been demonstrated in numerous prototype applications.

"These standards are the result of thousands of hours of work by a number of the industry's leading OEMs and EMS providers along with solution providers, government and academia," said McElroy. "Companies worked with their supply chain partners as well as their competitors to develop solutions that will benefit the electronics manufacturing supply chain by enabling agile, cost-effective data exchange among partners. This same cooperative spirit was mirrored by the close coordination among NEMI, IPC and RosettaNet to leverage efforts toward a common goal and to ensure consistency between resulting standards."

IPC created the 2570 series specifically for standards resulting from NEMI's Virtual Factory Project. RosettaNet, an industry consortium focused on development of open e-business process interfaces, worked with NEMI and IPC to integrate the PDX standards into its own Cluster 2 and Cluster 7 Partner Interface Processes (PIPs). These PIPs relate to distribution and update of production information and to the exchange of technical data for manufacturing.

The three organizations coordinated closely to ensure consistency of naming conventions and structure between the IPC standards and RosettaNet's dictionaries and specifications. Several Cluster 2 Product Information PIPs (2C1-2C6) have already been ratified. These interfaces enable distribution and periodic update of product and detailed design information, including product change notices and product technical specifications. Additional Cluster 2 PIPs have recently gone to RosettaNet members for vote (2C7-2C10).

Cluster 7 Manufacturing PIPs, which will allow the exchange of "as-built" factory floor information, collaborative design and quality information reporting, are currently in development.

McElroy praised VFIIP leaders Goldstein and John Cartwright of Intel for their management of the overall process. "These individuals demonstrated incredible leadership in bringing everyone to the table and keeping them focused on the arduous task of developing these standards," he said. "We appreciate their dedication and the significant contributions they have made to this effort and to the electronics manufacturing industry."

"These IPC standards, along with the RosettaNet PIPs, give industry the ability to exchange information through a single port of the exchange software rather than a different solution for each trading partner, and that's a huge win for electronics manufacturers," said Dieter Bergman, IPC director of technology transfer. "Thanks to the continued involvement of NEMI's members, coupled with participation by IPC committee members, we were able to fast-track development and approval of these standards, getting them into the marketplace quickly. IPC-2571, -2576 and -2578 are now published, pending ANSI approval, and we anticipate no problems in final ANSI review."

The IPC-2571, IPC-2576 and IPC-2578 specifications are available free of charge from IPC. Files can be downloaded from

First Product Announced

Agile Software, one of the first companies to join NEMI's Virtual Factory Project and a major contributor to the standards development effort, is the first solutions provider to release a commercial product that complies with the new PDX standards. It recently released Agile Anywhere 7.5, which fully supports IPC-2571, -2576 and -2578. This collaborative manufacturing solution is the first "PDX-enabled" software on the market.

"Standards can bring real cost reductions, and much better communication and collaboration to industry, but they do not do so until they are implemented in commercial business systems," said Bryan D. Stolle, chairman and CEO of Agile Software. "Because we have integrated these standards into our solutions, our more than 750 customers and their key partners can exchange information more efficiently, based on an open, published standard. The greater efficiency will help them reduce cost of goods and operational expenses, while getting products to volume production more quickly and taking greater advantage of compressed profit windows."

Further Work

Additional IPC and RosettaNet standards are currently in development. The fourth and final PDX standard, IPC-2577 (Supply Chain Communications of Manufacturing Quality Assessment), is currently a working draft and is in the IPC review process. This standard defines how product quality, quality manufacturing and quality repair information is exchanged among supply chain partners. It defines an XML encoding scheme that captures the setting and updating of quality goals, communicating and responding to quality excursions and reporting actual data from manufacturing and repair operations. Information represented in this standard includes such things as manufacturing site, manufacturing date, part number, serial number, manufacturing quality results and failure tracking data.

To complement this development, RosettaNet will harmonize IPC-2577 with the RosettaNet Business Dictionary (RNBD) by mapping Partner business scenarios to create corresponding 7C PIPs.

About RosettaNet

RosettaNet is an independent, non-profit consortium dedicated to the collaborative development and rapid deployment of open Internet-based business standards that align processes within the global high-technology trading network. More than 400 companies representing over $1 trillion in annual Information Technology, Electronic Components and Semiconductor Manufacturing revenues currently participate in RosettaNet's standards development, strategy and implementation activities. A complete list of partner companies and more information on RosettaNet can be found at

About NEMI

The National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative's mission is to facilitate leadership of the North American electronics manufacturing supply chain. Based in Herndon, Va., the industry-led consortium is made up of more than 60 electronics equipment manufacturers, suppliers, industry associations and consortia, government agencies and universities. NEMI roadmaps the needs of the North American electronics industry, identifies gaps in the technology infrastructure, establishes implementation projects to eliminate these gaps (both business and technical), and stimulates standards activities to speed the introduction of new technologies. The consortium also works with government, universities and other funding agencies to set priorities for future industry needs and R&D initiatives. For additional information, visit

About IPC

IPC- Association Connecting Electronics Industries is a US-based trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its nearly 2,700 member companies which represent all facets of the electronic interconnection industry, including design, printed wiring board manufacturing and electronics assembly. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of a $44 billion US industry employing more than 400,000 people. For further information, visit


National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative
Cynthia Williams
Tel: +1 (207) 871-1260

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See "Product Definition Exchange (PDX) Standards."

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