REDMOND, WA -- Z-zero has teamed with Mentor to add bidirectional data exchange capabilities to its printed circuit board stackup software.

The development is said to bridge the gap between designers and fabricators for the exchange of material-based stackups.

Stackup data captured in Z-zero's software are moved from OEM to the fabrication, assembly and test phases and back again based on Siemens’ ODB++Design open data structure.

The goal, Z-Zero said in a press release, is to provide the accurate PCB material parameters crucial during the design, signal-integrity simulation, and new-product introduction (NPI) process.

"Z-planner Enterprise software combined with ODB++Design is a product-ready 'shift-left' solution that helps design teams speed time to market by tasking the stackup format to collect all proposed stackup solutions into the originating ODB++Design product model," the firms said in a joint press release. "This solution enables users to more quickly and efficiently compare alternative stackup proposals, ensuring that each fabricator proposal satisfies design requirements. The development provides a path for OEM design teams to move stackup design-level details to fabricators, and the fabricator stackup proposals back to the OEM via a consistent format and process."

Z-zero is a software startup founded in 2018 by Bill Hargin, who writes the Material Matters column for PCD&F.

ODB++Design is among the industry's most common data exchange formats, with a reported 63,000 users worldwide.

"The ODB++Design product model for PCB stackup design is the most comprehensive approach to stackup communication, generation and validation that I’ve seen,” said Bill Hargin, president and founder of Z-zero. “The new stackup container available in Siemens ODB++Design, combined with Z-planner Enterprise software, provides the ability to support several stackup proposals from multiple suppliers for review, selection and comparison.”

Max Clark, business unit manager of Valor NPI and Valor Parts Library (VPL) for Mentor, added that the combination of the Z-zero tool and the Mentor platform “lends itself to future enhancements, including the potential of comprehensive digital twins of all PCB fabrication materials and processes. By merging the virtual and physical worlds, Siemens’ digital twins for PCB manufacturing enable customers to design and test new products in digital form before moving forward with manufacturing, and in the process fixing problems much earlier in the development cycle.”

PCB West Virtual 2020 has more than 125 hours’ worth of technical sessions on printed circuit design and manufacturing available through Oct. 12.

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