ODB++ Overview

Intelligent data exchange between design and manufacturing

ODB++ is a major step beyond traditional data exchange between PCB design and the PCB manufacturing process. Significant improvements in product quality, PCB fabrication and assembly time, and time-to-market can be achieved using the intelligent data format of ODB++ as compared to commonly-used formats such as Gerber. ODB++ is a manufacturing oriented PCB product-model data format, containing all data necessary to fabricate, assemble, and test in a single file structure. Thousands of PCBs are engineered for manufacturing using ODB++ each year — more than any format but Gerber — making it the de facto standard for intelligent PCB data exchange. Frontline strongly recommends ODB++ data as the best practice method to introduce PCB designs into the fabrication process. Frontline’s leading position in PCB CAM and engineering solutions, coupled with the widespread use of ODB++ compatible CAD tools at the design level means customers can be confident that ODB++ will be supported and improved to meet emerging technological challenges as they arise.

Major Benefits

  • All design data for fabrication, assembly, and test in a single file.
  • Supports integrated DFM at all levels for faster New Product Introduction (NPI).
  • Minimizes supply-chain risks  related to data transfer errors.
  • Reduces communications delays between design and manufacturing.
  • Eliminates potential introduction of errors from the manufacturer “re-integrating” old-style data to a manufacturable PCB model.
  • Enables highest-possible levels of automation in PCB NPI from design through all phases of manufacturing.
  • ODB++ is supported by all major vendors of CAD, DFM and CAM tools.

Open, Controlled IP

The ODB++ format is an open, ASCII file structure that was conceived by Valor, now Mentor, more than 15 years ago and has been accepted and proven at thousands of companies worldwide. You have total control of what content, if any, to exclude from the data package at compile time. In addition, the ODB++ Solutions Alliance program openly supports inclusion of ODB++ and updates for other EDA tool vendors, and is open to the entire PCB industry.

Continuing Improvement to Meet PCB Needs

Since its conception in the mid-1990s, the format has been continuously improved to meet the evolving needs of PCB designers, fabricators, and assemblers. Among the latest enhancements currently being planned:

  • Enhanced definition of flex- and flex-rigid PCBs
  • New multilayer build-up definition
  • Wider range of PCB feature and component attributes
  • Full support for metric units
  • Support for unlimited component attributes in the BOM
  • Expanded range of standard graphical feature symbols
  • Definition of drill-span direction
  • Extended netlist names

Wide Adoption

All first-tier and the vast majority of second-tier manufacturing suppliers (fabrication and assembly) are ready to receive ODB++ into the CAM and pre-production engineering process. All the main suppliers of manufacturing CAD/CAM tools are ODB++ compatible.

Proven Results

All of your PCB design-customers have access to ODB++ viewing or checking tools to verify that the data is complete, optimized and contains all required data, not more, not less, before hand off to you for fabrication.  By partnering with your customers to switch to ODB++ you will share the benefits of time savings and reduction of quality risks. If you would like to know more about how to manage the process of changing over to ODB++ ask your support representative or the community at the ODB++ Solutions Alliance.

Zero Cost ODB++ output from CAD

Most CAD systems include an ODB++ output capability free of charge, so no investment is required from your customers. In addition, they can also expect to save time by reducing the range of files they have to produce at the back end of the design process.