CircuitData Addresses Design to Manufacturer Communication

CircuitData is an open source solution by which the industry can come together to finally speak a common language for article specification. Version1 is now successfully launched.

“Over my 25 year tenure in the PCB manufacturing and EMS industries, communicating the clear intent of a design to manufacturers has gotten worse, not better, creating incredible frustration and inefficiency in a market that demands speed and reliability. CircuitData is an open source solution by which the industry can come together to finally speak a common language for article specification,” says Judy Warner Director of Marketing, Community Engagement at Altium.

An addition, not replacement
– This language works inside of ODB++ and IPC-2581 and does not replace them. It speaks through computers, not outdated, inefficient PDF files which contain wildly disparate terms that may mean the same thing–or not! CircuitData has opened the door for us to begin speaking the same language and finally communicate crystal clear manufacturing intent. All of this value at no cost, along with an invitation to collaborate industry-wide. CircuitData absolutely has my vote. Industry 4.0 here we come, says Warner.

Digging into the details
Where version 0.8 was essentially describing the summary of the PCB, version1 goes into details. It describes every layer and every process. CircuitData was launched last year and has over the months evolved as a complete language thanks to feedback from the PCB industry at

“Feedback, discussions, and questions are crucial for the further development of the language. How we describe layers are a good example of this. We started out with one description, discussed this, and decided that instead of using ‘layer’ on only the conductive layers in a stack up, we use it on pretty much everything. A peelable mask would be a layer, so would the legend and of course, the conductive layers,” says Senior Technical Advisor at Elmatica and Chairman of CircuitData, Jan Pedersen.

Important and helpful new additions
Other changes in the new version is a new section for processes that take the same approach as layers: Every process is described with its function. Profiles and Capabilities are totally rewritten. This makes it possible to create e.g. one profile that would be matched against all layers of a certain function.

“Another hot addition to CircuitData is the implementation of the new material database. Talking about this at IPC APEX Expo was a true eyeopener for several industry experts,” says Pedersen. offers a database, primarily designed for developers, that will hold material data relevant to printed circuits. The purpose of the database is to present data from different sources having one generic structure compatible with the CircuitData language.

“At the moment data is retrieved from one source, COMMODITY.LIVE, but the project is open to accept any number of sources. The CircuitData board will be the approval instance for any new sources, in addition to code and change requests,” says Pedersen.

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