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Importing Circuit Card Assemblies using IDF Data


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Is there anyone out there who has succeeded in doing this? If so, is there a way to keep file sizes reasonable considering circuit cards with hundreds (if not thousands) of components? The circuit card design program generating the IDF data is PADS.


hi tuna lover

sorry to say it can be a slow and painful process

the IDF file will create surface data/protrusion for all components based on the PCB design BOM

I usually import the data, turn it into a solid part then export as iges or step to try and reduce file size before placing in the assembly.

This reduces processing time, and allow for quicker clash detect analysis.

Furthermore the data that is exported from the PCB program is based on MAX envelope sizes for each component. Sometimes it is worth modelling critically placed or larger components to allow more/less space within the package design.

This is not ideal as every time the PCB up revs then you have to replace in teh assembly, so its not parametric.

Therefore you cant really attacehd copy geoms/publish geoms to the PCB data.

Like I say it can be a frustrating process depending on the amount of iterations you have to go through.

But to ensure the design works it sure beats the hell out of giving 2d sections to the PCB department to work to......
Our PCB folks don't wrtie out IDF format but ECAM has the option of converting Gerber format to DXF which I've used successfully. Of course there's no component information, just PCB layout. I only bother to import the two outer layers and the drill file info. Like Bobson said it's not parametric so once you take your first cut at it you don't want to go replace the entire assembly for every rev change. Dicing up the DXF data into a number of different sketches helps with both the import process and management of revisions.

Thanks guys!

I appreciate your valuable inputs. I'll try these things and get back if I come up with any problems.

Wanted to share this with everyone...

View attachment 346

I've been having excellent success importing IDF 3.0 *.emn and *.emp files using the Pro/ENGINEER Link option in PowerPCB 5.0.1 by Mentor Graphics into Pro/E 2001, build 2003400.

I had to add a CSYS to each of our PCB component Pro part models in order to have them locate and orient correctly in the assembly but that's been it in terms of part model modifications.

I've also created an file from the ecad_hint.add file and have successfully modified it to automatically go into Commonspace and checkout the correct PCB component model specified as well as to have it ignore many of the very small surface mount components.

I'm even able to view this assmebly model in ProductView.

I still have a ways to go with establishing Best Practices, library creation, etc. but so far, things are working very well.

Thanks to everyone on this board and the PTC/USER exploder that supplied me with answers to my questions - I wouldn't have made it this far without your help!



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