ECAD MCAD Collaboration

connecting two worlds

prostep ivip ECAD/MCAD Collaboration

Advanced Collaboration

As form factors continue to shrink while at the same time ever increasing complex electronics are still expected to fit seamlessly, ECAD/MCAD Collaboration must be a natural part of your product design cycle.

One of the challenges of electromechanical co-design is how to keep the design synchronized when they usually reside in different engineering domains that are often dispersed geographically or in different physical locations. They use entirely different tool sets and use a vocabulary and language that is often alien to the designers and the opposite domain.

Many product designs are conceived in the MCAD domain and historically design reviews take place late in the overall design cycle, therefore causing maximum disruption and forcing non optimal trade-offs and effort to get to market on time. The prostep ECAD/MCAD Collaboration standard supports the instant communication of design intent and incremental changes.

It supports the continued real time synchronization of the ECAD and MCAD designs, lowers risk and improves schedule predictability and provides traceability and a history of all of the changes that took place.

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Take a look for yourself, the benefits of collaboration.

Better Collaboration
for everyone

Comparing IDX with IDF

The prostep ivip PSI ECAD/MCAD Collaboration format was developed to a modern standard and increases the level of interoperability between the ECAD and MCAD domains. The two older exchange formats DXF (Drawing Interchange Format) and IDF (Intermediate Data Format), which can only represent parts of the required data, are enhanced by the IDX (Interdomain Design Exchange) XML schema. Data objects that had previously been missing have been added, and objects for collaborative exchange have also been created. The advantages that this offers to all those involved are obvious: This IDX standard provides vendors with a reliable basis for exchanging data, and users profit from wider ranging system couplings with a higher level of transfer quality. Support is also provided for iterative changes.

Available now!

IDXv4.0 Available Now!

The aim of the ECAD/MCAD Collaboration IF is not only to develop a standard for the exchange of ECAD and MCAD data, but also to make it easy for vendors to implement the standard and support increasingly complex board designs. For this reason, in addition to adding new functionality to IDXv4.0 we’ve also significantly simplified the way items are described in the format. Information and examples of how to describe items using the new simplified IDXv4.0 format are available in the “Implementation Guidelines”. These Guidelines and the Recommendation documents are available to purchase from the prostep ivip Media Library.

The following changes were made in the XSD Model of IDXv4.0

  • EDMDBend Items now have bend sequence numbers to specify the order in which they are to be applied.
  • EDMDItem now supports the GeometryType attribute to enable faster processing and reduce file size.
  • “Pin One” support is added by adding the optional PackagePin to an EDMDItem.
  • User Areas can now be named with an attribute InstanceUserAreaLayerName.
  • Item Instances can be defined as offset from an existing surface in 3D by using the ne0wly added zOffset. This simplifies the definition of Items positioned on different Layers of the PCB.
  • Creation and Modify date / time are now defined in UTC to fulfill cross time-zone requirements. They are represented by the Items CreationDateTime and ModifiedDateTime

The changes made to the Implementation Guidelines of IDXv4.0 include

  • A summary of how to map IDF entity types to IDXv4.0 entity types using both the existing method used prior to IDXv4.0 and the and the new simplified method introduced in IDXv4.0.
  • The definition of “z=0” in relation to the board is explained to clarify how the z-positions of the board and components should be defined.
  • Information on how to use the optional zOffset attribute to locate components offset relative to a board or layer surface.
  • The use of the new optional UserProperty in Instances.
  • A description of how to use the “Pin One” definition to position components correctly.
  • Usage of UTC time definition to ensure interoperability between users in different time zones (introduced to avoid errors when changes are written in local time zones which could cause the order of changes to be interpreted incorrectly).
  • Documentation on how to use the new sequenceNumber to define the order of BendType.
  • Documentation on how to define items as “non-collaborative”. This is used to indicate items which are not intended to be changed by the receiving system (such as ECAD sending copper routing information to MCAD for example).

Comparing IDX vs. IDF:

Object IDX IDF
Incremental Changes
Accept / Reject Changes
Comments on Changes/File level
Change History Tracking
Board Outline
Stackup Structure
Multiple Stackups
Board Cut-outs
User Defined outlines/areas
Components (Loc, orientation)
Component Height (multiple shapes)
Holes (Circular)
Holes (non-Circular)
Route Keep-in/Keep-out
Place Keep-in/Keep-out
Place Room Region
Via Keep-out
Voids in Keep-outs
Traces and Pads on all layers (One Direction)
Copper Shapes (Bi-directional)
Vias (Through)
Vias (Blind/Buried)
Embedded Components
Pin 1 Location
Rigid/Flex Support
Bend Area/Bend Line
Object Ownership
Refdes resequencing support

From the 2D circuit board to the 3D mechanical product and back. Exchanging correct information is important here.

Who implements the standard?

Autodesk Logo
CADCAM Group Logo
Cadence Logo
Continental Logo
Dassault Systemes Logo
Mentor Graphics Logo
PTC Logo
Siemens Logo

In this Project Group prostep ivip is working together with different partners from the industries:

Company Software Software Version Version of Standard Additional Information
CADCAM Group CATIA V5 V5 R19-28 2.0/3.0 (3.5) Video
CADCAM Group 3DEXPERIENCE 2017x 2.0/3.0 (3.5) Video
Cadence Design Systems Allegro/OrCAD 16.3, 16.6 2.0 Video
Cadence Design Systems Allegro/OrCAD 17.2 2.0/3.0 (3.5) Video
Continental Automotive ExOPaMo 1.1.3 2.0/3.0 (3.5) Publication
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Professional 2015 2.0 Video
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Professional 2016-2017 2.0/3.0 (3.5) Video
Mentor Xpedition/PADS EE7.9.0-EE7.9.5 2.0 Video
Mentor Xpedition/PADS VX.0-VX.2.4 2.0/3.0 (3.5) Video
Siemens PLM NX/PCB Exchange 8.5 2.0/3.0 (3.5) Video

What our implementers say:

How to get involved

prostep ivip logo Enjoying the benefits of ECAD/MCAD is fairly simple. First of all, you and your company need to become a member of the prostep ivip association, here. If you like, you can also participate in the first meeting as a guest without a membership, so you can casually evaluate, whether ECAD/MCAD solutions fit your needs. After becoming a member, you can fully get involved and benefit from every aspect of the ECAD/MCAD project.
For more information on the prostep ivip association membership, you can click here. If you have questions of any kind, feel free to contact us via the form down below.