17 January 2013

EDX: Ensure Safe, Secure Data Sharing Across the Enteprise

New data format enables data exchange between PCB design tools and PLM, ERP, & EIM systems


What is EDX?


EDX is a robust standard format for the exchange of library, component and design data between the design authoring systems and ANY consumer of the data. The EDX format is a neutral format that is independent of the internal tool database structures and will ensure stability as the PCB design applications and flow continue to evolve. EDX will accommodate both file transfer and/or web service based integrations.


EDX is an XML in zip format based on existing IPC and OPC standards, yet refined specifically for PCB data management applications and processes.

An EDX package has a standard definition for Design, Partlist, Library, Component, and Work Instruction data. The Work Instructions specifically add support for Engineering Change Orders, New Part Introductions, and Part Change Requests. The EDX package definition is also flexible enough to incorporate additional files which commonly are used to support the PCB design process – this might include firmware files, test plans, design specifications, or Specification Control Drawings.


The EDX package includes a manifest which defines each of the data objects included within the package.  Each individual data object may also have its own child manifest which defines each of the individual files included within it.


In addition, the EDX package has a security element captured within each manifest to protect the data set within each object.  The tool author has the ability to encrypt their data objects to limit unauthorized access and edit of their files; this inherently protects the native tool data from outside edit.


The EDX package definition, the use of the manifest, and the security requirements are all defined further in the EDX format specification.


Mentor Graphics recommends EDX as the most efficient approach for sharing PCB library and design data within the corporate enterprise, ensuring data security and a release-independent format. We are currently incorporating EDX into our Expedition Enterprise flow with key use cases geared to sharing library, design, and BOM data with external systems.