In the evolution of todays enterprise tools, multiple recurring events were happening that were proving difficult to address within the bounds of each specific toolset, such as:
- Proprietary data structures and their associated objects could not be safely modified outside of their authoring environment; data integrity was often at risk. The design and library objects could only be stored as a complete container outside the authoring environment to avoid manipulation which might introduce integrity areas. This alone has proven to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to entegrating with ECAD tools.
- Customers needed to export design data to dedicated analysis or post processing tools that are were not included in the core design flow. Gathering all of the ‘right’ pieces from each system proved to be tricky as the design tools evolved.
- Concurrent design practices are on the rise, and the ECAD data structures have had to change to incorporate the necessary functionality. Systems dependent on capturing and storing the design data have had to accommodate the updated design structures.
- Sharing data sets with contract manufacturers or service bureaus was challenging; ensuring all of the necessary data was shared, and was intact was a consistent issue.
In general, today’s business drivers require a tighter cooperation between engineering and non-ECAD enterprise tools in order to accelerate bidding, quoting, design and New Part Introduction processes.
Customers also need the flexibility to upgrade the engineering flow independently from existing interfaces to tools and the infrastructure surrounding the design process. The overhead in managing the interfaces because the data structure itself has changed is an on-going challenge.
After extensive study, it has been determined that the exchange of data between the native design environment and the enterprise environment or other 3rd party tools must be based on industry standard formats. Any dependency on tool-specific proprietary formats is difficult to support in an evolving product design and lifecycle process and creates unnecessary tool version dependencies. Hence the introduction of the Enterprise Data eXchange format, or EDX.