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Every package design has data sources. Die data you receive from the IC design team as they send you updated die text files and co-design die abstracts. Your downstream PCB design team may send an updated ball map spreadsheet with change requests. Obviously, your front-end schematic engineer will be pushing you updated netlist information.
How do you keep track of when the last time was that you imported data from a given source? Your schematic engineer sent you an update yesterday… but did you incorporate it? Are you sure? Wouldn’t you like to have a record of when you last brought in that data?
What if I told you that you COULD have such a record. You just need to configure what sources of data you want to track.
Import File Manager is available from the Tools menu in your physical layout product. Whether you’re running APD L or SiP Layout XL, no options are needed. You’ll find the command in the same (approximate – some tools will have other stuff in the Tools menu!) location. In SiP Layout XL, it’s highlighted in the image below:
Running that command for the very first time will show you an interface like the one here:
This is the default import file types that are tracked. They assume a netin-driven logic sourced from the schematic tool (most common), with IPC 2581 for your ECAD/MCAD changes. IDX, IDF, and DXF may contain other geometry data from different sources.
Here you can enable or disable any of the entries that are relevant for your design flow’s data sources. BUT, you can customize, and, or remove items from this list as well. You are by no means limited to these formats! Maybe your netlist is simpler, coming in through the net list in command as a tab-separated text file. You could receive ball maps, as we talked about earlier, or die text files for your stacked memory dies.
Modify the existing entries for the commands you use. Add new items to the table by right-clicking the file type column or delete those not required in the same fashion. The updated image below would be the setup for the flow data sources we described in the previous paragraph:
Each entry in the table has but a few settings. Some are entirely up to your discretion, like the File Type name for the row and whether it is enabled by default. Others, like the file extension, the import command that is run to perform the import, and its associated log file, are driven by the tool (hint: the import command must be entered correctly, lest you get an error that the command isn’t found in the tool!).
The last import time and status entries are managed by the command itself based on your actions and data to keep track of important milestones in the flow of the design’s development. If they are empty, then the import has not yet been done in this design, for instance.
The shared directory is where the data files reside, by default. This lets the tool automatically start you in this location when running the import. It is the agreed-upon repository location for the data, allowing you and your colleagues to centralize the data here for communication back and forth. It also lets the tool determine if new files are available that you haven’t yet pulled into the design.
When adding a new entry, take the time to give it a descriptive name that is unambiguous and precise. Set up the search path once so you don’t need to remember it in the future. And, be sure that the log file name is right, as this is used to provide helpful information for you here in the command.
Now that you’ve configured all the file type entries for your flow, you might want to consider tying up this into your flow. If you use the design workflow manager already, you can add an entry to that flow. More than likely, the die text wizard and other commands already have spots in the flow:
Consider adding an entry to Utilities, or even to a new category called Up to Date Validation (my name, does not need to be yours!). This makes sure that you don’t forget to check in and see that you haven’t missed incorporating an update before you start your manufacturing prep or analysis work.
No matter how you ensure that you don’t forget a critical step in your flow, incorporating the import file manager is a wise idea!
Import File Manager saves your configuration to a text file (an Excel view of the default file is captured below, for reference). As a result, it’s possible for you to use this configuration across a set of designs.
The file is called importFileManagerConfiguration.txt, and it is looked up from your MISCPATH path variable. So, should you be using the typical MISCPATH settings when you customize this file for your design - it saves the configuration file in your current working directory. To reuse this file across all your designs for your group, copy this to your site folder and make sure that MISCPATH lists that directory after your CWD.
If your company works on many different types of designs, perhaps spanning SIP, MCM, and BRD designs, you can see about tailoring which configuration file is used by a design type by tweaking the MISCPATH setting when a design is opened based on the drawing type. This can be done through an axlTrigger SKILL function registered against the open event, which we’ve talked about in other flows in the blogs and support documentation.
But, this isn’t completely necessary. You can make a site-level file that includes ALL the file types/command entries in it. Then, when working on your specific design, enable only those entries that are relevant for that design (or delete the others). The new configuration file will be saved to your working directory for use with that design. The choice is up to you!