As we begin the next decade, which is sure to bring accelerated changes in our lives, I thought it would be interesting to review the past decade and a small company called Valor Computerized Systems, based in Rehovot, Israel.
At the start of 2010, Valor was an independent company, with very strong presence in Design For Manufacturing (DFM) with a product called vSure for electronic circuit boards, along with a PCB design format for fabrication and assembly of electronic boards called ODB++. In addition to that was a process engineering solution called vPlan and a suite of shop floor manufacturing solutions for traceability, material management and quality. Only a few months in to the new decade, in March 2010, Mentor Graphics acquired Valor Computerized Systems and they became part of the Systems Design Division of Mentor’s PCB division.
Growing with Mentor Graphics
Over the next seven years these solutions grew significantly with Mentor Graphics. The DFM solution had started as a post process solution on exported Gerber files was quickly integrated to Mentor Expedition, as it was back then, to show why DFM analysis had to be run concurrently with design to achieve optimum results. Now rebranded as Valor NPI, the DFM product is seen as the must-have solution for ensuring manufacturing success for both fabrication and assembly processes. Design for Test capability was further added in the form of Valor DFT to cover the needs to testability review and test point requirements as part of the design flow.
ODB++ has grown over this period too, it is now available for all the main PCB layout tools. There are now nearly 80 companies supporting ODB++ as the de facto standard to deliver intelligent design data to electronics manufacturing, namely fabrication, assembly and test. If you want to take advantage of ODB++, visit the ODB++ Solutions Alliance at www.odb-sa.com.
Back in 2010, the process engineering solution, vPlan, supported just data preparation, SMT machine programming and assembly documentation. Over the next decade it added stencil design, inspection programming and test programming to become the choice for both OEM and EMS manufacturers around the world. As the PCB manufacturing requirements changed from best in class, mixed vendor lines to single vendor lines but mixed vendor factories, the unparalleled capability of Process Preparation to handle PCB data with part and package information regardless of machine vendor has been a critical piece for PCB manufacturers to transition their assembly lines in that same time period. This was further evident with the introduction of the Open Product Model (OPM) as a machine neutral XML format for programming assembly and inspection machines.
The third group of solutions in Valor was the shop floor suite. Here the ability to connect dozens of different machines within most factories required detailed knowledge of the subtle differences in machine capabilities and protocols. Valor shop floor has an unparalleled capability to bring Industry 4.0 to life through the Valor IoT solutions along with the best in class material management. Like ODB++ and OPM, Valor shop floor brought the Open Manufacturing Language, OML, as the way to connect and control the many unique machines typically found on any PCB assembly floor and enable our customers to realize Industry 4.0.
Integrating into Siemens
A new chapter was started in 2017, when Mentor Graphics was acquired by Siemens, becoming Mentor, A Siemens Business. The acquisition described how the Mentor IC and PCB solutions for electronics design complemented and completed the mechanical design and PLM capability of Siemens, however, where there was significant overlap with existing Siemens solutions was in electronics manufacturing, namely the Valor solutions. Since the acquisition, Valor has continued to thrive under Siemens as we create more and more integration into the Siemens solutions such as Teamcenter and OpCenter. This has shown how all the Valor solutions described here would become critical pieces that will deliver on the overall Siemens digitalization vision.
Roll on the 2020’s and all the very best to our Valor customers who we have had the pleasure to help over the past 10 years as we look forward to helping them with new opportunities under Siemens Digital Industries.
Best wishes for the New Year.