Altium Designer Documentation

Manufacturing Package Viewer

Modified by Jason Howie on Jul 11, 2020

Parent page: Global Sharing

The Manufacturing Package Viewer - an element of the Altium 365 platform's Global Sharing support - allows invited stakeholders to view a manufacturing package from any web browser - anywhere in the world - but outside of your Workspace, so that your designs themselves, and other valuable IP, are kept off limits.

The Viewer opens in its own browser tab and provides a summary overview of the design, with key board data, along with the ability to browse the structure of the shared data (and to download any individual file thereof as needed). Fabrication, Assembly and BOM data sub-pages of the viewer are also provided, with the Fabrication page presenting a Gerber Viewer and allowing for comments to be added by all users to which the package has been shared.

The Altium 365 Platform's Manufacturing Package Viewer provides an interactive means with which your manufacturer can browse and comment on a specific manufacturing package that has been shared with them. Shown here is the Viewer's Overview page - hover over the image to see the Fabrication page, with its Gerber Viewer.

Ultimately, the manufacturing personnel can download a Build Package of the release they have viewed - and from any page of the Viewer - with which to get that revision of the board physically realized.

Creating a Manufacturing Package - a Quick Recap

Related pages: Managed Projects, Managing a Specific Project

As its name suggests, the Manufacturing Package Viewer is used to open and view a Manufacturing Package. The latter is essentially a Build Package, created from a specified release of a managed project. You can nominate which release of a project to send, configure its data content and then send that package - then referred to as a Manufacturing Package - to the required manufacturer. In essence, the package is shared with that manufacturer, who then receives an email invite to view the package directly through the Altium 365 Platform Interface (https://365.altium.com), courtesy of the Manufacturing Package Viewer.

A manufacturing package is created from within the Manufacture view of the Projects Management page (command central for managing a specific project) - accessed by selecting the required project on the Projects page of your Workspace's browser interface, clicking the  control above the listing of projects, and choosing the Open entry on the associated menu. Alternatively, double-click directly on the required project entry in the list. The page will open in a new browser tab.

You can send a specific release of the project to your manufacturer - as a Manufacturing Package - in the following ways:

  • Select its entry in the list of releases, click the  control at the far right, then choose the Send to Manufacturer entry from the associated menu.
  • Select its entry in the list of releases, then click the  button at the top-right of the view (the button become enabled when a release is selected).

The Sending to Manufacturer window will be presented, in which to configure the content of the package, and to whom it will be sent.

You can send (share) a specific release of a project directly with your manufacturer - a Manufacturing Package.

With the package defined, click the  button. The package will be shared with you (as the author of the package) and the specified manufacturer(s) and an entry for it will appear in the Sent region of the Manufacture view. The package will be named in the format Name.Revision.

After sending a manufacturing package an entry will appear for it back on the Manufacture view, in the Sent region.

Viewer Access

Access to view a manufacturing package in the Manufacturing Package Viewer can be made in the following ways:

  • The manufacturer to whom you sent the package will receive an email invite to access that package through Altium 365. Once they click the  button in the email they will be taken to the Altium 365 Sign In page (unless already signed in to the platform, or their AltiumLive account). Upon signing in, they will be taken to the Manufacturing Package Viewer, with the shared package loaded.
If the manufacturer does not have an AltiumLive account, they will need to register for one first - a link is provided on the Altium 365 Sign In page.

Accessing the shared manufacturing package from the email invite that is received by the manufacturer.

  • Any manufacturing package that has been sent to you will be available from the Shared With Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface. A manufacturing package is denoted by the  icon within its tile. To open the package in the Manufacturing Package Viewer, select the package of interest, click the  button within its tile, then choose the Open command from the associated menu. Alternatively, double-click directly on the tile (or click on the name of the package).

Accessing the manufacturing package from the Shared With Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface.

  • Any manufacturing packages that you have created and sent for a specific project will be listed in the Sent region of the Manufacture view, when accessing the Projects Management page for that project. To open the package in the Manufacturing Package Viewer, select the package of interest, click the  button within its tile, then choose the Open command from the associated menu.

Accessing the manufacturing package from the Manufacture view, when managing a specific project through the Projects Management page.

Viewer Features

The Manufacturing Package Viewer interface offers a range of integrated capabilities that allow detailed access to the release data contained within the shared manufacturing package. The following sections take a look at the various constituent elements of the interface.

The top-left corner of the interface reflects the name of the manufacturing package being viewed. Clicking on the Shared with Me entry above this will take you back to the Shared With Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface.

Overview

This page of the Viewer presents a summary overview of the design, in terms of key board data. 2D and 3D previews of the board are also provided.

The Overview page, providing a high-level summary of the design.

Fabrication

This page of the Viewer provides an embedded Gerber Viewer. Standard review features include Layer Visibility selection and Comment markup.

The Fabrication page with its embedded Gerber Viewer. Shown here is all Gerber layers enabled - hover over the image to see just the top Gerber layer (.gtl).

When working on this page:

  • Click the  button to access a menu of view-related commands. Alternatively, use the mouse to zoom in (mouse wheel forwards), zoom out (mouse wheel backwards) and pan (right-click and drag).
  • Use the  and  buttons at the top of the far-right pane to switch between display of properties and comments respectively.
  • Click a layer entry at the bottom of the view (on its color swatch) to toggle display of that layer On or Off. Click on a layer entry away from its swatch to make it the active layer - bringing it to the foreground. Click the  button to access a menu of layer related controls - for showing and hiding layers, and for setting the layer name length.
  • Use the  buttons to add comments to an area, or free-hand respectively (see next section for more information).

Comments

The Fabrication page of the Viewer supports commenting. A comment is a user-added note that is assigned to a specific area of the view, and may be replied to by other users. Comments promote collaboration between the key stakeholders with whom the manufacturing package has been shared. Comments are accessed through the Comments pane, at the right-hand side of the Viewer.

Make the Comments pane active by clicking the  button at the top of the pane.

A comment markup, which defines where or what the comment note applies to, is added by selecting one of the available types from their respective controls located at the top of the main viewing area:

  • Comment on area - click the  control and then hold the left mouse button and drag to define an area that the comment will apply to.
  • Freehand comment - click the  control and then use the mouse to draw line shapes on the document. Hold the left mouse button and drag to create a freehand line, and then repeat as needed.

When a markup has been placed, a comment icon () will appear next to it in the view, along with a bounding rectangle, and a blank text window will open on the Comments pane, ready for your comment note. Type your comment, then click the  button beneath. The comment will be committed, appearing in the pane.

Hover over a comment icon () to access a pop-up with information showing the original comment that started the thread. Click the icon to toggle selection of that comment in the pane, and display of the bounding rectangle in the view.
Comments made within the Viewer are not shared with Altium Designer. They are only seen by stakeholders with whom the manufacturing package has been shared, and whom are using the Viewer to inspect that package. In addition, comments made by different parties to the manufacturing package are not updated in real-time. You will need to click on another page of the Manufacturing Package Viewer, then back to the Fabrication page, to manually update comment threads with any changes.

Example comments within the Gerber Viewer. Shown here is a comment associated with a particular area - hover over the image to see an example of a free-hand comment.

The following points relate to working with comments and the interface's Comments pane:

  • The Comments pane will track the entire thread of a specific comment, whereas only the first comment in that thread is displayed in the view - hover the cursor over the comment icon () to see this.
  • The number of posts in a particular comment thread are reflected on the Comments pane, next to the  icon.
  • Within a comment thread on the Comments pane, the latest reply is always added to the bottom of that thread. Where multiple comment threads are present in a document, the latest thread is presented at the top of the pane.
  • The active/selected comment on the Comments pane is highlighted. In the view, the markup that is the focus of the active/selected comment is zoomed and centered in the view (where applicable). For both area and freehand comment markup, a bounding box is placed around it.
  • To reply to a comment, select that comment on the Comments pane and click the  control at the bottom. Type your text in the field provided, then click the  button to commit. To exit without replying, click the  button.
  • A comment can be edited or deleted, through the Comments pane only, using the Edit and Remove commands respectively - with the comment selected, these are available from the menu associated to the  control. Note that these commands will only be available for a comment that you yourself have made - you cannot edit or remove a comment made by another user. If you edit an existing comment, make your changes then click the  button to commit. To exit without effecting the changes, click the  button.
  • To resolve a comment select it, click the  control, and choose the Resolve command from the menu. The comment will be removed from the Comments pane and the main view.
  • Resolved comments can still be displayed on the Comments pane. To do so, click the  control at the top-right of the pane, and enable the Show resolved comments option. All comments that have previously been resolved will be displayed on the pane.
  • You also have the ability to resurrect comments that have been resolved. To do so, click the  control at the top-right of the pane, and ensure the Show resolved comments option is enabled. Select the comment you want to resurrect, click the  control, and choose the Unresolve command from the menu. The comment will be reinstated, both on the Comments pane and in the main view.

Assembly

While labeled 'Assembly' this page actually provides both fabrication and assembly views of the board:

  • Click the  control to present the PCB fabrication view, which shows a 2D rendering of the board layout. Standard review features include Layer Visibility selection, Comment markup, and object property data.
  • Click the  control to present the PCB assembly view (the default view when the page is accessed), which shows a 3D rendering of the board layout. The view may be zoomed, panned and angled to provide a realistic graphical view into the PCB and its constituent objects.

The Assembly page of the Viewer. Shown here is the default, 3D assembly view of the board - hover over the image to see the 2D fabrication view of the board.

When working in the 3D (assembly) view click the button to access a menu of view-related commands. Alternatively, use the mouse to zoom in (mouse wheel forwards), zoom out (mouse wheel backwards), pan (right-click and drag), and rotate (click and drag).

When working in the 2D (fabrication) view:

  • Click the  button to access a menu of view-related commands. Alternatively, use the mouse to zoom in (mouse wheel forwards), zoom out (mouse wheel backwards) and pan (right-click and drag).
  • Use the  and  buttons at the top of the far-right pane to switch between display of properties and comments respectively.
  • Click a layer entry at the bottom of the view (on its color swatch) to toggle display of that layer On or Off. Click on a layer entry away from its swatch to make it the active layer - bringing it to the foreground. Click the  button to access a menu of layer related controls - for showing and hiding layers, and for setting the layer name length.
  • Use the  cluster of buttons to add comments - to an object, to an area, or free-hand, as required.
Comments are based on standard Web Review functionality. As such, working with them is the same as that within the Gerber Viewer. Refer back to the section on Comments for more detail.

Bill of Materials

This page of the Viewer presents a simple BOM listing for parts used in this specific release of the design. The main grid lists all unique BOM parts () in terms of the following information:

  • Item ID
  • Designator
  • Quantity
  • Name
  • Description

The Bill of Materials page of the Viewer presents a listing of unique parts used in this release of the design.

Use the Search field at the top-left of the grid to quickly find an entry of interest. You can search by any of the data columns for the BOM parts. Search is dynamic, with the grid filtered as you type.

Structure

The Structure area of the Viewer presents a structured listing of all files available in the data sets included with the manufacturing package being viewed. This will typically include generated data for fabrication and assembly data sets. Each file can be independently downloaded. To do so, click on a file entry within the structure, then within the main viewing area click the  button.

Browse the structure of the files included in the release, and download individual files as required.

Sharing a Manufacturing Package with Others

In any of the pages within the Manufacturing Package Viewer, click the  button to access a window with which to share the package with others, by email invite.

The manufacturing package currently being viewed can be shared with others as required.

A manufacturing package can also be shared from within the Shared With Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface. Selecting a manufacturing package tile will present various controls and commands. Click the  control and choose the Share command, or click the  button (at the top-right of the page), to access the Sharing window.

Downloading the Build Package

In any of the pages within the Manufacturing Package Viewer, click the  button to download the manufacturing package currently being viewed, which can then be passed to manufacturing to fabricate and assemble the board. The package is a Zip archive containing all generated data for that release of the design.

A build package can also be downloaded from within the Shared with Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface. Selecting a manufacturing package tile will present various controls and commands. Click the  control and choose the Download command, or click the  button (at the top-right of the page), to download the package as a Zip archive.

Deleting a Shared Manufacturing Package

You can delete any manufacturing package that has been shared with you, and is currently presented on the Shared with Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface. To do so, select the manufacturing package tile, click the  control, and then choose the Delete command. A warning window will appear alerting you to the fact that you will lose access to the package, but other collaborators will continue to have access to it. Click the  button to effect the deletion.

Any manufacturing package that has been shared with you can be deleted. This affects your access to it only - other collaborators retain their access to it.

 

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