Design007 Magazine

PCBD-July2015

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58 The PCB Design Magazine • July 2015 by karel Tavernier uCaMCo It is clearly possible to fabricate PCBs from the fabrication data sets currently being used—it's being done innumerable times every day all over the globe. But is it being done in an efficient, re- liable, automated and standardized manner? At this moment in time, the honest answer is no, because there is plenty of room for improvement in the way in which PCB fabrication data is cur- rently transferred from design to fabrication. This is not about the format, which for over 90% of the world's PCB production is Gerber: There are very rarely problems with Gerber files themselves. They allow images to be transferred without a hitch. In fact, the Gerber format is part of the solution, given that it is the most re- liable option in this field. The problems actual- ly lie in which images are transferred, how the format is used and—more often—in how it is not used. In this monthly column, Karel Tavernier explains in detail how to use the newly revised Gerber data format to communicate with your fabrication partners clearly and simply, using an unequivocal yet versatile language that enables you and them to get the very best out of your design data. Each month we will look at a dif- ferent aspect of the design-to-fabrication data transfer process. This column has been excerpted from the guide, PCB Fabrication Data: Design-to-Fabrication Data Transfer. Chapter 1: How PCB Design Data is used by the Fabricator In this first article of the series, we'll be lo- oking at what happens to the designer's data once it reaches the fabricator. This is not just a nice add-on, because for designers to construct truly valid PCB data sets, they must have a clear understanding of how their data is used. This, more than anything else, clarifies how it should be prepared. We will not look at how to design PCBs for easy fabrication, which is completely outside the remit of the developer of the Gerber format and a matter for the PCB fabricators themselves. the Gerber Guide article

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