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46 PCB007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2021 Feature Article by the I-Connect007 Research Team Over the past year, there have been some developments in design data transfer formats with updates to Gerber and IPC-2581. We started getting curious about the data format landscape: With ODB++ and IPC-2581 hot on its heels, is Gerber still used for most PCB de- signs? To learn more, we asked our readers. De- sign007 Magazine conducted a research sur- vey about design data transfer formats. e re- sponses from that survey also shed some inter- esting light on potential areas to streamline in the file import and CAM engineering portions of board fabrication. We bring you some high- lights from that survey here. The Responses ere is more information in the survey than we are publishing here; we'll be bringing read- ers more detailed information in a future issue of Design007 Magazine. For now, we'll focus on the survey questions that highlight process streamlining opportunities. In one question, we asked designers, "If you were to switch design data formats, or have re- cently switched, what would be the most im- portant reason to do so?" e answer was quite clear (Figure 1). A simpler process than currently in use is very compelling to respondents. Interestingly, all "other" responses boil down to the same an- swer: "Fabricator required a new data format." From a fabricator's perspective, this is in- sightful, in that the fabricator is likely to get Streamlining the DFM Process: Design Data Transfer Formats Figure 1.

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