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50 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 Quick turns are standard operating proce- dure in the PCB industry, but "measuring twice and cutting once" ahead of the quote process can get your boards into production faster and eliminate costly rework down the line. Gerber files remain a proven method for establishing an uncluttered view of the board design, one that illustrates each layer lined up together, and potentially reveals issues that can slow the quote process or even send designs back for rework. What Is a Gerber File Anyway? I am sure that everyone involved in PCB designing, manufacturing, and procurement has heard the term Gerber files at least 100 Finding Value in Gerber Files times. But what is a Gerber file and where did it come from? e origin of the Gerber file can be traced to Gerber Systems Corp., and founder Joseph Gerber. e company first released Gerber For- mat: A subset of EIA RS-274-D; Plot Data For- mat Reference Book in 1981 to promote their vector photoplotters. Later in the 1980s, other plotter companies and CAM systems began to adopt what became the "Standard Gerber" format in the PCB manufacturing industry. Shortly thereaer, Gerber became the de facto data format. As plotting technology continued to develop to more capable raster photoplotters, the "Standard Gerber" format was extended in 1991 to include polygons and other parameters. With this improve- ment, users were also able to cre- ate shapes of various sizes and shape and polygon area fills with- out having to draw them in; they could simply be defined with aper- tures. In April 1998, Gerber Systems Corp. was acquired by Barco. In September 1998, Barco released the RS-274X format, also known as Extended Gerber Format , to consolidate and unify all the sub-versions that were present in the industry for specific plotter models. is new version quickly took over as the new de facto data format. Connect the Dots Feature Column by Matt Stevenson, SUNSTONE CIRCUITS

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