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60 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 Feature Interview by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 For this issue on design data formats, I wanted some feedback from a PCB design bureau, so I spoke with Jen Kolar, VP of engi- neering at Monsoon Solutions in Bellevue, Washington. I asked Jen who decides on the design data format at Monsoon, and why. Andy Shaughnessy: Jen, who makes the deci- sion at Monsoon about which design data for- mat to use for a particular job? Jen Kolar: It varies. We were just talking about this as a design team. At Monsoon, our stan- dard (which is documented for our designers to follow), unless stated otherwise by the cus- tomer, is to output both Gerbers and ODB++ (as a TGZ file). We are considering dropping Gerbers from our standard format because when both are sent to the fab vendor, it always results in a question about which one to use. It is also more prone to having a file accidentally le out. at said, when doing a really hot job, we might release copper first followed by silk later, and in that case, I expect most assem- blers would prefer Gerbers and getting only the changed file vs. having to "trust" nothing else changed in the ODB++ package. Interestingly, I find many fab vendors default to Gerbers vs. ODB++ if they have both. I've also seen issues with ODB 8 vs. ODB 7 with many vendors, and that might be another rea- son they may prefer Gerbers. We have some customers who mandate what they want. Some customers want only ODB++ and will refuse to work with any fab or assembly ven- dor who won't support it. is is not so much of an issue now, but it was several years ago, particularly with some assemblers. We have others who insist on Gerbers only, who also like to review them as PDFs. Many customers don't really care, as long as they have something the fab vendor and assembler can use. We've never had anyone request IPC-2581 and we have never output it. Is that answer long-winded enough for you? (She asks with a laugh.) Who Selects the Design Data Format, and Why?

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