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32 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2022 Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team In this part of the conversation with Axiom's Rob Rowland and Kevin Bennett, the pair dis- cuss the impact of data file formats on pricing, manufacturing, and quality. Barry Matties: Does it matter what the data for- mat is or the data coming in? Rob Rowland: Yes, absolutely. ere are three formats we usually get from our customers: Gerber, ODB++, and IPC-2581. Kevin Bennett: e ideal formats would be IPC- 2581 or ODB++ because everything needed for programming is within one file. It only takes a couple of clicks to import those file types. e next step is to merge the bill of materials, and from that point you're pretty much ready to export that data to the machine you're going to program it on. But when it comes to Gerber data, which is unintelligent data, much more manual manipulation is required to get it to the same point as importing a comprehensive CAD file, like an ODB++. Gerber makes for a labor-intensive manual process. Basically, you draw a box over any given component foot- print and then you must type the reference designator for each location. e extra steps make a huge difference in the time required to complete the offline programming. Nolan Johnson: How much influence do you have over the file format your customers pro- vide you? Rowland: In general, we don't have a lot of influ- ence. Many years ago, we put together a docu- ment that articulates the differences between the three file formats and highlights the fact that we really need to get ODB++ or IPC-2581 file formats for programming. Over the years, we've tried to educate our customers on the The Data Format Effect on Business Costs

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